Managing hardware components in a virtualized environment can often be a complex, frustrating, and expensive task. Administrators must usually switch between management consoles, and the process for deploying hardware and hypervisors can be inefficient and inconsistent. A lack of integration between hardware system alerts and remediation actions inside a virtual console can delay an administrator’s ability to take action. To address these concerns, the Dell Management Plug - In for VMware vCenter helps simplify the ability to manage multiple hosts and review system information at a glance — all from one central console.
Exploring the Dell Virtual Integrated SystemFeaturesection30 2011 Issue 01 | dell.com/powersolutionsThe Dell" Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter" virtual appliance integrates with the VMware vCenter management platform to enable centralized management of Dell servers in virtualized environments from the VMware vSphere" client.By Mohammad Dhedhi, Raajeev Kalyanaraman, Brian Plunkett, Angela Qian, and James WattExtending management of physical devices in VMware virtual environmentsManaging hardware components in a virtualized environment can often be a complex, frustrating, and expensive task. Administrators must usually switch between management consoles, and the process for deploying hardware and hypervisors can be inefficient and inconsistent. A lack of integration between hardware system alerts and remediation actions inside a virtual console can delay an administrator s ability to take action. To address these concerns, the Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter helps simplify the ability to manage multiple hosts and review system information at a glance all from one central console.Streamlining systems management for virtualized platformsDelivered as a simple virtual appliance in Open Virtualization Format (OVF), Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter offers extensive functionality for managing Dell servers from a vCenter Server client, but without depending on complex or costly external frameworks. The plug-in can be installed on any VMware ESX or ESXi host that is managed by VMware vCenter Server (see Figure 1). Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter allows the VMware vSphere client to be used as a unified graphical user interface (GUI) for managing hardware in both virtual and physical environments. By integrating natively into vCenter Server, the plug-in helps eliminate the need for administrators to learn how to use additional tools for performing many of the already familiar management tasks in vCenter. Some options featured in Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter include comprehensive detailing of the inventory, monitoring, and alerting of Dell hosts within vCenter; recommending or performing vCenter actions based on Dell hardware alerts; offering BIOS and firmware updates from vCenter; and accessing online Dell hardware warranty information. The plug-in also enables vCenter administrators to perform zero-touch deployment of hypervisors on bare-metal servers without using a Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) for today s Dell PowerEdge" servers. IT organizations can benefit from many time-saving features available in Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter. Managing Dell hostsAcquiring server and storage information about Dell hosts at either the host or cluster and data center level requires only a single click of the Dell tab on the VMware vSphere client screen. At the host level, the Overview page shows the health of the physical server and components, server identification information, and recent system-event log entries. There are additional views available including detailed hardware inventory, firmware revision levels, Intuitive management interfaceThe Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter virtual appliance offers an intuitive interface for managing VMware virtualized environments running on Dell hardware. This overview video highlights the plug-in s monitoring, management, and deployment capabilities. dell.com/vcenterpluginvideoReprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2011 Issue 1. Copyright 2011 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.Untitled Documentdell.com/powersolutions | 2011 Issue 01 31and warranty status pulled from the online warranty database at Dell. Administrators can perform host commands available on the Dell page or on menus displayed by right-clicking a host.The Dell cluster or data center level presents an aggregated view of all Dell hosts that are under that cluster or data center; administrators can export this information to a comma-separated values (CSV) file. The VMware vCenter Tasks and Events tab lists any tasks or physical server hardware events that are related to Dell hosts or the Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter virtual appliance. Administrators can view these tasks and events at either the host or cluster or data center level. Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter also registers predefined alarms with recommended actions within vCenter that are triggered by Dell hardware events. By default, all Dell alarms are disabled, but they can be enabled through the Configuration Wizard or the Events and Alarms option under Dell Management Center Settings. Updating BIOS and firmware for Dell hostsThe Dell tab in the VMware vSphere client allows administrators to view and perform BIOS or firmware updates at the host level. A Firmware page shows the component, type of update, and individual update details. An administrator can use the Firmware Update Wizard to perform a single firmware update or a set of firmware updates on a host. If administrators already know which component to update,1 they can update a single component. Or, they can bring a host to a certain BIOS and firmware baseline by selecting the Update from repository option. Administrators can use the default repository FTP site and the recommendation of a server baseline by Dell, or they can use the Dell Repository Manager tool to create a baseline and local repository. Using the Update from repository option, the plug-in scans the host and shows only the applicable system bundle, or baseline, which is a set of BIOS and firmware updates that have been jointly tested against this server. Selecting all applicable updates brings the host to the full baseline. A reboot is required for the updates to take effect. The last step of the Run Firmware Update Wizard provides the following three options:Allow the plug-in to bring the host to maintenance mode, apply the updates, and then reboot the host.Apply updates on the next reboot in this case, the administrator is responsible for putting the host into maintenance mode before the system is rebooted.Apply the updates and force the reboot without entering maintenance mode. The third option is not recommended and is typically used when the host cannot be put into maintenance mode.Deploying hypervisors and configuring servers The Dell Management Center provides zero-touch deployment and provisioning of Dell servers without using PXE. This deployment feature includes discovery, hardware configuration, HTTPSecureShell (SSH)VMware vCenter ServerVMware vSphere clientDell ManagementPlug-In forVMware vCenterWeb Services SoftwareDevelopment Kit (SDK)vCenterdatabaseHTTP overSecure SocketsLayer (SSL)Dell Management Plug-Infor VMware vCenter virtual appliancePlug-in GUIVM Manager (VMM)connectorDell ManagementPlug-In for VMwarevCenter engineProtocol access layerPlug-indatabaseFigure 1. Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter architecture1 With this option, the single Dell Update Package (DUP) must have already been downloaded from support.dell.com.Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2011 Issue 1. Copyright 2011 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.Untitled Document32 2011 Issue 01 | dell.com/powersolutionsExploring the Dell Virtual Integrated SystemFeaturesectionhypervisor deployment, and registration of the server with the appropriate VMware vCenter Server by leveraging the Dell Lifecycle Controller the engine for advanced embedded systems management. The deployment feature separates the deployment preparation steps from the actual hypervisor deployment. After creating a hardware profile, an administrator can select a reference server that provides the base configuration. The created hardware profile extracts all BIOS, boot order, RAID, and Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) configuration settings from the reference server to save as a template. Later, those settings can be applied to a target server. The hypervisor profile includes the location of a scriptable hypervisor installation image such as the reference International Organization for Standardization (ISO) image and an optional staging folder. This profile also includes the vCenter settings of the vCenter instance, destination, and host profile information. A deployment template contains a hardware profile, a hypervisor profile, or both profiles. Once preparation is complete, the Deployment Wizard provisions server hardware, deploys a hypervisor image, and adds the host to vCenter. After deployment, the Dell OpenManage" Server Administrator (OMSA) agent is also deployed to the host, and the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) trap destination is set with the IP address of the Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter virtual appliance. Finally, the Job Queue helps administrators manage deployment jobs.Delivering systems management in a virtualized environment Integration of the Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter with the vCenter management platform provides an automated, end-to-end physical and virtual systems management environment that enables host update and deployment operations using simple GUIs. By hiding manual process complexity and avoiding the use of multiple tools, this integration helps reduce cost through a centralized, scalable approach that helps simplify the management of Dell PowerEdge servers in VMware virtualized environments.Figure 2. Roll-up reporting for Dell hosts and firmware versions at the cluster or data center levelMohammad Dhedhi is a senior software engineer in the Dell Systems Management Group.Raajeev Kalyanaraman is a senior software engineer in the Dell Systems Management Group.Brian Plunkett is a software development manager in the Dell Systems Management Group.Angela Qian is a systems management technologist and architect in the Dell Systems Management Group.James Watt is an engineering lead in the Dell Systems Management Group. Learn moreDell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter:dell.com/vcenterpluginDell repository:ftp.dell.comReprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2011 Issue 1. Copyright 2011 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.