Cloud Management Platform vRealize Operations

Features of the New Dell PowerEdge Management Pack

By: Alain Geenrits

Most customers that use vRealize Operations to monitor their vSphere environment sooner or later wish to monitor the physical environment too. The servers that run VMware ESX are first to mind. There are a lot of monitoring tools out there, not in the least from server manufacturers themselves, but what about correlating your data in vROps between your virtual and physical resources ? That is precisely what we do at Blue Medora with our management pack for Dell PowerEdge servers. We read data from the Dell iDrac interface and create objects and metrics in vROps. You get all the goodness you are used to like dashboards, dynamic trending, smart alerts and capacity trending for your PowerEdge servers!

Monitor Dell in vROps

Recently a major revision was published to match changes in the API and resolve issues detecting the VMware relations. It is a whole new version, not compatible with previous ones – if you have the old one you should follow the upgrade procedure in the install guide.

vROps dell poweredge tree
Figure 1:
Dell Server inventory tree with relationships showing.

The Management Pack for Dell PowerEdge is optimized for VMware vRealize Operations 6.x. Below are some key features.

  • 4 comprehensive monitoring dashboards
    • Dell PowerEdge Overview
    • Dell PowerEdge Server Performance
    • Dell PowerEdge Health
    • Dell PowerEdge Virtual Machine Workbench
  • 21 high-level views—and 3 corresponding reports—including health and availability for all Dell resources
  • 760+ collected metrics for Dell PowerEdge resources
  • Key performance metrics such as critical percentage of each child resource type, average physical disk capacity, and cumulative power usage
  • External relationships to the ESXi host and Endpoint Operations
  • 260+ detailed alerts and notifications imported from the Dell PowerEdge API
  • Capacity definitions for vRealize Calculated disk capacity, chassis power supply capacity, and cooling device capacity.

What’s New

New Features of the latest release include:

  • 13 New Resource Kinds, split “Server” Resource Kind into “Blade Server” and “Rack Server”
  • 2 New Dashboards: Dell PowerEdge Server Performance and Dell PowerEdge Virtual Machine Workbench
  • 21 New Views including firmware, health and availability, and overview of Dell PowerEdge resources
  • 3 New Reports: Dell Firmware, Dell Health and Availability, and Dell Server Overview
  • New Capacity Definitions for Dell PowerEdge Blade Servers, Chassis Power Supplies, Cooling Devices, Rack Servers, and Physical Disks
  • Creates external relationships to End-Point Operations and the ESXi host
  • Added support for True Visibility Suite licensing

Installing the management pack consists of uploading one pak-file. After you apply a license you can install an instance of the adapter. Dell R-, M- and T-series servers are supported, specifically generations 12g and 13g. Your iDrac needs to be version v7+ with firmware version 1.30.30+. You need to configure the iDRAC network addresses. The manual states you should do this in IPv4 or IPv6 CIDR notation, but as you can see in Figure 2, you can also specify a list of addresses.

vROps dell poweredge management pack configuration
Figure 2:
Configuration of an adapter instance.

The management pack uses SNMP to exchange data with the iDrac API. For credentials you can choose which version and type of credentials you use. In SNMP v1 and V2 (actually V2c) you specify only a community string. These are older versions of the standard and obviously this is not very secure. That is why this mode is read-only. If you implemented SNMP v3 you can use the more advanced USM (User-based Security Model). The different modes are:

  • Communication without authentication and privacy (NoAuthNoPriv).
  • Communication with authentication and without privacy (AuthNoPriv).
  • Communication with authentication and privacy (AuthPriv).

Apart from user-based security, SNMP v3 also offers more administration options. Note that all modes of authentication also have a variant with vsphere username/password. With the changes in API, this is the only way to establish the relationships with ESX now. We need to query the vCenter API to get that data. So if you want those inventory trees, specify a user here!

Extensive vROps Feature Integration

vROps dell poweredge health overview dashboard
Figure 3:
Dell PowerEdge Health Overview dashboard

We ship a number of dashboards with the product to help visualize your Dell health and performance. You can of course edit them at will. In Figure 3 you will notice that the health overview also specifies properties of the Dell server like a service tag ! We should stress that there are 21 views available for dashboards, reports, or just to visualize in details of the object as you see in Figure 4.

vROps dell poweredge views
Figure 4:
Views included for Dell PowerEdge

Last but not least, the management pack uses the capacity calculation engine in vROps to display badges on power, cooling and local storage. As you can see in Figure 5 the remaining capacity for a power supply in our lab is red, because it is at 100% of calculated capacity. To change these calculations you need to edit a policy. (see previous blog posts.)

vROps dell poweredge capacity management
Figure 5:
Capacity Badge for a Dell power supply.

As you can see the Dell PowerEdge management pack extends your vRealize Operations manager to the physical world. Your complete infrastructure can be managed together in the same dashboards, reports and alerts. Relationships allow you to pinpoint quickly which connected resources are exhibiting problems.

Find all resources for this management pack here and here online.


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