Sunday, 25 May 2014

Running Dell DSET remotely on ESXi

For those using Dell hardware, when you log the job with Dell Support, they'll ask you to run a DSET report. This collects various information of the server including service tag, all hardware devices, firmware versions etc.

There's 3 ways to get DSET info.
1) Install DSET locally
2) Run DSET LiveCD
3) Run DSET remotely and create a report on a local server.

Each option has their pros and cons.

The DSET download is available at www.dell.com/dset.

Install DSET locally

This is pretty straight forward. You can do a normal install and keep the software installed, or choose to create a one time local DSET report. Useful if you don't want to keep unnecessary software on your servers. Doesn't require an outage/reboot.

Running DSET LiveCD

Get the latest version at http://linux.dell.com/files/openmanage-contributions/ (omsa-71-live). This will boot into a CentOS LiveCD to the graphical user interface with the Dell utils you need on there. You don't need to know the root password, but it's "dell".

Here you can run the DSET util and save it to a USB disk, vFlash, or network share / scp remotely. The DSET output is saved to /tmp/data/.

This requires an outage as it needs to boot from DVD.

Running DSET remotely

This is my new favourite method. This option only works if the target server has Dell OpenManage agent installed. (If you are using Dell hardware, please install OMSA as part of your build process. It makes things so much easier down the track.)

Install Dell DSET on your workstation, or management server,  from www.dell.com/dset.


 Select Install DSET.


Choose the component you need.

Finish the installation.

This will open a cmd prompt.

For more info, run dellsysteminfo.exe /h, or just run:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\AdvDiags\DSET\bin> dellsysteminfo.exe -s servername -u root -d hw,st,sw,lg -r c:\temp\servername-dset.zip
Dell System E-Support Tool, Version 3.5.0
@2004-2013 Dell Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Please enter "root" password:

* Gathering Chassis information...
* Gathering Software information...
* Gathering Logs...
* Gathering System Summary information...
* Preparing and Compressing Report...
* Saving DSET CIM report to path: c:\temp with report file name: servername-dset.zip

Troubleshooting

Failed to gather Software/Logs data. Check the IP Address and credentials: - Ensure ssh is enabled.

Failed to gather Software/Logs data. Either user is not part of sudoers list or NOPASSWD is not configured - try using the root account.

Some detailed information is missing from the report: reset OpenManage services.

DSET Output

Once the DSET report has been saved, you can send it to Dell Support for investigation. If you're curious about what's contained in report, unzip using the super secret password "dell", and run the dsetreport.hta file.



Saturday, 24 May 2014

Installing Dell OpenManage on ESXi

Dell OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) provides detailed information about the hardware. Handy to find out details of the physical drives, memory sticks and if there's any failed components.

If you log a support call with Dell, chances are they will ask for more details, and possibly a DSET report, and having OMSA already installed, makes life easier.

Dell also leaverage the features of OMSA with other management packages such as OpenManage Essentials and the vSphere plugin.

Make it part of any new installation, not just for ESXi, but any OS. Here I will focus on installing it with ESXi.

Dell have a 15 page white paper "Deploying Dell OpenManage Server Administrator on VMware ESXi Using Dell Online Depot and VMware Update Manager" dated July 2013.

Installing OMSA Using VMware Update Manager

This is the easiest method if you have VUM available. 

From within Update Manager, add http://vmwaredepot.dell.com/index.xml as a download source. This will check for new versions of OMSA, and update them when required, just like the regular ESXi updates.

You can also download a single OpenManage .vib file and import that to VUM.

Final thoughts

This is one piece of software you think you can do without, but trust me, it'll make you life easier when you need hardware information. If you have Dell servers, make sure OMSA is installed.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Melbourne VMUG May 2014 Wrap up




Last week we had the quarterly VMUG meeting at the Telstra Conference Centre.

We paid homage to the creator of the VMware community, John Troyer, as he's moved on from VMware after 9 years. John was responsible for the vExpert program, in which 16 were from Melbourne this year.

If you want to participate in the VMUG community and perhaps become a vExpert, contact us about doing a community presentation. If you're nervous or unsure, look into the @Feed4ward program. We're here to help you succeed.

Community

The Salvation Army did a community presentation on the difficulties they face with "Operations on a Limited Budget", and how they get around those constraints. It was a fascinating presentation, almost a rags to riches storey as they started with VMware server running on laptops, and then moved to servers running vSphere.

Storage Panel Session. The year of the Desktop Storage


Not a police line-up.
With the fierce competition amongst the storage vendors, we were lucky enough to get four storage vendors that worked together, presenting the 'new world architecture', with flash, and server side storage. I was a bit worried as to whether the four vendors would actually work together, or take shots at each other with snide remarks ending up in a punch on. I sensed some nerves in the storage vendors too. There was an increased presence of other vendors in the audience, keen to see the outcome, and probably to defend their own company if they were named during the presentation.

Each vendor did a brief 10 minute intro showing their offering for the uninitiated, and then they lined up to answer questions from the audience. There were some great questions, one even getting a vendor to admit a particular use case wouldn't suit their platform, and suggested the vendor to his right would be able to handle that use case. It was a great honest panel session. No Marketing. Just the facts.

Is it a risk running your enterprise workloads on something from a startup? Perhaps. But the trade off can be a cheaper solution that suits your requirements and the vendor will work harder to prove their technology was the right choice as they can't afford to disappoint customers.

Thanks to Nutanix, Pure Storage, VMware and Tintri for working together on the panel session.

Prizes

There was a raffle for heaps of prizes such as movie tickets, Apple TV, bluetooth speakers, VMware Press books and more. If you don't have business cards, make some yourself, or bring a bunch of post-it notes.

vBeers

All that talking was thirsty work, and we headed to Trunk Bar & Restaurant across the road from the Telstra conference centre.With the alcohol flowing, there were no punch ons with the storage vendors, just love.

Presentations now available online

The slides from the night are available on the Melbourne VMUG workspace: http://www.vmug.com/p/do/sd/sid=2470&type=0

The sessions were recorded, thanks to Justin Warren (http://www.eigenmagic.com).

Keep an eye out for the next vBeers event on the 26th June. Check the vmug.com/melbourne website for the latest info.