Thursday, October 4, 2007

Installing a DRAC 5 card in a PowerEdge 2900

I purchased a Dell PowerEdge 2900 server and forgot to get the DRAC (Dell Remote Access Card) installed when I originally purchased it, so I ordered one. It arrived today and it looked a little different; like a regular expansion card but with no metal plate on the back edge around the ethernet jack. Then I noticed that there were 2 short ribbon cables that came with it. I looked for a manual or something that would explain where it installed, what software to use or something. Alas, nothing in the box. A quick search on the web found very little.

So being the geek that I am, I opened up the 2900 and poked around inside. it was immediately obvious that there were 2 ribbon cable connectors on the middle of the motherboard that were labeled RAC1 and RAC2. The problem is that the nearest compatible expansion slots were 6 inches away and there was a lot of other hardware between those connectors and the bus slot. I pulled out the internal fan housing (two easy blue tabs), looked around and noticed that there were some blue mounting poles hanging under part of the internal framework, and the DRAC had several holes in a similar pattern. There was also a black hole cover in the back of the machine that would offer just the right space for the ethernet connector when the DRAC is mounted on the poles. It was clear at that point that the DRAC was not going to be inserted in a regular expansion bus slot.

I removed the black hole cover and installed the DRAC on the blue poles. Then started looking at the ribbon cables. I discovered that they are very close in size, but one is slightly larger. I was careful to attach the cable with the red ribbon connecting to pin 1 on both the DRAC and the motherboard connectors. I installed cable 2 first, then cable 1 because it was just going to be easier that way.

I replaced the fan housing (a simple slide in system) and had to be careful to not damage the new RAC cable which ir right up against it. After closing up the machine and powering it back on, the POST reported the existence of the new RAC and assigned it an IP address.

Now I need to figure out how to use it! I susect that the instructions and software are somewhere on the original disks that came with the PE 2900.

Let me know if you have some experience with setting up a RAC.

1 comment:

DougVonDoom said...

I've found that you need to go to your hardware user guide for RAC installation instructions.

Example:

I found the instructions in my DELL Power Edge 2950 Systems Hardware Owner's Manual on page 80.

dougvondoom@gmail.com