How to Install and Configure Dell’s OpenManage Integration for vCenter

Published on 02/22/2015 by Wouter Makkinje

Filed under DELL Servers

Last modified 05/21/2015

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This is a wonderful tool that I last used as a plug-in for the vSphere Client.  This is the first time using it in the vSphere Web Client and of course I am impressed.  I have talked to a number of people who have worked for Dell and while they know of it, they have not seen it.  So I figured it is a good idea to have an install / configure post on getting this great tool working.  The prices on it have dropped seriously as well – I paid around 450 US$ for a 3 year subscription for four hosts.  But I thought before the install / configure I would talk about why.

Why have the Dell OpenManage integration for vCenter?

It is not because it is a vSphere Web Client plug-in.  It is not because on each host I have information like the screenshot below shows.

Why1

It is not because of the screenshot below either.

Dell server info at the Cluster level

While all three things I mention / show are nice, the following screen is what I really like the best.

Firmware Update Wizard!

I started the Firmware Update process on a host – bosesx01 in this case.  It will allow me to update firmware – like server BIOS – without an outage.  Sort of like VUM but for Dell hardware.  I can do this at the cluster level, or at the host level.  I am doing it here at the host level since I am playing and learning.

But I have not mentioned something else that is important.  You can decide to enable a very interesting feature that is off by default.  You can enable a feature that will put a host into maintenance mode if it has a hardware issue.  Something to test and learn about before you enable it but it is very handy indeed!

So lets get this very nice software working!

Installing OpenManage for vCenter

Things to gather before you start

  • If you are using 12th Generation servers (like R720) you do not have to install the OpenManage VIB first as it will be install automatically.  If you are using 11th Gen servers like the R710, or older you can use OpenManage (OM) to install the VIB I am told.  Not sure how however.
  • Make sure your iDRAC are all configured and you have the credentials for them.
  • You need an IP address and DNS entry.  Do the DNS entry before installing as I think it saves on watching a few error messages.
  • Service account for vC connectivity.  It should be a member of Domain Users, and a vC admin level account.
  • It looks like for 5 hosts or less there is no license or license file.  This was confusing for me as I found a bunch of conflicting information on this subject and finally had to install to confirm!
  • The documentation is here.
  • You do need the bits – which you will normally download via a link in the email after your purchase – or maybe from here.  Note – when I bought the license info email was sent to someone else in the company that bought something from Dell a long time ago.  When you get the bits you will need to extract them to find the .ovf / .vmdk files.  See below what you are extracting down to.

files

  • Here is a link to a central point of info on OpenManage.

Deploy Appliance

You would deploy the appliance as per normal.  However be aware that you do not set password or network info during the deployment.  I was so surprised, I did it twice!  The documentation was not always exactly what I needed!  After you have deployed the VM you access the VM console and set the password and network info – see below for the main screen you see after logging in.

NetWorkConfig

Once you have finished with Time Zone, Admin Password and the network you should log out.  You will be told to access a particular URL but ignore that.  It doesn’t work.

Configure Appliance

You will see in places to access HTTPS://IP_address_OR_FQDN/DellAdminPortal/index.html but that did not work for me but HTTPS://IP_address or HTTPS://FQDN did work and so that was good!

Once logged in you will need to do a couple of things.  When you log in the first time you will see something like below.

configure1

  • The first thing we will do is to configure the OM to vC connection.  Use the Register New vCenter Server button to start this process.
  • You will see a dialog like below you will need to fill in.  My service account is svcom but use whatever yours is.

Configure2vCReg

Once this is done, and the Register process works, you should see something like below.

Configure3vCRegSuccess

Notice at the bottom of the screen where you can see my license info?  That is with no license applied.  After a day or two, and after my inventory is being scanned by OM, this screen looks a little different.

LicenseInUse

Now you can see that my four hosts are using up licenses.

We need to configure NTP now so select Appliance Management in the list in the top left corner of the screen.  After you do that, and scroll down the new screen you will see NTP Settings and will be able to configure it.

ConfigAppManNTP

BTW, at the top of the Appliance Management screen you can do pretty easy upgrades.  I have pointed at the Update version info, and the update button in the screenshot below.  I will do an article about upgrades the next time I do an upgrade.

updates

The next section is Alert Management and normally I do not make any changes there until after I have had things running for a while and actually know why I would make a change.

We do need to make changes in Backup and Restore. I do suggest you setup a CIFS share that the appliance can access and do a backup too.  I use the same service account I use to connect to vC to secure the folder that the appliance will backup to.  See what the configuration looks like when it is done.

ConfigAppBU5

You can see I setup the schedule backups too.  This is particularly important as you use OM more and have more and more configuration that you don’t want to lose.  Also note that I tested things?  Important to do that.  BTW, the location where you specify the backups to be written too will look like below once you have some backups.

OM backup location

The appliance is now configured and we are ready to move forward!

Configuration in vSphere Web Client

We have some interesting things to do in the Web Client now.  Lets get started!

  • Log out of your vSphere Web Client and log back in.
  • When you log back in you should see a new icon in the Home page.

vSphereWebClient1

See it in the bottom row on the right?  You need to click on it now and you will see a popup about the initial setup.

vwcinitial2

This starts a wizard to help you get things configured.

The first screen is just a welcome screen but I suggest you also check and enable the Do Not show the Configuration Wizardagain as that will be irritating and you can always start it again.

Starting to work through the Initial Config Wizard

After you press Next you will see the next screen.

icw2

You should see your vC already selected.  After Next you will see an informational screen which is followed by a Connection Profile screen.  When it is filled in it will look something like below.

icw3

There is some important things to understand on this form.  Note in the iDRAC Credential section I am not using AD but I have a blank user name and yet a password defined?  That password is for the root account in my iDRACs.

As well, the Host Root section is similar.  See below for that example.

icw4

For the root account on the hosts you need the password as well.  On the next screen you select your Dell hosts.  In my case my whole Gold cluster is Dell hosts.

icw5

The next screen just confirms information.  On the next screen however you need to enable and configure Inventory Data retrieval.  This is important.  Check out what mine looks like.

icw7

The next screen is about configuring Warranty Data retrieval. I do not think it needs to be done often at all.  See how I configured mine below.

icw8

The next screen is Events and Alarms and I do not make any changes there at this time.  I do later on after I am more familiar with how things work with this product.

icw9

When you are finished with this wizard you will see something like below.

icw10

The configuration is now finished!  We need to wait until the Inventory and Warranty details are retrieved but at least things are ready now.

Tour Time

So some time has passed, enough so my Inventory retrieval has run.  Lets go look.  You should see something at the Cluster level, and on Monitor / Dell Cluster Information.  Like below.

Tour1

Or if you change to the Firmware option you will see something like below.

Tour2

There you have it.  Things are good.  You now have OM installed and can see a lot more info on your Dell servers and you can now start doing other things like firmware updates without an outage – which I will show you how in a new article soon.