HOW TO: Use Dell OpenManage Server Administrator to Create and Manage a Virtual Disk (RAID Array) on a Dell PowerEdge Server with VMware vSphere 5.0, ESXi 5.0 installed.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2018-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2019-2011 30 years of experience.
One of the benefits of using a Dell PowerEdge Server versus a HP ProLiant Server to host a VMware vSphere Host, is the ability to Create and Manage the virtual disk (RAID array) on the server with ESXi 5.0 installed, without restarting the server, and using the Storage Controller RAID BIOS configuration utility.

Currently (July 2012), the only way to create and manage a HP SmartStart RAID Array, is either to shutdown the VMware vSphere 5.0 (ESXi 5.0) server, and use the SmartStart RAID Array BIOS at POST or BOOT the server from the HP SmartStart CDROM and use the Array Configuration Utility (ACU). HP have still not provided a software alternative when the ESXi server is running.

The Dell documentation seems to complicate this process in how to complete this task, and due to the many questions, I have decided to create a Tutorial Walkthrough in few easy steps of how this can be easily achieved.


1. Download and Install the Dell OEM version of VMware vSphere 5.0 U1 (ESXi 5.0 U1), on your Dell PowerEdge Server.

Download the ISO here - VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.0.0.update1-623860.x86_64-Dell_Customized_RecoveryCD_A00.iso

2. Dell OpenManage System Administrator for ESXi 5.0 must be installed on the ESXi 5.0 host to be managed.

Download here - Dell OpenManager System Administrator for ESXi 5.0

3. PUTTY - used to establish an SSH connection to the ESXi 5.0 host server.

PUTTY download

4. WinSCP - used to transfer the Dell OpenManage software to the ESXi 5.0 Server.

WinSCP Download

5. Optional Manual for reference only

Dell OpenManage with ESXi 5.0 Systems Management Guide

1. Upload [url="http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER00655764M/1/OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-7.1.0-5304.VIB-ESX50i_A00.zip

Dell OpenManage VIB Bundle[/url] to ESXi server"]Using WinSCP upload the Dell OpenManage VIB Bundle downloaded above to the /var/log/vmware folder on the ESXi5.0 server. Ensure SSH and ESXi Shell are both enabled in Security Profile on the ESXi server. If you get a connection refused message, SSH is disabled on your server.
OpenManage VIB Bundle

2. Connect to the VMware Hypervisor ESXi server via SSH

Using PuTTY a free telnet and SSH client or another SSH client Login and Connect to the VMware Hypervisor ESXi server, using IP address or hostname of the VMware Hypervisor ESXi server, using root username and password credentials.
Connecting to SSH session on ESXi server
Connected to ESXi Server via SSHChange Directory or Folder to the location you have uploaded the Dell OpenManage VIB Bundle for ESXi (the zip file).

type cd /var/log/vmware at the console prompt

type cd /var/log/vmwareyou can use the ls -al command to check the VIB bundle is in the correct directory.
ls -al

3. Installing the Dell OpenManage VIB Bundle on ESXi 5.0

This is the "Hancock method" of installing VIBs on an ESXi host server, there are many different ways using the vSphere Command-Line Interface (vSphere CLI) or vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) , the installation can be achieved in the same way but remotely. I prefer to connect to the server via SSH, or use the physical console to perform firmware, or VIB updates.

It is a good idea to put the server into Maintenance Mode, make sure all VMs are Powered off or moved to a new host ESXi server. If you have vMotion or DRS, this makes it easier. The server will require a reboot after the update is applied.

At the console prompt type the command

vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter

and then type

esxcli software vib install -d /var/log/vmware/OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-7.1.0-5304.VIB-ESX50i_A00.zip

there is no output from the above command to suggest it's upgrading the firmware OS, but it should only take 2 minutes, and respond with the following screen. (I'm installing to a Dell Poweredge R710, ESXi 5.0 U1 installation is on a USB flash drive plugged in internally to the front slot).

Installation Result

VIBs installed successfully
Once the VIB has been successully applied, reboot the server using the reboot command at the console prompt.

When the server has rebooted, Exit Maintenance Mode using either the vSphere Client or the command vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit at the console prompt, you will need to connect back to the host server using SSH to use this command.

You have successfully installed the Dell OpenManage System Administrator for ESXi 5.0.

To confirm this is correctly configured, connect using Dell OpenManage System Administrator.

4. Start Dell OpenManage System Administrator

Select Start from the Windows Taskbar, and select Dell OpenManage Applications, Server Administrator on your management workstation. (it's beyond the scope of this document, on how to Install Dell OpenManage System Administrator, but it could not be easier, than downloading from the following URL - http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER00574377M/1/OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-WIN-7.1.0-5304_A00.exe, extract the self-extracting archive file, and executing the enclosed Setup program. That's it!)

The following screen will be opened in your browser
Dell OpenManage System Administrator
Enter the Hostname or IP Address of your VMware vSphere 5.0 (ESXi 5.0) server, followed by username and password. Also Tick the Ignore certificate warnings, if you are using the default VMware supplied SSL certificates.
Enter Hostname and IP Address
The following screen will be displayed on successful connection to the ESXi 5.0 host server.
Verifying Credentials
After a few seconds, the following Configuration page will be displayed.
Configuration Page

5. Creating a Dell Virtual Disk (RAID Array)

Storage Views from within the vSphere Client shows esx002, currently has no VMFS datastore defined.
Storage Views from within vSphere ClientStorage Views from within vSphere ClientExpand the Storage container on the right hand side under System.
Expand the Storage container on the right hand side under SystemClick Virtual Disks, Click Go to the Create Virtual Disk Wizard.
Based on your RAID requirements, select the RAID Level e.g. RAID-1 (Mirroring), followed by ContinueBased on your RAID requirements, select the RAID Level e.g. RAID-1 (Mirroring), followed by Continue
Select RAID typeSelect the Physical Disks required to be added to the virtual disk, followed by continue
Select Physical DisksPhysical Disk Selected for the Virtual Disk
Disks SelectedSelect OK to the Any Data that resides on the physical disk will be lost after you use the physical disks to create a virtual disk. Are you sure you want to continue.
Select OK to erase dataCheck the size is correct, and Click continue
Check the size is correct, and Click continueCheck the Summary and Click Finish to Create the Virtual Disk.
 Check the Summary and Click Finish to Create the Virtual Disk.
Remote Connections to ESXi can be rather sluggish, after a few minutes the display will show a Background Initialization state whilst the virtual disk is Initialized.
Background Initialization stateIt can take many minutes or hours for initialization to complete, once Background Initialization has completed the display will look similar to the following
Background Initialization completedStorage View from within VMware vSphere Client
Storage View from the vSphere Client
You have successfully installed the Dell OpenManage System Administrator for ESXi, and then created a Virtual Disk, without restarting the server, which is a function that currently cannot be performed on a HP ProLiant Server!

Thank you for reading my article, please leave valuable feedback. If you liked my VMware article and would like to see more VMware Articles from me, please click the Yes button near the: Was this article helpful? at the Top of this article to the right of the Article title. Thank You. Do not forget if you have a question about this article or another VMware or Virtualisation question, why not post a Question for Me and the other Experts Exchange Experts in the VMware or Virtualisation Zones. I look forward to hearing from you. - Andy
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