Dell FX2 Part 5: Software

The final post in this 5 part series will cover the systems management software used to manage and administer the hardware and software components that make up the FX2 chassis.

Dell provides a wide range of choice for systems management with the FX2 including

  • iDRAC 8 with Lifecycle Controller
  • CMC (Chassis Management Controller)
  • OME (OpenManage Essentials)
  • ASM (Active System Manager)

I’ve covered iDRAC and OME in a previous post so the main focus here will be the CMC. The CMC is embedded and requires no additional agents or software to be installed with hardware discovery also built in. The CMC can manage up to 20 FX2 chassis in a group allowing you to manage up to 320 servers in a single group if using the FM120 compute blocks. Tasks such as firmware updates can all be managed centrally from the CMC allowing for one to many updating saving you a huge amount of time.

The CMC has two types of licensing, Enterprise and Express. As you would expect the Enterprise license offers more advanced features such as:

  • Remote syslog support
  • Single sign On
  • Two factor authentication
  • Advanced power management
  • Chassis grouping
  • Enclosure level backup
  • Flex addressing

The FX2 has two on-board 1Gb NIC ports available on the rear of the chassis and by default the one is used for management of the CMC and the other for stacking multiple chassis together. It is possible to configure redundancy on these ports however you must change the port configuration in the CMC first before connecting it to the network.

The CMC is accessed using a supported web browser, by simply entering the management IP address will get you to the login prompt. The first time you login to the system it will prompt you to change the default username and password to something more secure. 

Once logged in you’ll be placed in the “Chassis Overview” section where you can complete the initial configuration of the chassis for things such as IP configuration, power management and firmware updates. A quick link area is provided to take you to the settings page. The left hand pane will allow you to configure the various hardware components such as IO modules, compute and storage blocks along with PCIe slot mappings. 

From here you can configure the installed hardware components, some of which I’ve covered in previous posts.

Overall I’ve been very impressed with the FX2 platform and I really like the flexibility available with the compute, storage and networking components. If you are looking at a hardware refresh and require greater density in a smaller footprint with easy centralised management then you should definitely consider the FX2.

If you would like to learn more about the FX2, please do get in touch with us.

Finally I would like the thank Mark Mclean from Dell for arranging a loan demonstration unit for us.

Read the other articles in the series: 

Part 1: Introduction and Use Cases

Part 2: Compute

Part 3: Storage

Part 4: Networking