Making DELL management packs lighter for your management servers


Making DELL management packs lighter for your management servers

DELL has recently released a very comprehensive management pack suite for Operations Manager, you can download the suite here. The suite can monitor Dell servers, DRAC and chassis:

·         Server inband monitoring – for Windows servers with an Operations Manager agent installed

·         Server Out of Band monitoring – for servers with any operating system (or without OS if this matters) it uses a WS-Management interface provided with the latest iDRAC models

·         Remote DRAC monitoring – for DRAC monitoring

·         Remote CMC monitoring – for CMC monitoring

The suite also provides a way to enable or disable specific monitoring scopes directly from the monitoring space of the Operations Manager Console, this functionality is called “Feature Monitoring”, and the ability to correlate chassis slot with actual servers.

Alas all this goodness has a major drawback many of these modules have dependencies to the management servers and use direct access to the SDK. I don’t like to have third party software dependencies on the management servers or management packs that do direct sdk calls for their monitoring purposes (different situation if they extend the administrative space). Moreover the installation guide mandates all sort of Dell management software to be installed on the management servers, while many of those are just needed for console tasks and since you shouldn’t use for standard monitoring the console installed on the management servers you don’t need all this stuff installed.

Long story short, with this post I’ll show a way to install the Dell management packs suite minimizing the requirements on the management servers and avoiding direct sdk access.

To achieve this goal I had to cut some functionalities:

·         Feature monitoring

·         Chassis slot correlations –  this one has a dependency to the sdk, it basically runs a powershell script that takes all the Dell servers (both inband and out of band managed) with a service tag associated and tries to correlate them with the chassis slots.

After following this guide the only piece of Dell software you need to install on your management servers is the DRAC tools and only if you need to monitor CMC. More you can choose to install the DRAC tools only on the management servers used for CMC monitoring.

I didn’t test yet the OOB monitoring management pack.

The process

1.       On a lab management server install the Dell management pack suites following the installation guide, but not installing any other Dell management software.

2.       Plan for which management packs you need in production (i.e. Inband monitoring, CMC, DRAC, …)

3.       From the installation directory copy the management packs of interest to an installation folder for your production environment. In the management packs suite user guide there’s a nice table giving all the management packs required for each and every monitoring scope (see pag. 10). You can use this guide to select the management packs you need to copy.

4.       You can uninstall the Dell management pack suite from the test environment.

5.       If you’re going to monitor CMC install the DRAC tools on the management servers used for monitoring. The DRAC tools are just a bunch of command line utilities so there’s no long term impact on the management servers software stack. The management pack spawns a racadm.exe process to collect discovery data from the chassis.

6.       It’s a good idea to create one or more management pack for overrides at this point.

7.       If you plan to use more management servers for monitoring to have high availability it’s a good idea to define a specific resource pool.

8.       Import he management packs into the production management group

9.       If just inband monitoring is enabled nothing else is needed.

10.   If DRAC and/or CMC monitoring is enabled you need to configure SNMP on the DRAC: SNMP must be enabled with a proper community to enable device discovery, SNMP trap must be configured to send traps towards the monitoring management servers. For latest iDRAC this configuration is done through the management pack itself (not had a chance to try this function).

11.   For CMC monitoring an access account must be defined on the chassis, this account must be registered as a runas account and associated through the CMC monito0ring profile to the CMC devices. (more on this later)

12.   To start monitoring CMC and/or DRAC a network discovery must be done targeting the devices, until the devices are discovered as standard network nodes from Operations Manager they cannot be monitored by the Dell management packs.

13.   The final step is to properly associate the runas accounts (snmp communities and CMC account) to the proper devices through the correct runas profile. The installation guide suggest to associate the account to “all targeted objects”. In my experience this is not the way to go. You should:

a.       Define only secure runas account

b.      Distribute the accounts to the management servers or management servers pool used for monitoring only

c.       Associate the accounts to the specific classes (if the same account is used for all the devices of that class) or to the group of devices that share the same credential / community. More on runas account association here.

d.      You must remember to associate the SNMP communities to the devices, in fact while the DRAC/CMC are discovered as network nodes, the actual Dell classes are not derived from Operations Manager network node class so do not inherit the community association. Failing to do this or not configuring this properly can lead to the following error (thanks Björn):

Initialization of a module of type “SnmpAsyncProbe” (CLSID “{2B72C326-CDBB-421A-ACC3-A1994DBD52BB}”) failed with error code Unspecified error causing the rule “Dell.RAC.Availability.Periodic” running for instance “172.25.34.158” with id:”{AED70906-07B6-3F8E-155A-1DA45FBFB5E0}” in management group “XXXXXXXXXXXXX”

e.      I strongly suggest, again, to associate them to the proper classes as in the following example where the public runas account has been associated to the Dell CMC and Dell Remote Access Controller classes:

 clip_image002

 

                 

  • Daniele

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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  1. #1 by bradjeJohn Bradshaw on February 17, 2014 - 9:16 pm

    Thx Daniele. Shall give it a go
    JB

  2. #2 by John Bradshaw on February 10, 2014 - 10:07 pm

    Hi Daniele,
    To monitor the Dracs and CMC’s:
    Does an account need to be set up under Type: Community String or Type: Simple Authentication?
    Are the credentials the same that are used to actually log on to the Drac (or CMC), or should the default “public” be used (it is unchanged from default on our boxes)
    Thx very much,
    JB

    • #3 by Daniele Grandini on February 14, 2014 - 12:06 pm

      Hi John, if I can recall correctly you need to define the snmp community for discovery and basic monitoring purposes and then a simple account for CMC monitoring, it must be one of the accounts you use to access the CMC directly. Let me know if this makes sense to you.

      – Daniele

  3. #4 by calling script on February 16, 2013 - 11:39 am

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and
    look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also,
    I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

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