Archive for the ‘C6100’ Category

C6100 IPMI Issues with vSphere 6

July 15, 2015 Leave a comment

So I’m not 100% certain if the issues I’m having on my C6100 server are vSphere 6 related or not.  But I have seen similar issues before in my lab, so it may be one of a few things.

After a recent upgrade, I noted that some of my VM’s seemed “slow” – which is hard to quantify.  Then this morning I wake up to having internet but no DNS, so I know my DC is down.  Hosts are up though.  So I give them a hard boot, connect to the IPMI KVM, and watch the startup.  To see “loading IPMI_SI_SRV…” and it just sitting there.

In the past, this seemed to be related to a failing SATA disk, and the solution was to pop it up – which helped temporarily until I replaced the disk outright.  But these are new drives.  Trying the same here did not work, though I only tried the spinning disks and not the SSD’s.  Rather than mess around, I thought I’d find a way to see if I could disable IPMI at least to troubleshoot.

Turns out, I wasn’t alone – though just not specific to vSphere 6:

That last one is the option I took:

  • Press SHIFT+O during the Hypervisor startup
  • Append “noipmiEnabled” to the boot args

Which got my hosts up and running. 

I haven’t done any deeper troubleshooting, nor have I permanently disabled the IPMI with the options of:

Manually turn off or remove the module by turning the option “VMkernel.Boot.ipmiEnabled” off in vSphere or using the commands below:

# Do a dry run first:
esxcli software vib remove –dry-run —vibname ipmi–ipmi–si–drv
# Remove the module:
esxcli software vib remove —vibname ipmi–ipmi–si–drv

We’ll see what comes when I get more time…

Categories: C6100, ESXi, Home Lab, vSphere

Modifying the Dell C6100 for 10GbE Mezz Cards

June 11, 2015 5 comments

In a previous post, Got 10GbE working in the lab – first good results, I talked about getting 10GbE working with my Dell C6100 series.  Recently, a commenter asked me if I had any pictures of the modifications I had to make to the rear panel to make these 10GBE cards work.  As I have another C6100 I recently acquired (yes, I have a problem…), that needs the mods, it seems only prudent to share the steps I took in case it helps someone else.

First a little discussion about what you need:

  • Dell C6100 without the rear panel plate to be removed
  • Dell X53DF/TCK99 2 Port 10GbE Intel 82599 SFP+ Adapter
  • Dell HH4P1 PCI-E Bridge Card

You may find the Mezz card under either part number – it seems that the X53DF replaced the TCK99.  Perhaps one is the P/N and one is the FRU or some such.  But you NEED that little PCI-E bridge card.  It is usually included, but pay special attention to the listing to ensure it does.  What you DON’T really need, is the mesh back plate on the card – you can get it bare. 

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Shown above are the 2pt 10GbE SFP+ card in question, and also the 2pt 40GbE Infiniband card.  Above them both is the small PCI-E bridge card.

2015-06-11 21.19.24

You want to remove the two screws to remove the backing plate on the card.  You won’t be needing it, and you can set it aside.  The screws attach through the card and into the bracket, so once removed, reinsert the screws to the bracket to keep from losing them.

2015-06-11 21.17.14

Here we can see the back panel of the C6100 sled.  Ready to go for cutting.

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You can place the factory rear plate over the back plate.  Here you can see where you need to line it up and mark the cuts you’ll be doing.  Note that of course the bracket will sit higher up on the unit, so you’ll have to adjust for your horizontal lines. 

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If we look to the left, we can see the source of the problem that causes us to have to do this work.  The back panel here is not removable, and wraps around the left corner of the unit.  In systems with the removable plate, this simply unscrews and panel attached to the card slots in.  In the right hand side you can see the two screws that would attach the panel and card in that case.

2015-06-11 21.35.38

Here’s largely what we get once we complete the cuts.  Perhaps you’re better with a Dremel than I am. Note that the vertical cuts can be tough depending on the size of the cutting disk you have, as they may have interference from the bar to remove the sled. 

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You can now attach the PCI-E bridge card to the Mezz card, and slot it in.  I found it easiest to come at about 20 degree angle and slot in the 2 ports into the cut outs, then drop the PCI-E bridge into the slot.  When it’s all said and done, you’ll find it pretty secure and good to go.

That’s really about it.  Not a whole lot to it, and if you have it all in hand, you’d figure it out pretty quick.  This is largely to help show where my cut lines ended up compared tot he actual cuts and where adjustments could be made to make the cuts tighter if you wanted.  Also, if you’re planning to order, but are not sure if it works or is possible, then this is going to help out quite a bit.

Some potential vendors I’ve had luck with: – accepted $60 USD offer. – currently lists for $54 USD, I’m sure you could get them for $50 without too much negotiating.

Categories: C6100, Dell, Hardware, Home Lab

PernixData FVP v1.5 GA on vSphere v5.5 First Look

March 15, 2014 1 comment

So one of my most recent posts was about fixing my UUID issue on my Dell C6100 series server.  Of course, what prompted that initially and identified the problem, was PernixData’s FVP product – way back in the 0.9 Beta if I recall.  Now that I’ve gotten this solved, of course, I wanted to give FVP a try again. 

So out goes some e-mails to PernixData with a request for download ( – go request a trial!  You’ll like it…)  A quick chat with Chris Floyd (@phloider) and Peter Chang (@virtualbacon) gets me set up with the trial again.  However, a quick look says “.. vSphere v5.0 and v5.1…”  Well that’s no good, I’m on v5.5.0 U1 (of course, why not be an early adopter Smile).  So that looks like it’s out of the question.  Then they tell me the new version is supposed to GA on Monday March 17.  Well I can wait that long I figure.  That lasted until about 7PM on Friday, at which point I went to download the beta anyway.


Not being up on the current version number (I hadn’t been keeping track, what with the UUID issue, why disappoint myself further that my hardware doesn’t like their software), so I go ahead and download the ‘beta’ figuring I’ll give it a try.  Not 10 minutes later I get an e-mail from Chris with a subject line of “New plans for the weekend…” the body of which stated: “You were the first person to download 1.5 GA. Let me know what you think.”

Well dammit.  I’m not waiting till Monday now Smile 

First, nothing in this post should supersede what’s in the documentation – which is actually really good.  This is my notes version, and cheat sheet.  If you follow my notes and didn’t read their documentation at all – that’s on you.  With that said… let’s begin!


1) Install and configure the Management Server


I’ve chosen to install this in my lab on my vCenter server using the same svcVMware AD account.  Run PernixData FVP Management Server – 1.5.03869.0.exe and start the installation.


This really is the first screen that isn’t “Next, Next, Finish-y”. 


I’ve opted to use the same SQL_EXPRESS instance used by my vCenter Server – probably not the best way to go if in Production, but works good enough here.


Next we tell the FVP Management Server how it should be found on the network.


And then click INSTALL.


A JRE?  Yeah, go ahead and install that too if it’s needed.


2) Configure FVP


Next, you’d normally install the plug in.  The vSphere Client Plug-in for FVP v1.5 is only for vSphere v5.0 or v5.1.  For v5.5 the plug in is installed in the vSphere Web Client – and there’s nothing to do, as the installer added it to vCenter Server. 


So log in to the vSphere web client and click on vCenter.  You’ll see a PernixData FVP section at the bottom.  Click on FLASH CLUSTERS.




Name your cluster and select the cluster you want to attach it to.  Click OK.


Next you’ll see the Getting Started tab.  Click on the MANAGE tab.


It will show FLASH DEVICES.  Click ADD DEVICE.  You’ll quickly get prompted that you’re a fool and haven’t installed the software on the hosts.  Duly noted. 


3) (should have been 2) Add the FVP Extensions to

the host(s)


Installation is either via uploading to the host and installation via SSH or VUM – which is “Experimental” at this state.  However, I would like to see the VUM method work as it is more automated, so let’s give that a try.


In the vSphere Client, browse to HOME –> SOLUTIONS –> UPDATE MANAGER.  Click on the PATCH REPOSITORY tab.  Click IMPORT PATCHES.


Browse to where you’ve unpacked your FVP v1.5 software, and select the ESXi v5.5 update.  Click NEXT.  You may get prompted to install/accept/ignore a certificate – do so.




I’d never seen the patches not show up right away, but apparently my vCenter was busy.  Watch the RECENT TASKS pane to ensure the patches are Confirm Imported. 


Then confirm by entering PERNIX in the search box.

Click on the BASELINES AND GROUPS tab, and click CREATE on the BASELINE side.


Name your baseline and select HOST EXTENTION.  Click NEXT.


Search for Pernix, click the down arrow to add it to the lower window, and click NEXT.


On the READY TO COMPLETE screen, click FINISH.


If you have a Baseline Group you may want to add the Extension to your Baseline Group.  Click COMPLIANCE VIEW in the upper right to return to your hosts and clusters view.  Select your cluster and click SCAN to check for updates required.


Click REMEDIATE.  Then select only the EXTENTIONS BASELINE and select the PERNIXDATA FVP v1.5 GA baseline.  Check all applicable hosts and click NEXT.


Click NEXT, NEXT, then set your remediation options.  I like to disable removable media and set my retries for every 1 minute and 33 retries –largely because it’s easy to type/change with one hand.  Click NEXT.


Choose whatever remediation options make you happy and click NEXT and FINISH.  Then wait for the magic to happen.


4) NOW configure FVP 🙂


Now that you’ve added the extensions, let’s go back adding devices:


Only 2 of my 4 hosts are showing up right now – that’s fine.  I’m going to choose to add my Kingston V300 120GB SSD’s (here’s hoping they work and are on the HCL), and click OK.


Now that the devices show up, click on DATASTORES/VM’s


Next we’ll click ADD DATASTORE.


Only one of my datastores is ISCSI, and FVP only accelerates block devices – FCP, FCoE, or ISCSI- no local DAS data stores obviously either.  So select the appropriate ISCSI (in my case in the lab) datastore and caching method (Write Through or Write Back) and click OK.  As I want maximum performance I’m going to choose Write Back.


Except when I try that, it tells me all my hosts need to be ready.  So I’ll finish my FVP Extension installations and then retry.  Okay, and there we go Smile


Now we can not only select Write Back, but also select the Write Redundancy.  In order for Write Back to be safe, we need to select a mirror/parity for that cache on another host in case of the host with the primary cache failing.  For my lab, HOST+1 is more than enough.


Understandably, it will take a little bit of time for VM’s to start caching, and then for that cache to populate on the additional nodes.  Here you can see some VM’s are CONFIGURED for Write Back, but have a current status of Write Through. 


If we go click on MONITOR and PERFORMANCE we can start to see some stats on what’s happening.  Note that my lab isn’t very busy, so we shouldn’t expect to see much.


We can see the IOPS as well. 

So lets go log into a VM on the datastore and run a benchmark.  I’ll use Atto Bench32 which is what I use for quick and dirty throughput tests.  Note that this is not a good IOPS test, but it does give a decently quick indication as to performance and health.


Here you can see some pretty amazing numbers.   At 4.0KB, we’re seeing 2.5x write and 2x read numbers.  By the 16.0KB block size, it’s not even fair any more.  That’s not bad for a couple of $70 SSD’s.


But let’s look at what the FVP console gives us.  First we get a wealth of metrics that the vSphere performance monitor alone doesn’t give us.  You can clearly see that the VM was able to observe almost 9000 IOPS – which is nothing to bitch about. 


So based on this, I’m pretty happy.  I do have to do more testing, get some tweaks in, and better understand the settings.  But clearly I’m going to be able to push the lab a little harder. 


Observations and Conclusion:


For my needs, in my lab, speed is critical.  While I’m by no means business centric, “time is money” and the faster the equipment is, the more things I can do, which means the more I can test and the more I can learn.  I already know how to watch progress bars – so anything I can do to reduce that, will maximize my time.

Secondly, this is pretty amazing for the cost of 4x $70 120GB SSD’s.  Would you use this class of consumer grade MLC in Production with FVP?  Probably (hopefully) not.  But you could make an argument to do so, and just treat them like printer toner cartridges and replace them periodically – as long as that period didn’t fail at the worst time or require a large amount of time swapping SSD’s.

Clearly, I’ve sold the C6100 duplicate UUID/Service Tag problem Smile 

I’ll be doing additional testing in a bit.  But after hearing I was the first to download the GA code, I wanted to be the first to get something up about it.  Hopefully this will help someone else get started up quickly and easily. 

It’s late – time for bed.  But this post was a long time coming – damned C6100 UUIDs…

Categories: C6100, ESXi, PernixData, SSD, vSphere

HOWTO: Dell C6100 FRU / UUID Update–FINALLY!

March 13, 2014 2 comments

So this post has been a LONG time coming, and I’m pretty sure I’m good to go now.

As you know, the Dell C6100 is a great 4 node in 2U chassis, which works really well for a compact home lab (if you can stand the noise).  vSphere likes it, Hyper-V likes it, what’s to complain about?

Then I tried the beta of PernixData FVP.  It worked as advertised, was a simple installation, did what it was supposed to – kind of.  I noticed that it seemed like only the very last node I rebooted was the one with FVP running on it.  I did some tests, did some more installations, and watched as the next host I rebooted became the only one with the software running. 

So, given it was beta, I reached out to support – and support from PernixData was great.  Given all the troubleshooting I’d done, I gave them all the information I could find: screenshots, logs, processes, steps and sequences.  I’ll be damned if they didn’t come back pretty quickly with a suggestion – I must have duplicate UUID’s on the hosts.  Bullocks I say, ESXi has been happy, no complaints, no worries, whatever do you mean.

Support says “browse to: /mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=hardware%2esystemInfo">https://<host>/mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=hardware%2esystemInfo, and confirm the UUID string is different on each host”.  No problem:





Well I’ll be damned –

uuid string "4c4c4544-0038-5410-8030-b4c04f4d4c31"
On all 4 nodes.  Okay so that IS my problem. 

VMware even has a KB on it –  Not that this is a “Whitebox”, but it certainly is an OEM custom, by definition.  So we’ll go with that. 

See, on a C6100 you have a typical Dell Service Tag – eg: ABC123A for the chassis.  But each ‘sled’ has a .# after it.  So you’ll have ABC123A.1, ABC123A.2, ABC123A.3, and ABC123A.4.  Turns out this makes ESXi assign the same UUID.  Some Googling tells me that this is also apparently an issue for SCVMM and SCSM.  As DCS never really intended these systems to end up in “Enterprise” or “Home Lab” hands, but very large cloud providers, there’s no reason to care.  And fairly enough, it didn’t have any impact on my normal vSphere lab. 

Now.  How the heck do you update it?  The BIOS doesn’t give you an option.  Some posts on the internet suggest you could upload a new BIOS and specify it then, but that didn’t work out.  Dell was no help – and I don’t fault them one bit.  The system is used, off warranty, and used by someone it wasn’t intended to be supported by.  That’s fully on me, I have no complaints.  But I still wanted it fixed. Smile

I spend a lot of time at and this is a good place for a wealth of C6100 information.  A thread caught my attention where it noted these issues.  One particular post by TehSuk caught my attention –  Apparently you can just run the Windows version of IPMIUTIL.exe with the following options:

ipmiutil.exe fru -s %newassettag%

Reboot, and you’re good to go.  No such luck.  See, the user in question notes that he’s a Windows shop.  No such luck with ESXi.  So I tried making a DTK bootable ISO from Dell using some information they had, but that wasn’t working.  Various issues from the methods being written a while back and not supported on Windows 8 (which took me a bit to figure out that was my issue) to the tools having issues with creating a 32bit ISO on a 64bit system due to environment variables, DLL’s not found, etc.  Nothing the end of the world, but I didn’t like that path. 

Then I remembered that you can use IPMIUTIL.exe across a network.  I had no luck when I tried months ago, so why would it work now?   Other than I’ve now spent more time playing with the utility. 



ipmiutil.exe fru –N <hostname/IP> –U <user> –P <password>

Was able to get me a listing which included “Product Serial Num”.  So could I use the same “fru –s %SERNUM%” suggested by TehSuk? 

ipmiutil.exe fru s AAAAAA3 –N <hostname/IP> –U <user> –P <password>


Sure enough, it will change “Product Serial Number” to AAAAAA3.  So let’s reboot and find out what it says.

After updating the first 3 nodes, and checking the MOB link, looks like we have success:









No need to change it – leave it with the original Service Tag, as it no longer conflicts. 


So in the end, all you’re going to need is:

And run the above IPMIUTIL.exe FRU commands, and you should be good to go.  I haven’t checked if PernixData FVP now works better for me yet as it’s late – but here’s hoping it does.  If nothing else, the UUID’s are now different, as they should be!

BTW, please don’t read any of this as though I was disappointed with PernixData FVP – heck, if anything they helped me find this issue, pointed me in the right direction, and I wanted their software to work because my testing showed it made an AMAZING difference.   I’m looking forward to retrying the software across all 4 nodes.

HOWTO: Monitoring Dell C6100 IPMI with Nagios.

July 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Recently, I’ve been working with Nagios for network monitoring.  I have to admit, I came in rather biased, and was frustrated with it.  My frustrations will best be covered in another post.  In my home lab, however, I decided that I was going to make Nagios sing.  This is the first HOWTO I’m doing, although really the first one should have been installing the VM and getting things running.  I’ll do that one soon.

While this HOWTO is going to seem very long, once you get used to how to configure the basics, this all has a very nice rhythm to it.  Is it better or worse than other monitoring apps?  Maybe.  But it is what it is – and I don’t think it’s that bad!

GOAL:   Monitor IPMI (eg: SuperMicro IPMI, Dell C6100 Series IPMI, Dell IDRAC, IBM RMU, etc) via Nagios.

1) Find your Nagios plugin of choice.  I did this by searching the Nagios Plugin Directory for Popularity.  This brought me to WFISCHER’s IPMI Sensor Monitoring Plugin  (


Click on the DOWNLOAD URL, and save the file somewhere – like your DOWNLOADS folder:


Next, unpack the file – it’s a TAR.GZ, with a TAR inside.  So use 7Zip or something.


Open the TAR:


Extract this somewhere, such as D:\TEMP2:


2) Open NagiosXI and login.


Click on CONFIGURE on the top and then CORE CONFIG MANAGER on the left.




Click BROWSE, locate the file “check_ipmi_sensor” in the folder above.




The plugin is now showing as installed.

In the table in the bottom half of the window, confirm the file is present:


Again click CONFIGURE, and CORE CONFIG MANAGER.  Then click APPLY SETTINGS so the uploaded file is now part of the configuration.




There we go, Nagios Core now knows about the config file.

3) Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the README file that came with the package:


Aha!  Requirements!

The Nagios VM we downloaded is CentOS 6 based.  So use PuTTY and SSH to the host – in my case, and login as “root”, default password “nagiosxi” (you really should change this)

Let’s get FreeIPMI installed.  Run “yum install freeipmi”:


In my case, I already have it installed.  If it were not installed, it would say that it found the package and ask “Do you wish to install: Y/N” and you would answer yes.

Next, let’s get Perl IPC::Run installed.  Run “yum install perl-IPC-Run”:


Same applies here.

NOTE: You may wish to do a general “yum update” and let it update all currently installed packages.  That’s up to you, YMMV and if you break it, you bought it.

So now we have our pre-requisites installed.

4) Let’s test the plugin from the command line.  Run “cd /usr/local/nagios/libexec”:


Okay, so the plugin IS in the plugins folder!  Good.

Now run “./check_ipmi_sensor”:


Guess we’ll need to feed it some parameters.  On my C6100, IPMI user is “root” and default password of “root”.  (yeah, you should change that too).  The priv level is USER or ROOT or something else, but USER is sufficient for read.  You may want to create an IPMIuser account vs ROOT, choice is yours.    My 4 C6100 nodes IPMI IP addresses are

So run “./check_ipmi_sensor -H -U root -P root –L user”


Look at that.  It’s practically magic.

Now, we know that the pre-requisites are working and that the check command works from the Linux command line.  So if it doesn’t work from here – it’s a Nagios problem!

5) Let’s start by creating a HOSTGROUP.  HOSTGROUPS are used to group hosts together (like that?) so that you can manage them by group vs individually.  The nice thing about this is say you decide to add a sensor – do you want to add it to 50 devices or 1 host group?  I thought so.



Here you can see the default host groups.  We’re going to click ADD NEW.


We’re just going to give it a HOSTGROUP NAME and a DESCRIPTION.  Note that on the left, we could MANAGE HOSTS and MANAGE HOSTGROUPS – but because we’re starting here, we have none of either.  But Nagios is chicken-egg.  We could add 40 hosts, then add a hostgroup, then when creating the hostgroup, add the 40 hosts to the hostgroup.  Make sure that ACTIVE box is checked.  Click SAVE.


And as it says, click APPLY CONFIGURATION to make the changes take effect.


Alright, now let’s go get some hosts!

6) Let’s configure us some Hosts and Services.



Here you can see I’ve already configured two of the hosts.  I’m going to configure the 3rd to show how this looks.

Click ADD NEW.


Enter a HOSTNAME (logical, not actual), ADDRESS (I’m using IP Address as I realized I haven’t set up the IP’s with DNS names yet, my bad), and DISPLAY NAME (probably best to use the same as HOSTNAME – whatever standard makes you happy).

Ensure that ACTIVE on the right is checked.    Now, if you’re familiar with Nagios at all (mostly just a little), you’ll think “But….. what about the CHECK COMMAND?  We need a check command!”.  No, we don’t.  Remember, we’re going to add all the services we want to monitor to the HOST GROUP!

Click on the CHECK SETTINGS tab:


Ensure that CHECK INTERVAL is set to something such as 5 minutes, RETRY INTERVAL (such as when it fails the first check) something like 1 minute, and MAX CHECK ATTEMPS = 3-5 – whatever keeps you happy.  If this is empty, then later on you’ll get an error.

Click SAVE.


You’ll see that the DATABASE ENTRY was successfully updated.  But the SYNC STATUS is SYNC MISSED.  We need to APPLY CONFIGURATION – but let’s not do that just yet.    Click on the clip_image060 icon to configure the service again.


This time, let’s click on MANAGE HOSTGROUPS.


On the left, under HOSTGROUPS, find the previously created HOSTGROUP “server-hardware” and click ADD SELECTED.  Then click CLOSE.  Then click SAVE.

We’ve now added the HOST to the HOSTGROUP.  We’re not going to configure anything individually on the HOST, we’re going to do it all by HOSTGROUPS.


Here you can see the SYNC MISSED for all 3 hosts, as I’ve added them all to the HOSTGROUP behind the scenes.


7) Next, in Nagios, click on HOME -> QUICK FIND and enter a substring of “NW-ESX”:


You’ll see a suggestion list pop up, but just click GO:


So what you see here on the first two is that I set them up previously WITH a check command on the host for PING.  Ignore this.  But what you see is that the two new ones I’ve added show PENDING.  And they’ll never get beyond PENDING, as there is no check.




Here I HAVE already configured the command, but let’s click ADD NEW to simulate what it would look like.




So here we want to:

Enter the COMMAND NAME.  This is the same command you ran at the command line – “check_ipmi_sensor”.  Note that sometimes this might have an extention, such as “” or “”, etc.  Ours does NOT.

On the commandline enter “$USER1$/check_ipmi_sensor” – this is always going to be the case.  $USER1$ is the plug in folder.  Same rules apply about watching for an extention to the file.

The other parameters should look familiar based on the command line.   –U –P –L relate to USER/PASS/LEVEL.  Click SAVE.




No services are defined.  So let’s click ADD NEW.


Enter the CONFIGNAME and DESCRIPTION.  I don’t know that either of these really matters, but I’ve chosen to name them the same as the command.  Enter a DISPLAY NAME, this is what you’ll see in the HOSTS/SERVICES list.

Change the CHECK COMMAND to “check_ipmi_sensor” from the list and check ACTIVE.  You’ll note the COMMAND VIEW shows the same details we entered in the previous COMMAND configuration.  I made a mistake and used ARG2/ARG3/ARG4 thinking HOSTNAME was ARG1, but it doesn’t matter.  As long as the variables you put into the ARG’s match their place in the command line.



Enter an IP address of a sample host, and click OK


Looks like what we got a the command line.  Nice.  Click CLOSE.




Click the “server-hardware” hostgroup, click ADD SELECTED and click CLOSE.

Click on the CHECK SETTINGS tab:


Same as for hosts, ensure CHECK INTERVAL, RETRY INTERVAL and MAX CHECK ATTEMPTS are filled in.  Click SAVE.


Can you guess what we do now?  Click APPLY CONFIGURATION.

10) If you go back to the Nagios window (I keep a NAGIOS and a NAGIOS ADMIN tab open), and click HOME -> QUICK FIND, enter “NW-ESX” and click GO:


You see all 4 of our hosts suddenly have a service!  And they’re all pending.   Given a little bit of time, they’ll start to check:


Click on the NW-ESXI01-IDRAC CHECK_IPMI_SENSOR service that shows IPMI STATUS: OK


Well that’s boring.  I was hoping for more detail.  Maybe click PERFORMANCE GRAPHS:


(I had to change the zoom level to get more detail on the screen).

Oh would you look at that.  So our one sensor is multi-channeled.  We get all our sensors in one polling.  It also creates a chart for each of them.  That’s pretty handy, so we can now trend our fan/temp/etc.

So what we have done so far is:

· Upload a new plugin.

· Install plugin dependencies

· Test the plugin at the command line to verify it works outside of Nagios

· Create a hostgroup

· Create hosts and add them to a hostgroup

· Create a command from the plugin

· Create a service tied to the command

· Add the service to a hostgroup – which automatically adds them to all hosts in the hostgroup.

· Verified that the hosts individual sensors show all the sensors not just one, and are logging all the historical detail.

To further demonstrate how hostgroups and services work, let’s add another service – just a basic PING service.





Change the CHECK COMMAND to “check_xi_host_ping”, which is pre-defined.  Check ACTIVE.   Note that the command wants ARG1-ARG4.  These are just timeouts for “-w” (warning level) and “-c” (critical) level.  Let’s say that 3,5 and 10,20 (ms response) indicates those levels.  Enter the CONFIG NAME, DESCRIPTION (which I again make match the CHECK COMMAND) and then a DISPLAY NAME.



Click OK:


Looks good here.  Click CLOSE.

DON’T CLICK SAVE YET!   If you do, and you haven’t modified the CHECK SETTINGS tab, the APPLY CONFIGURATION will bitch J  Click CHECK SETTINGS tab:


Again, make sure that CHECK INTERVAL=5, RETRY INTERVAL=1 and MAX CHECK ATTEMPTS=3.  Note that INITIAL STATE can be set to W(arning), C(ritical), O(perational) or U(nknown).  Might want to set that to O.

Click back on COMMON SETTINGS.




Click on the “*” and click ADD SELECTED.  It’s reasonable to assume we want a PING sensor on EVERY HostGroup, yes?  If you click on the 3 that were listed here only and added them, and then later added a 4th net-new hostgroup, it would not have this PING sensor.  For now, let’s just add it to our SERVER-HARDWARE hostgroup.  Click CLOSE.  NOW click SAVE J



12) By now you’ll be familiar with: If you go back to the Nagios window (I keep a NAGIOS and a NAGIOS ADMIN tab open), and click HOME -> QUICK FIND, enter “NW-ESX” and click GO:


Look at that.  All the hosts in the hostgroup are now checking Ping as well J


And moments later show all okay.

Here you can see how the SERVICE DESCRIPTION “check_xi_host_ping” works.  IF we go back and change that just to “Ping”:


And then click SAVE, and APPLY, then come back to the HOSTS view:



I’m going to go through all the same steps, without displaying them, and add a HTTPS sensor, as the IPMI cards are web manageable.  We want to know if the WebUI on them should happen to die.


And look at that.

So as you can see, HOSTGROUPS and SERVICE/SERVICEGROUPS are key to making NAGIOS really sing.  I have NOT touched on ALERTS, CONTACTS, ALERT PERIODS, etc.  For now, let’s worry about if we can get Nagios *monitoring* what we want.

Categories: C6100, Dell, nagios

Dell C6100 BIOS/BMC Configuration

July 3, 2013 14 comments

As I’ve recently purchased a Dell C6100 series 4 node Cloud Server for use in my lab. For those of you who might also be thinking of picking one up, or just for my own reference, I want to document the procedure for configuring the IPMI. These Dell units are not “PowerEdge” servers, so the BMC/IPMI is standard, and not a more typical iDRAC.

1) From the BIOS upon boot, configure the IPMI for an IP Address by pressing F2



2) Select ADVANCED




Ensure that Intel VT-D, VT, and HT are enabled for your vSphere hosts. Press ESC.



If you like to install TO or FROM USB, ensure that the Controller Mode is HISPEED. Press ESC.



For the NIC FUNCTION SUPPORT, when you press ENTER you get a list of options – PXE, ISCSI and DISABLED. Note that this is not intuitive – you’d think if you don’t want PXE or ISCSI, you’d want DISABLED. However, this disables the NICs entirely. So read this as “What Mode do you want the NIC to operate in?”. I have chosen PXE.



You can choose to enable or disable the PXE or ISCSI boot process, to speed up your boots. Press ESC.

3) Select BOOT.




The important option here is FORCE USB FIRST. By doing so, you can not only force USB thumb drives to boot first, but they will be detected as HARD DISK vs REMOVABLE. This may be needed for some OS’s to install to USB thumb drives. Press ESC.



Here you can also set the USB/Removable to be the first USB device. Press ESC.



From this screen you can select the presentation order of the HDD’s. While I have an SSD present, I don’t want to install the OS to it, as I want to use it for caching and other purposes. So I have ensured that it is not going to be detected as the first hard drive. Press ESC.

4) Select SERVER:


The important options here for virtualiation will likely be:






Set the BMC NIC as DEDICATED if you wish to use the 3rd port and not share any of the 2 on board NICS.



This screen should be fairly self-explanatory. If your BMC is to be STATIC, then entire the IP ADDRESS, SUBNET MASK and DEFAULT GATEWAY IP. Press ESC.

5) Select EXIT



6) Load a web browser and launch an HTTPS session to the iP in question.


The default username and password is “root”

7) Click on CONFIGURATION on the left hand menu, and then NETWORK on the top menu.


Configure the appropriate settings. Note that the options for using DHCP to configure DNS and DNS domain name, only work if the IP address is also configured with DHCP. You cannot use a static address and DHCP for the remainder.

Click SAVE

8) Click on CONFIGURATION on the left hand menu, and then SMTP on the top menu.


Enter the IP address of the mail server. You’re going to be tempted to use a DNS name, so you can use load balancers, round robin, etc.


That’s not going to work, but we could have guessed that.


After entering the IP and clicking SAVE, press OK.

9) Click on CONFIGURATION on the left hand menu, and then ALERTS on the top menu.


Select the first alert and click MODIFY.





EMAIL ADDRESS = <something appropriate>

SUBJECT = <something appropriate>

MESSAGE = <something appropriate>

Click SAVE

10) Click on CONFIGURATION on the left hand menu, and then USERS on the top menu.


Click MODIFY USER after selecting the “root” user.


Here you can set the USER NAME and PASSWORD. Also select the appropriate NETWORK PRIVELEDGES. For example, you may want USER if the user should have read only access to logs and alerts. Click MODIFY to save the settings.

11) If you need to do a BIOS update, click on MAINTENANCE on the left hand menu, and then click ENTER UPDATE MODE.


12) If you need to do a POWER CONTROL, click on REMOTE CONTROL on the left hand menu, and then SERVER POWER CONTROL on the top menu. clip_image026

13) If you need to do a CONSOLE REDIRECTION, click on REMOTE CONTROL on the left hand menu, and then CONSOLE REDIRECTION on the top menu.


From here you can launch a java console which will allow remote control.

14) When you launch the JAVA CONSOLE, you get a JViewer screen pop up which looks like:


This is of course how I captured steps 1 through 5 above, after the fact.

The important details are the KEYBOARD menu:


And the DEVICE menu:


This is where you can remotely map to an ISO file on your hard drive.


Simply select the file and click OPEN.


Now when you click the DEVICE menu, you will see a check box next to REDIRECT ISO.

15) Reboot the server – either via Power Control, or using the Remote Console (eg: exit the BIOS screen, I’m currently showing).


Ensure you keep an eye on the screen. You want to press F11 to launch the BBS – Boot Selection menu.




From here, it’s just like you’re at the console.

Categories: C6100, Dell, Hardware, Home Lab