Wednesday 22 September 2010

Dell iDRAC6 Enterprise Required For Remote Console/KVM

Dell has restructured their DRAC (Dell Remote Access Controller) model features.

On DRAC version 5 remote console KVM redirection was included out of the box.

With the advent of iDRAC6 we now see two versions of the product:

  1. iDRAC6 Express
  2. iDRAC6 Enterprise

Since out-of-band remote console KVM access is absolutely critical for those of us that manage a lot of servers at remote locations, we need to be absolutely sure that the server’s remote access product meets our needs.

We will be quoting some information from the following Dell document:

On page 49 we find a comparison between the iDRAC6 Express and the iDRAC6 Enterprise products:


Note bullet item number 2 under iDRAC6 Enterprise states:

  • Remote video, keyboard, and mouse control with Virtual Console.

So, we now know that all of our remote clients that order Dell servers must have the iDRAC6 Enterprise product installed on the box to give us full out-of-band BMC and console access.

Why Out-Of-Band Access?

We require an iDRAC, DRAC, RMM3, iLO with Advanced license, and other out-of-band management abilities on our remote servers for some of the following reasons:

  • We can fully recover a server by booting to OS DVD or USB flash and restoring from attached backup without client intervention.
  • We can manage the server from the console (sitting at the keyboard and mouse) when running updates so we don’t lose our connection via RWW or TS/RDS Gateway.
  • We can remotely power cycle a server that has an OS that is not responding.
  • We can remotely update server component’s firmware.

Essentially, with an out-of-band management device we have the same access to the box as we would if we were standing in the room with it.

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


Anonymous said...

For those businesses who are price sensitve and dont' want to pay for a $200-300 tool, what if any value does iDrac 6 Express bring to the table? What can you do with it remotely if you don't have KVM interactivity? That doesn't even sound helpful! ...or do you have some interactivity but just limited to the iDrac web interface?

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


$300 is one visit.

$300 saves on the need for subsequent visits to sit at the console ... which is what iDRAC Advanced, Intel RMM3, and HP iLO Advanced give you.

All of our clients never blinked an eye on the extra $300-$400 for remote out-of-band management.

Especially since that OoB management gives us the ability to fully restore a server without costing precious time getting down there or waiting for an on-site person to show up.