Search This Blog


Dells and System Management Using ESX

Getting a Customized Dell Installation Disk

The advantages of getting a custom Dell disc is that you get all of the bellow packed by default:
  • IOVP certified drivers
  • Relevant third party drivers and CIM providers
To get a ESXi customized installer follow the following instructions:
  1. Go to
  2. Click "Drivers & Downloads"
  3. Ensure you have selected the appropriate server hardware
  4. Once your product shows up and you are on the appripriate "Drivers & Download" page select your OS from the "Operating System" drop down.
  5. Expand the "Enterprise Solutions" drop-down.
  6. Download and Install the iso
  7. Burn the disc and install
For vSphere 5.1 below is a resource for customized/certified OEM drivers for various manufacturers:

Installing OpenManage Server Administrator and Dell VIBs Manually

I have found that on occasion when installing a non-dell version of esxi you will not get the hardware information and stats you would expect in the hardware health tab. There are also a lot of other hardware interaction functionality that may be missing if you do not install Server Administrator (like snmp trapping for attached hardware)

This is due to the fact that the VIBs haven't been properly installed so vmware has no way of communicating with the Dell hardware to check on it's stats. This issue can be completely avoided by installing Dell custom esx iso's but not everyone either remembers or knows that these exist.

Installation Instructions:
  1. Download
  2. Copy the downloaded zip to your datastore
  3. esxcli software vib install -d (path_to_zip)/
  4. Installation Result
    Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
       Reboot Required: true
        VIBs Installed: Dell_bootbank_OpenManage_6.5-0000
        VIBs Removed:
        VIBs Skipped:
  5. reboot
  6. Go to the health status page and click "refresh sensors"
You now have working sensors and the ability to more closely interact with Dell hardware in esx!

You can see the list of installed software by:
esxcli software vib get
gets detailed software information
esxcli software vib list
lists all installed software

~ # esxcli software vib list | grep -i dell
OpenManage            6.5-0000                            Dell    VMwareAccepted    2012-11-01
~ # esxcli software vib get | grep -i dell
   Vendor: Dell
   Summary: Dell OpenManage 6.5 for esxi500
   Description: Dell OpenManage 6.5 for esxi500


Manually Installing Updated Hardware Drivers

Since I did not use the Dell disc I had to install 10gig NIC drivers manually. The process is as follows:
  1. Find the 10gig NIC drivers by searching your model number on the vmware site
  2. I'm using a Intel 82598EB NIC.
  3. Download the zip -
  4. Extract the zip and copy the offline bundle in the zip to the esx host
  5. Install using esxcli
    esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/
  6. Expected Results:
    Installation Result
       Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
       Reboot Required: true
       VIBs Installed: Intel_bootbank_net-ixgbe_3.9.13.4-1OEM.500.0.0.472560
       VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_net-ixgbe_2.
       VIBs Skipped:

vMA (virtual Management Assistant)

Not to be confused with virtual management agent. virtual management agent is used to connect to vCenter and vMA is used to manage a bunch of systems via command-line. It also provides centralized logging and other useful features like scripted backups of esxi configuration.

Is is a good idea to have a virtual management assistant installed on one of your esx hosts as well to allow you to access vSphere CLI which provides a standard and flexible way to backup, monitor, script and deploy VMs.

I will be writing a short blog in the future about what vMA is and what functionality it has.



The following are the steps that should be done if you get a Dell server and want to install esx on it
  1. Get a custom ESXi CD and install
  2. Install OpenManage drivers
  3. Bring up a vMA guest
  4. If you're using vCenter use Dell's vCenter management plugin (compatible esx 5.0 and above)

No comments:

Post a Comment