Connecting to a Dell Remote Access Controller (DRAC) with Dell IT Assistant

After installing Dell IT Assistant (ITA), which I discussed in a recent post, I decided to see what kind of functionality ITA has when connected to a DRAC5 installed on a Dell PowerEdge 2950.

DRAC First-Time Configuration

If you already have your DRAC card up and running, skip this step. If you have not yet configured your DRAC card with an IP address, see the instructions at the following link: Dell DRAC First-Time Configuration Instructions (for DRAC 5).

Connecting to the DRAC

To connect to ITA we need to configure a few settings in the DRAC. IPMI is the protocol that ITA uses to communicate with the RAC and must be enabled, and an encryption key installed.

  1. First, connect to the DRAC via a web browser using its host name or IP address.

    The login page should look similar to this

  2. Log in with the DRAC’s username and password.
  3. On the left pane, select “Remote Access”
  4. Navigate to the “Configuration” tab
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page, you should see “IPMI LAN Settings”

    The IPMI settings (my key has been whited out)

  6. Ensure that the “Enable IPMI…” check box is checked.
  7. If your DRAC does not already have an encryption key, create one. From the DRAC 5 documentation: “The encryption key must consist of an even number of hexadecimal characters with a maximum of 40 characters.”

Adding the Device in ITA

  1. Open ITA
  2. Click the “Discovery and Monitoring” tab
  3. Select “Ranges”
  4. On the left pane, right click “Include Ranges” and select “New Include Range”
  5. Enter the IP address or host name and subnet mask of the DRAC and click “Add”
  6. Click next until you get to the “IPMI Configuration”
  7. Click ‘Enable IPMI’ then enter the username/password of the DRAC and the encryption key and click ‘Next’.
  8. Choose the “Perform Discovery and Inventory” radio button, then finish.

Features

The discovery may take a few moments, but the RAC card should appear in the devices list (View tab, then “Devices”). A green check mark will appear next to it if configured properly. If you click on it, you will see a summary for the device.

If you select “device details,” you get some more info on the device.

There are 4 tabs about the summary info, you can select “Alert Logs” to view the logs.

“Hardware logs” also includes some hardware log info, but when I clicked “Performance and Power” I got nothing.

There is also a software update utility included with ITA. However, it seems that it doesn’t work through a DRAC.

Wrap Up

ITA has some functionality with managing servers through the RAC card, yet it is limited. Much of the hardware info granted through the ITA interface can be found by accessing the DRAC via a web browser. However, if you are managing many systems with DRAC’s installed, ITA does a good job pulling logs together into one remote location for viewing.

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This entry was posted in Dell, Dell Remote Access Controller, DRAC, IT Assistant, OpenManage and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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