Provisioning and production of a server with DCI Manager

The company where I did my internship offers ready to use dedicated servers, with automatic installation of operating systems (Linux & Windows).

The company uses DCI Manager to provision the servers. DCI Manager offers a delivery system that enables automatic installation of an operating system on a physical server as well as automatic delivery of additional IPv4 addresses with a VLAN.

The first step is to prepare the physical machine, in order to industrialize the product, Dell M1000e chassis are used with M620 blades and an integrated Cisco switch.

This industrialization allows 4 chassis of 16 blades per rack, which gives a total of 64 servers per rack. (128 CPU per rack).

DELL M1000e chassis

Once the blade is in the chassis, we simply connect to the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) of the M1000e chassis (IDRAC for Dell).

Once connected to the management interface of the chassis, we will update the private idrac of the blade thanks to the firmware available on the Dell website and configure the idrac network.

Update for idrac
Private network configuration for idrac

Once the blade idrac is up to date, we enable IPMI and we will link it to the DCI Manager to retrieve the blade information.

IPMI informations pulled by idrac

Once the information has been retrieved, we will configure the blade VLAN on the m1000e switch to access the TFTP server to retrieve the OS.

SW1.M1000E1# show vlan
SW1.M1000E1# configure terminal
SW1.M1000E1(config)# interface [interface-id | range vlan vlan-range]

SW1.M1000E1(config-if-range)# switchport mode access
SW1.M1000E1(config-if-range)#switchport access vlan [vlan-id | none]

Once the vlan is ready, we will attempt to reinstall the blade with the Diag 6 bone in order to recover the blade components and verify that the blade has access to the private network.

Run diagnostics with Diag 6 in server management

Once the blade has rebooted and all the information is available on the dci manager, we assign it an IP address and launch a windows installation to update the blade’s bios.

Once the server has booted to windows and we have internet on it we will retrieve the .exe update from the official dell website and run it.

Once updated the blade will reboot, once rebooted we will again reboot the blade but enter the raid management menu to set up a RAID 1 (2 disks per blade that is 1 usable disk and the second as a copy of the first).

We are not going to synchronise the drives because they are new, so there can be no errors and it would be useless to write 0’s to new SSD’s except for prematurely worn ones.

Once this is done, the server is ready to be delivered to the customer.

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