Dell CS24 – Using the BMC (Baseboard Management Controller) for Remote Management
If you have one of these old Dell CS24’s, you’ll know they pack alot of processing power into a small frame. They take only 1 unit and have dual quad core processors and a good amount of ram. Right now on Ebay, you can pick one of these up with nice hardware for under 200 bucks. A great deal in my opinion if you have something that needs alot of processing, but you don’t want to fill your rack up. I’ve found they’re also pretty good on power, although I haven’t maxed out the usage of mine yet.
If you’re looking for DRAC to manage these servers over the network however, you’re out of luck. The Dell CS24 does not come with DRAC or iDRAC, but rather it uses the BMC or baseboard management controller. You can set this up to view basic information remotely via an IP address. At the end of the article, I’ve listed what you can access. Below are the steps to setting up your BMC for remote access.
- Restart your Dell CS24
- Launch the BIOS, most likely by pressing F2
- Go to the server tab of BIOS
- The status of BMC should be “Working”. highlight the “Set AST2000 LAN Configuration” option and press Enter
- Set the IP address, Subnet Mask, and Gateway Address
If you can’t access BMC via the browser
If you have trouble launching the BMC browser view via your internet browser on another machine on the network via the IP address, you may have a glitch in the firmware. This is a fairly old machine, so chances are you can’t get an update for it. Instead there is one option you can install on your machine to view multiple BMC views from your servers. Super Micro puts out a nice piece of free software that lets you view multiple machines all from one interface. It’s called IPMIView. It’s a standalone java program that you do not have to install. It can be found here. Make sure you download the software that says View in it. Once you download and unzip the folder. Launch the file IPMIView20.jar if you are in Windows.
Adding a new machine to monitor is pretty easy. From the file menu click “Discover IPMI Devices”. Then plug in an IP address range. You can search through the whole subset, but it takes a minute or two. Once it finds your machine, select it and give it a name. Alternatively, you can just manually enter the IP address and name your system if you know its visible.
When it asks you to log into the system, unless you have changed it, your root password for the Dell CS24 is “root” same as the username. So to be clear, the user/pass combination is root/root
What you can view remotely using BMC for your Dell CS24
The big thing that I like the BMC for is to view the sensor data. Sensor data as displayed to the right shows:
- Processor Temperature
- Ambient Temperature
- Fan Speeds
I’ve had some issues with a temperature error: “ambient temperature is upper non-recoverable – going high”, so I really liked being able to see the temperature as it performs tasks.
There is one little problem that you’ll have if you have a glitchy system to begin with. Even with the IPMIView you can’t read the event logs, or at least I couldn’t. The graceful power cycle also failed.