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What is the Dell Chassis Management Controller (CMC)?

The Dell Chassis Management Controller (CMC) is a systems management component designed to manage one or more Dell PowerEdge systems containing blade servers. Unlike a tower or rack server, a blade server cannot run by itself; it requires a compatible blade enclosure. What makes it compelling to many customers is that blade servers are typically optimized to minimize the use of physical space and energy while still providing ample computing power.

The blade enclosure, which can hold multiple blade servers, provides power, cooling, networking, various interconnects and additional systems management capabilities. For more information about the enclosures offered by Dell, please visit these links.

It is worth pointing out that the term “blade” or “blades” is largely interchangeable with the term “server node” when referring to the Dell PowerEdge VRTX platform, though the blades themselves are not interchangeable between different types of enclosures. Thus a server node from Dell PowerEdge VRTX is not physically compatible with the M1000e due to slightly different physical connections. Regardless of enclosure, Dell’s CMC, a hot-pluggable module within a Dell blade platform like the M1000e or the previously mentioned VRTX, provides a secure browser-based interface that enables an IT administrator to take inventory, perform configuration and monitoring tasks, remotely power on/off blade servers and enable alerts for events on servers and components in the blade chassis. This ability is embedded into the module and requires no additional software installations.

One of CMC’s more interesting features is multi-chassis management. This capability (which was introduced in CMC version 3.1) can monitor up to 9 fully loaded chassis with no additional cabling via a single web interface.

The CMC interface integrates with each blade or server node’s iDRAC module, so administrators can perform server-specific iDRAC functions such as performing updates, changing settings, or opening a remote console session from the CMC interface. Click here for more information on iDRAC-related management.

Additionally, CMC allows you to back up and replicate settings on the chassis, and save or apply BIOS profiles for individual blade servers so that adding new blades or chassis to your environment is easier and more automated. With newer versions of CMC (4.4), it is even possible to assign settings to an empty slot, so that the settings will be applied when a blade is inserted at some point in the future!

You can also capture a complete Chassis Inventory across all of your chassis that will return detailed information on all of the blades, IO modules, iDRAC cards, etc in your environment.

CMC is an innovative systems management tool built on proven and familiar Dell OpenManage design, and is available with these platforms:

Platform CMC Specific Information

CMC specifics for equipped platforms 
CMC for Dell PowerEdge FX
CMC for Dell PowerEdge VRTX (introduced June 2013)
CMC for Dell PowerEdge M1000e

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