Saturday 28 August 2010

Documenting a New Intel Modular Server

We have mentioned in a previous post or two that we were deploying a new Promise VTrak E310sD SAS RAID Storage System (blog category for Promise) to expand the available storage for a Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 cluster running on an Intel Modular Server (IMS).

We ran into a bit of a problem with that particular IMS in that the Modular Server Control (Web based GUI) that runs on the CMM decided to stop responding on us.

That led to a number of different troubleshooting steps along with component replacements before we managed to get to the root of the problem. We will leave that troubleshooting trek for another post as there were quite a few things we needed to do to get things working.

One of the most important steps when it comes to managing a client’s network is keeping an accurate set of audit notes on all aspects of the client’s network infrastructure from hardware through to software.

So, it is important to document things like service tags for client’s Tier 1 servers, the server’s management modules, and more.

Intel Part Number and Serials

For Intel product, the two most important pieces of information for _any_ Intel product purchased through distribution channels are the following:

  • PBA: Dxxxxx-xxx
  • Serial Number: ABCD1234567890

With those two numbers we are able to initiate an Advanced Warranty Replacement via the Intel Partner Portal after logging in with are Partner account ID and password.

In the case of the Intel Modular Server, there are a number of components that have the above two numbers, so, the simplest thing to do is to document them via the Modular Server Control GUI.

For example, when we are in the Chassis Back view we can click on the Chassis Management Module (CMM) and see:


Note that in this view, we are seeing the PBA and serial number for the actual Chassis Management Module. Click on the Midplane tab and we see:


The above two numbers are probably the most important numbers to record via Modular Server Control, as the physical PBA and serial number labels are here:


Yes, they are hidden behind that divider that resides in the middle of the IMS chassis.

The above picture was taken from the front of the IMS chassis with the compute modules removed. Note the large cooling fan duct work on the right hand side of the chassis that is used to pull fresh air through the compute modules.

Document Feature Activation Information

When it comes to running a cluster on the IMS, we always need to purchase at least the Shared LUN Key feature (P/N: MFSLUNKey).

With the key, we use the Feature Activation page in Modular Server Control to do just that:


When we order the feature’s part number through distribution we receive an envelope with a Paper Pack ID. That ID is used along with the Midplane serial number to generate the needed Feature Key by the Intel Modular Server License Key Activation Site. An Intel Partner ID and password is required to access the site.

IMS Components to Document

Documenting the following product numbers and serial numbers should be a part of any IMS deployment:

  • Chassis Rear View
    • Storage Controller Modules 1 & 2 (if present)
    • Ethernet Switch Modules 1 & 2 (if present)
    • Chassis Management Module
    • IMS Midplane
    • Fan Control Boards 1 & 2
    • Power Supplies 1 through 4
  • Chassis Front View
    • Compute Modules 1 through 6
    • Fan Control Module (bottom left)
Further Reading

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

No comments: