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Monitoring Dell Servers Using OpenManage Tools

I've always found that utilizing a companies hardware alerting mechanisms are a lot less hassle than rolling your own alerting mechanism. They know their hardware the best and are the best people to indicate when a piece of their hardware has failed and is viable for RMA. So why not use their utilities?

With that in mind and a room full of Dell servers I went looking for the "supported" method of monitoring Dell servers.

Turns out there's a set of utilities called branded with the name OpenManage. These utilities can be a bit confusing to figure out what each of them do but the basic concept is a client/server relationship between two tools:

OpenManage Essentials - Replacement for the previous Dell IT Assistant (ITA) is a server utility that listens and discovers all hardware components in a network environment

iDRAC - The built in iDRAC port is able to communicate to the server utility using WSMAN
OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) - This is an application that is installed on the Operating System of your machine. It communicates back to the server utility.

The components of OpenManage are described further in the OpenManage 101 Tutorial

In my setup I'm purely using the iDRAC port on the devices for discovery and alerting as I do not want to have to manage an application install on the OS and iDRAC will forever and consistently be available.

There are a couple steps to get a basic openmanage setup done which I followed.
  1. Get a Windows 2008 R2 or greater machine
  2. Download the OpenManage Essentials Utility from Dell
  3. Install the Utility
  4. Discover Devices - For iDRAC use WS-Man
  5. Enable iDRAC Alerts by configuring iDRACs remotely
  6. Allow SNMP Traps through firewall via "Allow an Application or Feature"
  7. Setup Email Alerts | Preferences | Email Settings
  8. Setup Email Alerting for all DRAC alerts - Manage | Alerts | New Alert Email Action
  9. Open up firewall port 2607 for remote access to management console
  10. Add permissions to group or users of a certain DL or permission
    1. computer management 
    2. local users and groups
    3. Double click OmeAdministrators
    4. Add some people

Summary of Steps to enable alerts remotely
  1. Manage | Remote Tasks
  2. Command Line | Create Command line Task
  3. Name Task | Input First Command | Output logs to file | Select Target | Run Now | Input Auth | Finish
  4. Clone Task | Change Command line | Run Now | Input Auth | Finish

# Commandline Task 1 - Enable Alert Radiobutton
config -g cfgipmilan -o cfgipmilanalertenable 1
# Commandline Task 2 - Set Alert Destination Number
config -g cfgIpmiPet -o cfgIpmiPetAlertEnable -i 1 1
# Commandline Task 3 - Set Alert Destination IP
config -g cfgIpmiPet -o cfgIpmiPetAlertDestIpAddr -i 1
# Commandline Task 4 - Set Alert SNMP String
config -g cfgIpmiLan -o cfgIpmiPetCommunityName public
# Commandline Task 5 - Do not filter alerts
eventfilters set -c idrac.alert.all -a none -n snmp
# Commandline Task 6 - Test trapping
testtrap -i 1

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