Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Blade Servers, Part II

Monday, May 12, 2003  

After opening the boxes and going through the documentation, only about 20 pages were necessary. The first thing to set up is the Embedded Remote Access (ERA) module. This module turns the blades on or off, provides access to the Network Service Module (NSM) and probably does some other things I didn't wait to figure out. The NSM command language is similar to Cisco's IOS so I had a four gigabit etherchannel set up in about 5 minutes. I plugged in the KVM switch and found out that the PrintScreen key toggled between servers. Then I installed Dell's Systems Management CD to a server so I could use their management tools on the blade server. Finally, I was ready to go.

Some vendors, such as RLX, claim that software is installed to a "virtual" server first before being deployed to a blade. Well, Dell did things a little cheaply -- a blade has to be used to create the images. I broke out the USB CD-ROM that came with the system, installed it on the first blade and booted up with Dell's OpenManage ServerAssistant. Wonder of wonders, it worked. I installed Windows 2000 Server with ServerAssistant, rebooted, and got started on creating a Citrix Metaframe server.

The most obnoxious part was figuring out how to capture an image from a blade. The way to do it is:
1. Install the Remote Install agent from Dell's Systems Management CD.
2. Reboot the blade, setting the boot sequence so that PXE boot occurs before the hard disk.
3. Wait for the OS to boot up.
Once it boots up and the management server contacts the blade server successfully, imaging can be performed. The PXE boot threw me the first dozen times.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 5/12/2003 07:23:00 PM

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