Friday, September 4, 2009

New Dell MP explained, the outside

This posting won’t take a deep dive into the inner workings of the newly released Dell MP, version 4,00 A00. Instead it will describe this MP at a high level like what it monitors, what the requirements are and so on. Let’s start.


  • The downloadable package consists out of six MPs and one manual (pdf) and four text files.

  • The manual describes 4 of these as MPs and refers to the other two as ‘utilities’, even though those are MPs as well

  • The 4 MPs are:
    - Dell.WindowsServer.Scalable
    - Dell.WindowsServer.Detailed
    - Dell.OutOfBand.CMC (Chassis Management Controller)
    - Dell.OutOfBand.DRAC (Dell Remote Access Device)

  • The 2 ‘Utilities’ are:
    - Dell.Connections.HardwareLibrary
    - Dell.WindowsServer.InformationAlertsOn

MPs and Utilities explained:
Good news! Dell has finally decided to split the MPs up, based on what needs to be monitored. And not just that, one MP is targeted at small environments (shows more details/components, thus having more classes to alert upon), where as another MP is targeted at large environments (shows less details, thus having less classed to alert upon which can be good in large scale deployments). Also – by default – many Informational Alerts are turned off by default.

  • Dell.Connections.HardwareLibrary
    Even though Dell refers to it as a ‘Utility’, this is the base MP. All other MPs (in)directly depend on it: 

  • Dell.WindowsServer.Scalable
    Monitors Dell hardware where the components are modeled at a high level (Example: Memory Component is discovered at Memory Group level but Memory Unit instances aren’t modeled in this MP). This MP is advised to be used in large OpsMgr environments where +300 Dell servers are being monitored.

  • Dell.WindowsServer.Detailed
    Is an extension of the Scalable MP. This MP models the details like the Memory Unit instances.

  • Dell.WindowsServer.InformationAlertsOn
    By default the Informations Alerts contained within the Scalable MP are turned off. This keeps the OpsMgr Console clean. With this ‘utility’ these Informational Alerts are overridden and turned on:

  • Dell.OutOfBand.CMC
    Monitors CMC.

  • Dell.OutOfBand.DRAC
    Monitors DRAC.

Requirements – Dell servers:

  • On the servers Dell OMSA (OpenManage Server Administrator) needs to be installed, version 5.3 to 6.1 is supported.
  • When monitoring DRAC: the DRAC Agent needs to be installed as well.

Requirements – OpsMgr Servers: (Only needed when running certain Dell Tasks from the OpsMgr Console)

  • BMC Management Utility version 2.0 or higher needs to be installed.

Support – Dell systems:

  • All Dell systems supported by OMSA (version 5.3 – 6.1) are supported by this MP as well.

Support – Windows Server OS:
Finally! Windows 2008 (up to SP2) is supported. Hopefully it will work with R2 as well. But that isn’t sure yet.

  • W2K03 SP2 up to W2K08 SP2

Needed authorizations:
Mostly the default authorizations will suffice. For these two options Power User or Administrator permissions are needed:

  • Dell Monolithic Server-In-Band DRAC Discovery & Console Launch
  • Clearing ESM Log (can also be done by supplying alternative credentials)

Since the MP hasn’t been tested it is to premature to talk about any conclusion. However, this newly released set of MPs looks like Dell has chosen a new approach to OpsMgr. Also because this MP doesn’t allow an upgrade of the previous versions makes it look like Dell has broken with its past. Which is good since the old MPs were buggy and noisy which could cause significant issues in an OpsMgr environment.

Another wise decision made by Dell is to break the MPs into different parts, where most parts are covering certain hardware/services, thus allowing organizations to select only those MPs which are applicable and needed for their environment.  Combined with the decision to set most Informational Alerts on disabled and to deliver a MP for large environment (Scalable MP) besides a MP for smaller environments (Detailed MP, extension to the Scalable MP) I can only say this set of MPs looks very promising.

None the less (as goes with any MP) test it before putting it to use in a production environment. And RTFM first (not just the pdf-file but also the text files which contain the most recent information) before loading any MP. On top of that: start small with only the ‘utility’ Dell.Connections.HardwareLibrary and the MP Dell.WindowsServer.Scalable. Go from there and see what it does and what adjustments are needed.

If any one out there has already gained any experience with this new MP being put to use into a test- or production environment, please let know. I am really curious about it. Thanks so much in advance. Of course I will only blog about it when agreed upon.


John Bradshaw said...

Hi Marnix,
Just wondering if u could blog about how to get the CMC, DRAC4, DRAC 5, Drac/MC, and iDrac State views to populate. ( I do not understand the DELL doco). What are the steps to check etc as you do so well in your other pages?
Many thanks if you have the time...

John Bradshaw

Marnix Wolf said...

Hi John.

Thanks for your comment. It is a good idea. But only when I have experience with it.

And to be frankly I stay away from those elements for some time. This is because the former Dell MPs did have serious issues with SNMP. Atr a customers site those components wrecked the OpsMgr environment. Every day the RMS greyed out..

With the help of Microsoft Support the culprit was found, the Dell MP with the SNMP monitors/rules which were way too noisy.

Therefore I advise my customers not to load these MPs and wait what the experiences from others are. When that is positive, these MPs will be imported. Then I will blog about it. Until now I do not have any experience with it so there is not much to blog about.

Best regards,

John Bradshaw said...

The Marnix...Sounds good.
Shall see what I can trawl up on the new MP and let u know...