Dell OpenManage Integration for VMware vCentre
September 8, 2014

Recently as part of a vSphere 5.5 upgrade we deployed v2 of the Dell vCentre Integration tool to allow low level monitoring of the hosts and to also simplify the process of firmware upgrade and device inventory. This is just a bit of an overview of what it looks like and how it can make life easier for those with Dell hardware in their environment.

Dell released v2 of this tool a few months back which had full support for the vSphere Web Client and other improvements in the deployment of firmware updates.

It’s pretty straightforward to setup (although the process of acquiring the software and licences after the purchase could be significantly streamlined) just download the ovf package and deploy it where required, configure management IP address, set the root password, upload the licence file and register it to your vCentre server/s.
Once it’s registered and deployed its plugin you will see the following views within the vCentre client:
List of all M1000e chassis within your environment.
Quick links to the management consoles and service tags.
Firmware versions of all components within an M620.
Once it has completed it's first inventory job you will see detailed information about the hosts, which chassis & slot it is located in and what firmware is installed on the various components. 
Also many additional alarms are added into vCentre, allowing you to for example, configure an alarm to place a host into maintenance mode in the event a predictive memory failure has been detected or a device has failed. Personally this is probably one of the best features of the tool.
Pre-configured Dell vCentre alarms

Another feature I’m keen on is the simplicity of updating firmware, this in the past has been a PIA. This is the process of installing new firmware on the Broadcom NIC in an M620 downloading the latest firmware files from Dell’s online repository (if you can’t get interweb access you can download the files by other means and upload them through the wizard from your local PC).

1. Select the host that requires the firmware upgrade
2. Ignore all this and just click next.
3. Select the update bundle to apply from the online repository.
4. Select the device to update, also choose if you want the previous firmware backed up incase you need to restore.
5. Choose when you want the update to occur.
6. Hit finish and your done!
This whole process took minutes to complete and is easily repeatable. I’m using 12th gen servers here which have the newer lifecycle controllers in them which also allow rollback to the previous firmware in the event things don’t go to plan. 
If you use this and know of any other cool features thats helped you out let me know, I’ll be keen to check them out, at the moment I’ve only looked at the features that we needed straight away as a deliverable of a project.

When I get it deployed and setup I’ll give an overview of this integrated with Dell OpenManage and Dell Support Assist. But in the meantime you can download the vCentre Integration and try it out from here.