After a couple of weeks of well-spent time sailing and tinkering about the house (otherwise known as a holiday), I’m preparing for VMworld and finishing up some posts. I promised you the final part in the three-part series on the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter.
In this post I’ll show you how to get a new server into DMPVV’s line of sight and use the Deployment Wizard to configure the host.

Deployment Wizard

The Deployment Wizard gathers the necessary information (server list, Deployment Template, host name/networking information, and Connection Profiles) to build a scheduled job that provisions server hardware and deploys new hosts into a vCenter. Unfortunately, deployment of ESXi to an SD-card or USB-media is not yet supported. I do believe Dell is considering this feature for an upcoming release. Before initiating a deployment task, ensure the system has completed CSIOR and is not in the process of rebooting.

The wizard itself isn’t difficult to work with; getting a new host to play nice with the DMPVV, however, is a bit trickier:

Wonder how you make new physical servers available to the appliance?

There are a couple of requirements that you need to fulfill before a host will show up in the DMPVV interface.

Auto Discovery

The auto-discovery feature of a host system is not enabled by default; you can select it to be enabled at the time of purchase. Enabling it manually is done with these steps:

  • During the POST boot, press CTRL-E to enter the iDRAC setup.
  • Set the Auto Discovery flag to ‘enabled’ (it’s under ‘User Configuration’).
  • Disable the ‘root’ and other iDRAC administrator accounts (if the deployment credentials in the appliance match those of an existing user, then the password of the existing user will be changed to match the appliance credentials).
  • Enter the DMPVV’s IP-address in the ‘Provisioning Server’ field.

For more information on how to set up a network to support auto-discovery, see the Dell Auto-Discovery Network Setup Specification.

Collect System Inventory on Restart (CSIOR)

To enable CSIOR locally on a reference server:

  • Power on the system, and during POST press <F10> to launch USC.
  • Select Hardware Configuration – Part Replacement Configuration.
  • Enable the Collect System Inventory on Restart setting, and exit USC.
  • Cold reboot the system.

Concluding this post

The third and final post is a bit shorter than you might expect. Unfortunately, I don’t have any servers available that have local storage; my demo-rig only has SD-card for storage. If you remember correctly, the DMPVV doesn’t support deployment of these hosts yet.

In the process of testing the deployment, I purchased a couple of new servers (also with SD-cards) and needed them ‘imported’ into the appliance. This proved to be a harder task than I imagined, simply because the steps are, although documented, a bit more hidden, at least from the appliance’s point of view. This seems to me, is a area of focus for Dell where integration between the Lifecycle Controller, iDRAC and the DMPVV can be improved.

Another thing I noticed was the time needed to configure a host. In my case, a host would need about 45 minutes for a couple of simple tasks: updating firmware/BIOS versions and configuring the BIOS, iDRAC and Lifecycle Controller. This seems too long a timeframe, and I would recommend Dell to spend a bit more time to reduce the time needed to complete such tasks.