Dell OpenManage Server Administrator installation on ESXi 5

All right folks, I’ve decided to save you hours of time once again and provide a comprehensive guide to installing the Dell OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) client on ESXi 5. I pieced this together from a variety of user guides and forum posts and have tested it on an ESXi 5 box I use for labs. Instructions are as follows:

  1. Download the latest version of “Dell OpenManage Offline Bundle and VIB for ESXi”. The easiest way to find it is to go to the Dell Support homepage. Select the model of the Dell server you are working with, filter the operating system to your version of ESXi, expand the System Management section, and do a search for “offline bundle”. Once you download the file, rename it to something simple like This will make your life easier during the later steps where you will be typing out the file path and filename.
  2. Put your ESXi host into maintenance mode and log into vCenter or vSphere and upload the file to the datastore your ESXi host uses.
  3. Enable SSH on your ESXi box and establish an SSH session with your favorite terminal emulator. I’m partial to Putty. Once you’ve established your SSH session, move the file from your datastore to /var/log/vmware. Your datastore will be stored under /vmfs/volumes/<datastore_id>. You can obtain the datastore_id variable from the within vCenter/vSphere by clicking the configuration tab, selecting the storage from the hardware menu, and clicking on your datastore in the Datastore pane.
  4. Now you’ll want to install the vib to the ESXi host. You can do this by typing the following command.
    esxcli software vib install -d /var/log/vmware/<OMSA_filename>
    You’ll then be prompted to enter the root username and password. If the installation is successful you’ll receive something similar to the following:

    Installation Result
    Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
    Reboot Required: true
    VIBs Installed: Dell_bootbank_OpenManage_<OMSA_version>
    VIBs Removed:
    VIBs Skipped:

  5. At this point, most guides will tell you to reboot the server, however, we are not done yet. ESXi 5 has a built-in firewall that allows only pre-configured built in services to be allowed through. OMSA runs off port 1311, so we’re going to need to create a new persistent firewall rule.
    You can download the OpenManage rule I’ve created from here. Optionally, you can create your own by following the directions from VMWare.
    Once the rule is complete, upload it to the ESXi host’s datastore.
  6. Now we need to edit /etc/rc.local to make sure that the firewall rule is copied to /etc/vmware/firewall each time the computer is rebooted. We can do this by establishing a SSH connection with our ESXi host, opening vi, and adding the following few lines as referenced by this VMWare article.
    cp <location of xml> /etc/vmware/firewall
    esxcli network firewall refresh
  7. Finally, reboot your ESXi box for all of the changes to take effect. To access the OMSA installation on the ESXi server, you’ll need to open OMSA Web Services on another box and log into the ESXi host.
    Remember that when you log into OMSA Web Services on another computer, you may be automatically logged into OMSA on that computer. Hit Log Out, then the Log In button, and down towards the bottom of the log in page, hit the Manage Remote Node link.

That’s it folks. Enjoy!

Dell OpenManage Essentials Installation Tips

Over the past few days I have been working on getting Dell OpenManage Essentials up and running on our new network. The installation was pretty straightforward and well documented by Dell, but I did run into a few issues that I had to dig through forum posts to find the answers to.

Before I begin, you’ll want to reference Dell’s OME homepage for the software. There are some great videos and whitepapers that walk you through the installation and usage basics.

Now on to the good stuff:

  1. I wasn’t able to get the configuration of SNMP working through Group Policy per the Dell tutorials. When I followed Dell’s instructions, the Traps tab of the SNMP Service tab had the community set to public and I could not change it. Since I was using a custom community name, this wouldn’t work for me. If there is a way to set that via the GPO, I’d love to hear it, because I ended up configuring it per server. My guess is it would need to be configured with a GPO policy and some registry entries set in the GPO preferences.

    Dell’s video on configuring Window’s SNMP clients is pretty solid, but here are the settings you should configure (keep in mind I have SNMP restricted to the server running OME).

    SNMP Settings for OME

  2. OME can also handle traps for ESXi servers using WS-Man. If you reference to the Dell website I listed above, you can download the addon for ESXi.

    I ran into an issue where the ESXi box I installed the software on was not reporting to the OME server. Thanks to a Dell forum poster, my problem was solved. Apparently ESXi 5+ requires a timeout greater than the default. I set my to 10 and all was good in the world. Below is a screenshot of the settings required for WS-Man to work with the ESXi addin.

    WS-Man configuration for OME

  3. Finally, there will be some traps from ESXi that come up as undefined. Don’t waste time trying to import ESXi MIBs (like I did), because OME won’t let you overwrite the predefined MIBs. According to Dell the new MIBs will be incorporated in an update set for Q3 or Q4 2012.

The lesson I took from this little project was that OME is still very new and there are some minor bugs to work out. Overall the software is put together really well and the documentation is the best I have ever come across.