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Redfish is the new standard, promoted by Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), for secure and scalable server management automation. With Redfish, the challenges of expanded scale, higher security, and multi-vendor openness are managed, while also enabling automation with modern DevOps tools and processes.

Historically, in Dell(EMC) servers the out-of-band management function is implemented by the integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) with Lifecycle Controller component, embedded in every PowerEdge server (with different version, starting from the express to the different enterprise). For modular servers there is also another component called Chassis Management Controller (CMC) that provide and centralize management.

Those compoments provide functionality that helps you deploy, update, monitor and maintain Dell PowerEdge servers with or without a systems management software agent. And because they run on dedicated embedded system, they don’t require any specific operating system or agent to work and can manage the entire bare metal server.

Each new PowerEdge generation came with a new iDRAC generation:

Actually DellEMC support Redfish both in G14 and G13 servers according with the PowerEdge Redfish API Reference Guides:

But with the introduction of the new generation of PowerEdge servers and the iDRAC9 version, there is the support for the latest version of the standard, Redfish 2016, expanding the API to meet customer-critical automation needs such as standardized BIOS configuration, firmware inventory, and performing firmware updates.

A big change from 2014 where only a minimal part of the functions was implemented and Dell position was quite different:

Since the joint announcement of Redfish, several questions have been raised about what this means for the future of IPMI and Dell’s WSMAN interfaces. To be clear, Redfish, once it is broadly implemented, will be ideal for large heterogeneous data centers, but at the moment, it currently offers a fraction of the capability in Dell’s WSMAN interface.

In addition to supporting the standard APIs of Redfish, Dell EMC also adds value to the iDRAC RESTful API such as our support for RESTful server configuration with the Server Configuration Profile (SCP). Using SCP file imports, administrators can enforce server configuration compliance for EVERY BIOS, iDRAC, PERC, NIC and HBA setting. And now with iDRAC9, the SCP also supports firmware version compliance. This enables a single API call, using a single SCP file to enforce user-specified firmware versions and hardware settings.

Does it mean that Redfish will replace iDRAC or that iDRAC will work only with Redfish standard? No, actually iDRAC can also accept IPMI command (like in the past), but of course can be managed with proprietary API and tools (like racadm) with native (and Dell specific) functionalities.

If you already have a DellEMC environment you will probably continue to use native tools and probably also Dell’s management consoles, like Dell OpenManage Essential (or the new Enterprise version), designed to provide a central and unified management for homogeneous environments, not only limited to Dell servers, but also extended to Dell switches or storage, all with a rich set of features.

With Redfish you can better manage heterogeneous environment, but actually there is a lack of common general purpose management console (with a rich set of functions), so you probably need to use more coding or integrate with other software.

See also:


Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-20 and vExpert Pro. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-19. Nutanix NTC 2014-20. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.