What is the USC?

The Dell™ Unified Server Configurator is a pre-installed configuration utility that enables systems and storage management tasks from an embedded environment throughout the server’s lifecycle.

Residing on an embedded flash memory card on the system board of supported servers, the Unified Server Configurator is similar to a BIOS utility in that it can be started during the POST (Power On Self Test) sequence and functions independently of the operating system (OS).

Using the Unified Server Configurator, you can quickly identify, download, and apply system updates without needing to search the Dell support site (support.dell.com). You can also deploy an OS with drivers (the USC stores Operating System drivers contained within a driver pack), configure a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID), and run 32 -bit diagnostics to validate the system and attached hardware.

Certain platforms or servers may not support the full set of features provided by the Unified Server Configurator.

Starting the Unified Server Configurator

To start the Unified Server Configurator, press the <F10> key within 10 seconds of the Dell logo being displayed during the system boot process.

The first time you boot the system, the Unified Server Configurator starts with the User Settings wizard displayed so that you can configure your preferred language and network settings.

USC and Diagnostics

Dell has built into the Unified Server Configurator the ability to launch the system DMRK diagnostics.

Learning about how the USC can be used to launch and utilize the DRMK diagnostics can be an advantage for you when addressing customer issues. Especially those that require diagnostics to be performed to identify the problem, as the diagnostics will always be on the system board, and there is no need to download them from support.dell.com, as long as the USC on the system is viable and functioning.

When launching the DRMK diagnostics please keep in mind the following:

  • The BIOS provides “thunking” mechanism to allow DRMK DOS to run the tools.
  • When the Diagnostics are complete a reboot of the system is required, sometime after initial launch a reboot will not be required.

The process below illustrates how to launch these diagnostics from the USC.

Platform Update Using FTP Repository
1. To perfom the following procedure you need the following.1.     A server booted into the Unified Server Configurator, F10 on P.O.S.T.
2. Select the Diagnostics option from the left menu of the Unified Server Configurator.
3. On the next screen of the USC Diagnostics Launching Wizard, you will see a single option for Run Diagnostics, select this option.
4. You will now see a screen saying the system is “Loading DRMK V8.00,” indicating the system is loading the diagnostic files.
5. The DMRK diagnostics is now loaded, from here the diagnostics is identical in form and function when compared to the media loaded diags.

Platform Update using FTP Repository

With the Unified Server Configurator Dell has provided the ability to update the USC platform, OS driver pack and system diagnostics using an FTP repository. By default the repository would be ftp.dell.com, but customers can create there own FTP repository and point to it for updates. The image below provides a high level overview of how the Platform Update works using an FTP repository.

The process below explains how to initiate a platform update using an FTP repository, like ftp.dell.com.

Platform Update Using FTP Repository
1. To perform the following procedure you need the following.

  1. A server booted into the Unified Server Configurator, F10 on P.O.S.T.
  2. One of the NICs on the server must be connected, and have properly configured access to the internet to gain access to ftp.dell.com.
2. Select the Platform Update option from the left menu of the Unified Server Configurator.
3. On the next screen of the Platform Update Wizard, you will see a single option for Launch Platform Update, select this option.
4. This next screen select an FTP server or USB Key containing the Platform Update Repository files. Select FTP Server, and configure the FTP server address, proxy server information proxy port, proxy type, proxy user name and proxy user password information. Once all the information is populated click the next button to continue.
5. The next screen in the platform updates wizard allows the user to select the available updates on the repository. Notice that this page shows the current version diagnostics, OS Drivers Pack and the USC platform version as well as the versions to be updated to during the update process.
6. Once the user sees this screen, the system is now performing the Platform Updates.
7. Once the system completes each task for the update, the system will now reboot. You will notice on P.O.S.T. that the system will state it is entering system services, this is the normal and expected behavior.

8. Once the system gets to the welcome screen of the USC after the first reboot, it will reboot again. However, upon the second reboot it will default to the normal boot process, as configured in the system BIOS.

!!It is very important that you update the USC itself!!

Download this as a document: [wpdm_file id=”23″]

Dell OMSA LiveCD 6.0.1

Dell OMSA LiveCD 6.0.1 provides the following features

• Safe environment to perform diagnostics or data recovery
• Access to disk diagnostics (Dell Online Diagnostics)
• Access to tape diagnostics (xTalk and IBM ITDT)
• DSET tool built into operating system
• Built in FTP and SMB shares to easily transfer files
• Built in telnet, SSH and VNC servers for remote troubleshooting
• Webex support for Dell technical support access
• OMSA 6.0.1 built in for local and remote access

Read the PDF: http://linux.ins.dell.com/files/openmanage-contributions/omsa-601-live/Guide.pdf

Download the iso: http://linux.dell.com/files/openmanage-contributions/?C=M;O=A

iDRAC 6 – Poorten

iDRAC6 Server Listening Ports

Port Number Function
22* SSH
23* Telnet
80* HTTP
443* HTTPS
5900* Console Redirection keyboard/mouse, Virtual Media Service, Virtual Media Secure Service, Console Redirection video
* Configurable port


iDRAC6 Client Ports 

Port Number Function
53 DNS
68 DHCP-assigned IP address
162 SNMP trap
3269 LDAPS for global catalog (GC)

Connect Powervault 220s to a server

Cabling Your System for Joined-Bus, Split-Bus, or Cluster Mode

How you cable your storage system to your host system(s) depends on the bus configuration you choose: joined-bus, split-bus, or cluster.

  • A joined-bus configuration is one in which two SCSI buses are joined to form one contiguous bus.
  • A split-bus configuration enables you to connect your storage system to either one server with a multichannel RAID controller, or to two servers. However, if one server fails, information controlled by that server is inaccessible.
  • A cluster configuration offers multiple paths to the system, which provides high data availability.

Joined-Bus Configuration


Split-Bus Configuration (One Server)

Cluster Configuration or Split-Bus Configuration (Two Servers)

SCSI ID Assignments

Configuration Cables
15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Joined-bus 1                 H S            
Split-bus—primary EMM 1                 H S            
Split-bus—secondary EMM 1                 H S            
Cluster 2 S               H H            
NOTE: The unshaded SCSI IDs are available for hard-drive use as indicated for each configuration. The reserved SCSI IDs are used as follows:
H = used by the host system initiator.
S = used by the storage system SES.

SCSI ID Numbers and Associated Hard Drives 


Split-Bus Module Modes

Mode LED Icon Position of Bus Configuration Switch Function
Joined-bus mode  


Top LVD termination on the split-bus module is disabled, electrically joining the two SCSI buses to form one contiguous bus. In this mode, neither the split-bus nor the cluster LED indicators on the front of the system are illuminated.
Split-bus mode  


Center LVD termination on the split-bus module is enabled and the two buses are electrically isolated, resulting in two seven-drive SCSI buses. The split-bus LED indicator on the front of the system is illuminated while the system is in split-bus mode.
Cluster mode  


Bottom LVD termination is disabled and the buses are electrically joined. The cluster LED on the front of the system is illuminated while the system is in cluster mode.
More information:

Update Firmware DELL PowerEdge under ESX 3.5u2

For a customer we needed to upgrade ESX servers from 32 GB to 46 GB. This type of servers (Dell PowerEdge 2850) had a problem reading 8GB memory modules. To support 8 GB memory modules a minimum BIOS level is 2.3.1 and BMC level 2.10 is required.

Therefore we needed to upgrade the firmware of the BIOS and BMC.

I downloaded the newest Dell images from the Dell site (actually the complete DVD image of all updates) and attached the DVD in the DVD player. After that i mounted the DVD with a ssh session:

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

I browsed to the repository directory of the DVD (offcourse you can copy the files through the netwerk with tools like winscp. Make sure you have the proper rights to execute the files “chmod +x filename.BIN”) and updated the BMC first (no reboot required) with the command:


This will enter the install dialog wich you need to follow. After the BMC update was finished i continued with the BIOS update:


After this the Server needs to reboot on which point (during reboot) i shut down the server and placed the 8 GB memory modules in slot 1, 2, 5 and 6 for optimal performance (this are the first 4 slots).

Install windows 2003 Server on a Dell Latitude E6500

When you try to install windows 2003 server onto a dell laptop, it will crash during the dos setup.

This is because the Hard disk mode has the wrong type. Change the hard disk mode in the bios of the system to ATA and try again.

When booting press F12
Select BIOS
Change Hard disk mode to ATA
Reboot, and install Windows 2003 Server

Systems Manageability of VMware ESXi on Dell PowerEdge Servers

 After people have learned about ESXi, and understand all the benefits (less patching, easy deployment and manageability, etc), one of the first concerns that they raise is around hardware management. Many IT shops use management tools from OEMs such as Dell OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) to do things like hardware health monitoring, asset inventory, and viewing alert and command logs. Traditionally, this functionality has been provided for ESX by an agent running in the Service Console. Without the Service Console, they ask, how could this be done for ESXi?

Ever since ESXi was released almost one and half years ago (as version ESXi 3.5), VMware and Dell have been working closely together to provide hardware management capabilities via an agentless model, using industry standard interfaces for management such as WS-MAN. With the release of ESXi 4, the management capabilities of Dell servers running ESXi is almost at parity with ESX 4. In particular, the following features are available to OMSA from an ESXi hostView server and storage asset data

  • View server and storage health information
  • View alert and command logs
  • Configure hardware (storage, BIOS, etc.)

All this is available via the familiar web-based interfaced used for servers running ESX.  Here is a screenshot of the Power Tracking Statistics Page:


Power stats

In addition, we have enhanced VMware vCenter (formerly VirtualCenter) Server to provide fairly extensive hardware-level monitoring as well. With vSphere 4, this capability is fully integrated with the rest of vCenter, e.g. you can set alarms on hardware faults. (Note that monitoring functionality is available even for the stand-alone, free version of ESXi 4; simply look in the vSphere Client).  Here is a screenshot of a Dell System being monitor in vCenter:


To learn more about the management capabilities of ESXi 4 running on Dell PowerEdge servers, see this new joint white paper from VMware and Dell. There is also an online article in the June 2009 edition of Dell Power Solutions that talks about this.

Dell™ PowerEdge™ Expandable RAID Controller 4/Di User’s Guide



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Dell™ PowerEdge™ Expandable RAID Controller 4/Di User’s Guide

  General Troubleshooting Information

  BIOS Boot Error Messages

  Potential Problems


For information about qualified SCSI cables and connectors, visit Dell’s web site at or contact your Dell representative for information.

General Troubleshooting Information

Table 7-1 describes general problems that you might encounter when using the RAID controller, and suggested solutions.

Table 7-1. General Problems 

Problem Suggested Solution(s)
Some operating systems do not load in a computer with PERC 4/Di. Check the system basic input/output system (BIOS) configuration for PCI interrupt assignments. Make sure a unique interrupt is assigned for PERC 4/Di. Initialize the logical drive before installing the operating system.
One of the hard drives in the array fails often. Check the drive error counts.
Format the drive.
Rebuild the drive.
If the drive continues to fail, replace the drive with another drive with the same capacity.
Check the SCSI cables.
Pressed <Ctrl> <M> and tried to make a new configuration. The system hangs when scanning devices. Check the drives IDs on each channel to make sure each device has a different ID.Check the termination. The device at the end of the channel must be terminated.Replace the drive cable.
Multiple drives connected using the same power supply. There is a problem spinning the drives all at once. Set the drives to spin on command. This will allow two devices to spin two devices simultaneously.
Pressing <Ctrl> <M> does not display a menu. These utilities require a color monitor.
At system power-up the PERC 4/Di BIOS banner display is garbled or does not appear at all. The cache memory may be defective or missing. Replace the cache memory.
Cannot flash or update the EEPROM. Contact Dell support.
Firmware Initializing…appears and remains on the screen. Make sure that TERMPWR is being properly provided to each peripheral device populated channel.Make sure that each end of the SCSI channel chain is properly terminated using the recommended terminator type for the peripheral device.
Why does a failed logical array still get a drive assignment? To maintain the DOS Path statement integrity.

BIOS Boot Error Messages

Table 7-2 displays the BIOS boot error messages, and suggested solutions.

Table 7-2. BIOS Boot Error Messages 

Message Problem Suggested Solution
BIOS Disabled. No Logical Drives Handled by BIOS The BIOS is disabled. Sometimes the BIOS is disabled to prevent booting from the BIOS. Enable the BIOS by pressing <Ctrl><M> at the boot prompt to run the RAID BIOS Configuration utility or enter Dell Manager if running Novell® NetWare® or Red Hat Linux.
Configuration of NVRAM and drives mismatch. Run View/Add Configuration option of BIOS Configuration Utility.Press any key to run the Configuration Utility. The configuration stored in PERC 4/Di does not match the configuration stored in the drives. Press <Ctrl><M> to run the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility. Select Configure—> View/Add Configuration to examine both the configuration in non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM), and the configuration stored on the hard drives. Resolve the problem by selecting one of the configurations.
Unresolved configuration mismatch between disks and NVRAM on the adapter after creating a new configuration Some legacy configurations in the drives cannot be cleared. Clear the configuration.Low level format the related drives and re-create the configuration.
1 Logical Drive Failed A logical drive failed to sign on. Make sure all physical drives are properly connected and are powered on. Run the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility or enter Dell Manager if running Novell® NetWare® or Red Hat Linux to find out if any physical drives are not responding. Reconnect, replace, or rebuild any drive that is not responding.
X Logical Drives Degraded x number of logical drives signed on in a degraded state. Make sure all physical drives are properly connected and are powered on. Run the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility to find if any physical drives are not responding. Reconnect, replace, or rebuild a drive that is not responding.
1 Logical Drive Degraded A logical drive signed on in a degraded state. Make sure all physical drives are properly connected and are powered on. Run the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility to find out if any physical drives are not responding. Reconnect, replace, or rebuild any drive that is not responding.
Insufficient memory to run BIOS. Press any key to continue… Not enough memory to run BIOS. Make sure cache memory has been properly installed.
The following SCSI IDs are not responding:Channel x:a.b.c The physical drives with SCSI IDs a, b, and c are not responding on SCSI channel x. Make sure the physical drives are properly connected and are powered on.
Battery life is low There is a high number of battery cycles. Reset the battery counter cycle to zero in the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility.
Following SCSI disk not found and no empty slot available for mapping it The physical disk roaming feature did not find the physical disk with the displayed SCSI ID. No slot is available to map the physical drive. PERC 4/Di cannot resolve the physical drives into the current configuration. Reconfigure the array.
Following SCSI IDs have the same data y, z
Channel x: a, b, c
The physical drive roaming feature found the same data on 2 or more physical drives on channel x with SCSI IDs a, b, and c. PERC 4/Di cannot determine which drive has the duplicate information. Remove the drive or drives that should not be used.
Unresolved configuration mismatch between disks and NVRAM on the adapter The PERC 4/Di is unable to determine the proper configuration after reading both NVRAM and configuration on disk. Press <Ctrl><M> to run the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility, then. select Configure—> New Configuration to create a new configuration. Press <Ctrl><H> to run the WebBIOS Configuration Utility, then use the NVRAM/DISK Configuration screen to resolve the mismatch.Note that this deletes any configuration that existed.

Potential Problems

Table 7-3 contains information about other possible problems.

Table 7-3. Potential Problems 

Topic Information
Physical drive errors You can display the Media Error and Other Error options in the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility. Access the Objects—> Physical Drive menu, select a physical drive, then press <F2> to display the options. A Media Error is an error that occurred while actually transferring data. An Other Error is an error that occurs at the hardware level because of a device failure, poor cabling, bad termination, signal loss, etc.
Online volume extension Online volume extension allows the controller to determine the drive capacity. You can use the drive space of a hard drive that was just added to an existing drive array without rebooting the operating system.This option must be enabled to increase the size of a logical drive or add a physical drive to an existing logical drive. Run the RAID BIOS Configuration Utility to enable online volume extension (which is known as Virtual Sizing in the utility).
PERC 4/Di power requirements The maximum power requirements are 15 watts at 5 V and 3 amps.
Windows NT does not detect the PERC 4/Di. Refer to the Operating System Driver Installation Guide for the chapter about Windows NT driver installation.

Please read all restrictions and disclaimers.

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