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SRE/Dc-operations/Platform-specific documentation/PowerEdge 1950 2950

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Dell PowerEdge 1950

  • 1U rackserver
  • 2 3.5" disks or 4 2.5" mini-SAS disks.

The following Wikimedia servers are 1950s: CHECK Netbox FOR WHICH SERVERS ARE IN USE AND THEIR MODEL NUMBERS

Dell PowerEdge 2950

  • 2U rackserver
  • 6 3.5" disks or 8 2.5" mini-SAS disks.

The following Wikimedia servers are 2950s:

Common Specifications

  • 2 CPU sockets for Intel Xeon 5000/5100 series
  • 2 Broadcom gigabit ethernet ports
  • Supports Dell DRAC5/i out-of-band-management card

Power consumption

A Dell 1950 with 2x Quad Core consumes about 2.4A at maximum utilisation, 1.5A idle.

Lights Out Management

The DRAC5/i card has a dedicated RJ45 socket on the motherboard which can be used independently from the main NICs.

Common actions

Connecting to serial console

Log in with SSH on the DRAC5/i card as root, and use the command

$ connect com2

During system boot, Dell servers show this help screen with key mappings:

        Press the spacebar to pause...


        Use the <ESC><0> key sequence for <F10>
        Use the <ESC><!> key sequence for <F11>
        Use the <ESC><@> key sequence for <F12>

        Use the <ESC><Ctrl><M> key sequence for <Ctrl><M>
        Use the <ESC><Ctrl><H> key sequence for <Ctrl><H>
        Use the <ESC><Ctrl><I> key sequence for <Ctrl><I>
        Use the <ESC><Ctrl><J> key sequence for <Ctrl><J>

        Use the <ESC><X><X> key sequence for <Alt><x>, where x is any letter
        key, and X is the upper case of that key

        Use the <ESC><R><ESC><r><ESC><R> key sequence for <Ctrl><Alt><Del>

Disconnect from the console with Control \

Common Failures

Sometimes this command fails with the error message

connect: com2 port is currently in use 

The only workaround for this annoying bug so far seems to reset the DRAC:

$ racadm racreset soft

After about 30 seconds it should come up again.

Also, there seems to be a timeout on the DRAC console of 300s. When you have an idle SSH session, it won't throw you out after 300s, it will do that after you give the next command.

Changing DRAC User Password

Console in to DRAC.

Changing the password:

racadm config -g cfgUserAdmin -o cfgUserAdminPassword -i 2 <newpassword>

Changing the DRAC IP Configuration

Console in to DRAC.

racadm setniccfg -s <ipaddres> <subnetmask> <gateway>

Power cycling

Log in with SSH on the DRAC5/i card, and use the command:

$ racadm serveraction action

where action is one of the following:

  • powerdown - power server off
  • powerup - power server on
  • powercycle - perform server power cycle
  • hardreset - force hard server power reset
  • powerstatus - display current power status of server

Alternatively, use the SM CLP shell, after logging in:

$ smclp

Then, use on of the following commands, as suited:

reset /system1
stop /system1
start /system1

Help screens

$ racadm help


$ racadm help command

Initial setup

Some of the default configuration settings of the DRAC are suboptimal, the following DRAC ssh commands can be used to set them to more reasonable values:

racadm config -g cfgSessionManagement -o cfgSsnMgtRacadmTimeout 1800
racadm config -g cfgSessionManagement -o cfgSsnMgtSshIdleTimeout 1800

BIOS settings

The following settings should normally be changed from the defaults:

  • The second network interface should be disabled
  • Serial communication: On with console redirection via COM2
  • Redirection after boot: disabled
  • Front-panel LCD set to the system hostname

DRAC BIOS settings

The DRAC needs to be set up with the correct networking settings and password. Also change the following settings:

  • Virtual Media: detached


The Dell PowerEdge 1950 and 2950 come with either non-RAID MPT SAS controllers, or PERC 5/i RAID controllers. Both are built by LSI. To manage them from Linux, you need a proprietary MegaCli utility. There's a i386 RPM packaged version downloadable from the LSI site, which can be made to work on 64 bit Ubuntu. See mchenry:/usr/local/MegaCli for an extracted version.

Unfortunately, the alarm on the PERC 5/i is disabled by default. Use the following command to enable it:

MegaCli -AdpSetProp AlarmEnbl -aALL

This command lists most of the adapter's configuration:

MegaCli -AdpAllInfo -aALL

Odd Errors

When attempting to install Ubuntu, it will fail to partition the hard disk array if virtual media is turned on in the DRAC settings.

Any DRAC LCD errors can be read from the log with the command in drac of:

 racadm getsel 

Running the Dell diagnostics

Dell's PowerEdge diagnostics can be booted from PXE (this is only set up at knams at the moment). To do this, configure pxelinux to use the /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/dell-diags configuration.

I've only tested this using the VGA console on the DRAC, but it should work with BIOS console redirection too.

External links