Dell OpenManage enterprise system management overview

Dell's OpenManage product suite provides tools and modules to manage both Dell and third-party IT infrastructures.

The Dell OpenManage suite of software as a service products targets greater flexibility for system administrators managing data centers.

OpenManage contains a range of tools and modules for managing multiple servers within an infrastructure. It requires either a Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) or the OpenManage Server Administrator (OSMA) agent.

The iDRAC hardware installs inside the server. It is embedded in every Dell PowerEdge server. The iDRAC is compatible with every server operating system or hypervisor. The interface software is available for free on Dell's website.

Lifecycle Controller is firmware embedded into the iDRAC, allowing administrators to better configure hardware. The Lifecycle Controller can configure basic input/output system (BIOS) and hardware, such as tuning redundant array of disks setup, updating drivers and firmware, deploying OSes, and saving hardware profiles.

The OSMA agent, installed on the server, is another method to access OpenManage. It identifies OpenManage software and other supported modules on PowerEdge and PowerVault servers. OSMA is not part of the OpenManage administration suite, however -- it is a prerequisite agent for using the suite.

Dell OpenManage Essentials

The main component of OpenManage is the OpenManage Essentials console (previously called Dell IT Assistant), which automatically detects, catalogs and monitors PowerEdge servers, storage, networking and SonicWALL firewall hardware. The suite can work off an agent-free model with the use of iDRAC.

OpenManage Essentials offers administrators an at-a-glance view of the health and performance of their Dell assets through a dashboard interface. Users customize and set hardware alerts for data center events, and an automation unit pushes alerts from Dell hardware automatically to a service desk. OpenManage Essentials deploys BIOS, firmware and driver updates to PowerEdge servers, and it can link to the Dell Repository Manager to update systems from behind a firewall.

Dell OpenManage Essentials has four optional add-on modules:

  1. Dell OpenManage Mobile enables data center administrators to keep track of their PowerEdge infrastructure through a mobile device. It covers alerts, help desk tickets, and inventory and event logs.
  2. Dell OpenManage Connections enables users to interact with third-party data center elements. It allows you to interface with Oracle Enterprise Manager, HP Operations Manager, IBM Tivoli and CA Technologies NSM. The OpenManage Connections plug-ins allow admins to simultaneously manage newly added servers and legacy third-party software.
  3. Dell OpenManage Integration Suite for Microsoft System Center is similar to OpenManage Connections, but specifically helps data centers that use Microsoft System Center.
  4. Dell OpenManage Integration Suite for VMware vCenter integrates with servers running VMware vCenter for the virtual infrastructure. This integration suite comes with the Chassis Management Controller monitoring service. Integration for vCenter also allows users to save configurations for ESX and ESXi servers.

OpenManage also tracks warranty information for Dell hardware in the data center. Pricing depends on the number of servers on which Dell OpenManage is installed. The price for a PowerEdge T110 II Tower Server is $500, for example -- the software is a single-instance installation. OpenManage Integration for Microsoft System Center is available for a five-host evaluation. OpenManage Integration for VMware vCenter is available for a 90-day, five-host trial. Pricing is based on the number of hosts and length of subscription. A three-year subscription for a five-host pack is $495, while a five-year subscription is $799. A three-year subscription for an unlimited host pack is $9,999, while a five-year subscription is $15,999.

Dell OpenManage is usually bundled with Dell servers. While it may be used on a third-party server, Dell does not certify its performance on these systems.

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