VxRail iDrac Setup with RACADM

I don’t know if I already wrote about this, but something I really don’t like is repetitive GUI tasks… That’s why when possible (pretty much always), an old sys admin habit consists in using CLI commands. No necessarily need for a rocket science script, but at least some commands to run into an SSH session or a configuration file to push, in order to avoid dealing with any GUI.

Today, let’s talk about the initial setup of Dell EMC HCI nodes and the main associated task, the VxRail iDrac Setup with RACADM. (This doesn’t replace the official Dell EMC SolVe procedure.)

That’s being said, when your node is freshly physically installed and cabled, you want to setup the iDrac, make it reachable from your premises, a more convenient place for the cluster setup through the remote KVM, no big deal.

Coming with 13th generation servers, the iDRAC direct feature allows you to directly connect your laptop USB port to the iDRAC micro-USB port. This allows you to interact with iDRAC interfaces (such as Web interface, RACADM, and WSMAN) for advanced server management and servicing. 

This is what we will use, as soon the VxRail node is powered (not started) the iDRAC is ready to be configured.

1. Requirements

2. iDRAC Connection

Connect your laptop to the VxRail node through the micro-USB cable. Depending on your operation system, you will see a new network interface popping, with “Auto-IP” configuration. Microsoft refers to this address auto-configuration method as Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA).

Wait for the laptop to acquire IP address 169.254.0.4. It may take several seconds for the IP addresses to be acquired. iDRAC acquires the IP address 169.254.0.3

At this point, you should be able to ping the iDRAC on 169.254.0.3

3. XML Configuration Files

The VxRail installation SolVe procedure lists the following required settings:

  • Set Enable NIC to Enabled
  • Set NIC Selection to Dedicated
  • Set Enable IPMI Over LAN to Enabled
  • Set the Static IP Address (iDRAC address), Static Gateway, and Static Subnet Mask

I’ve added the following:

  • IPv6 disablement
  • VLAN tagging
  • DNS
  • Time
  • NTP

Let’s prepare an XML file for each of our nodes, containing the appropriate settings:

<SystemConfiguration>
<Component FQDD="iDRAC.Embedded.1">
 <Attribute Name="IPMILan.1#Enable">Enabled</Attribute>

  <!--VLAN Configuration: -->
 <Attribute Name="NIC.1#VLanEnable">Enabled</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="NIC.1#VLanID">50</Attribute>

  <!-- IPv4/6 & NIC Configuration -->
 <Attribute Name="NIC.1#Enable">Enabled</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="NIC.1#Selection">Dedicated</Attribute>

 <Attribute Name="IPv4.1#Enable">Enabled</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="IPv4.1#DHCPEnable">Disabled</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="IPv6.1#Enable">Disabled</Attribute>
    
 <Attribute Name="IPv4Static.1#Address">10.1.1.100</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="IPv4Static.1#Netmask">255.255.255.0</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="IPv4Static.1#Gateway">10.1.1.254</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="IPv4Static.1#DNS1">10.1.1.251</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="IPv4Static.1#DNS2">10.1.1.252</Attribute>

 <!-- NTP & Time Configuration -->
 <Attribute Name="NTPConfigGroup.1#NTP1">172.16.1.51</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="NTPConfigGroup.1#NTP2">172.16.1.52</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="NTPConfigGroup.1#NTP3">172.16.1.53</Attribute>
 <Attribute Name="Time.1#Timezone">CET</Attribute>

</Component>
</SystemConfiguration>

This list is not exhaustive, it contains only the required VxRail configuration, for a single node.

After the DRAC tool setup, you may have to set an environment variable if you want avoid having to type the full path of racadm.exe:

VxRail iDrac Setup with RACADM
Environment Variable

4. Execute the configuration

Now you’ve prepared you XML files and have OpenManage DRAC Tool installed, you can launch a terminal and execute:

PS C:\> racadm -r 169.254.0.3 -u root -p calvin set -f "C:\iDrac\vxrail_node_01.xml" -t xml

Security Alert: Certificate is invalid - Certificate is not signed by Trusted Third Party
Continuing execution. Use -S option for racadm to stop execution on certificate-related errors.
 
SEC0701: Warning: Default username and password are currently in use.
It is strongly recommended to change the default password immediately.
 
To change the password, run the following racadm command:
"racadm set iDRAC.Users..Password ".
 
Alternatively, to avoid this warning message run the following racadm command:
"racadm set iDRAC.Tuning.DefaultCredentialWarning Disabled".
 
Please wait while racadm transfers the file.
File transferred successfully. Initiating the import operation.
RAC977: Import configuration XML file operation initiated.
Use the "racadm jobqueue view -i JID_96205085064" command to view the status
of the operation.

Once you’re done, validate the reachability of your node, disconnect your USB cable, connect it to the next node and repeat the operation with the next file.

To sum-up

There’re multiple ways to configure your out-of-band management system, the above is one of it. For those who prefer to work with JSON or INI (deprecated) files, this is a possibility as well. Another way to work, if you can’t install OpenManage Tools, is to work with SSH and get the configuration file through a file share (SMB, NFS).

You can find all the information on the following Dell EMC Support page:

https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/be/fr/bebsdt1/idrac9-lifecycle-controller-v3.0-series/idrac_3.00.00.00_ug/setting-up-managed-system?guid=guid-e28d8370-8ad4-40aa-9ac6-3b8c53c71fd0&lang=en-us

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