CMC: It's easy as A-B-C

This post was authored by John Abrams, Systems Management Marketing

With the recent launch of both Chassis Management Controller (CMC) for the new PowerEdge VRTX and a new CMC update, version 4.4.5, for the M1000 blade chassis, I thought it would be a good time to talk about what makes CMC so useful and effective. At Dell, we listen to our customers every day, and three things come through loud and clear every time. Customers want tools and solutions that:

  • reduce costs,
  • let them act quickly,
  • and with increased effectiveness. 

CMC is just such a tool, whether you’re managing a single VRTX or a global enterprise with thousands of Dell PowerEdge M-series blade servers in dozens of M1000e chassis. Before we go much further, it’s worth pointing out that since we’re talking about both VRTX and the M1000e, you will see the terms “blade” and “server node” mentioned. They both refer to the servers within each system, with those in the VRTX being known as server nodes due to the nature of that system’s shared networking and storage infrastructure.

So now a little background: CMC is both the name we give for the hardware management module within the M1000e and VRTX chassis as well as the web-based browser console that this module provides. In either case, Dell’s CMC provides a secure browser-based interface that enables an IT administrator to take inventory, perform configuration and monitoring tasks, remotely power on/off blade servers and enable alerts for events on servers and components in the blade chassis. This ability is embedded into the module and requires no additional software installations. The CMC leverages each managed PowerEdge server’s embedded integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) with Lifecycle Controller to perform management functions, such as performing updates, monitoring system health or opening a remote console session from the CMC interface.

The key thing in all the OpenManage tools and products we make is this: the tools have been developed to enable you to perform operations as quickly and easily as possible. Here’s an example of that in action. In the video clip below, we show a side-by-side comparison of what it’s like to setup shared storage on a VRTX system with CMC compared to the same scenario on an HP C3000 blade server. 

That’s a pretty impressive difference! A little less than three minutes to get your shared storage ready to go versus taking the better part of an hour to do the same thing on an HP system. This is just one example of Dell keeping its customers’ considerations in mind when designing our products.

One feature not covered in that video is multi-chassis management. This capability can monitor up to nine fully loaded chassis of the same kind with no additional cabling, all via a single web interface. Additionally, CMC allows you to back up and replicate settings on the chassis, and save or apply BIOS profiles for individual blade servers so that adding new blades or chassis to your environment is easier and more automated. With this latest version of CMC for M1000e, it is even possible to assign settings to an empty slot, so that the settings will be applied when a blade is inserted at some point in the future! You can also capture a complete Chassis Inventory across all of your chassis that will return detailed information on all of the blades, IO modules, iDRAC modules, etc. in your environment.

There’s a lot more to CMC, but I hope that this quick overview has sparked your interest in learning more about this and other exciting OpenManage offerings from Dell. 

Sarah Vela

About the Author: Sarah Vela

Sarah is the Chief Blog Strategist for Dell Technologies. Born in New York and raised in New England, she has been living and working in the Austin area for over 20 years, but she knows that doesn't make her a true Texan. She joined Dell in the spring of 2011, left briefly for another company, but realized her mistake and returned in November of 2019. Sarah has five kids, two dogs, two cats, and no free time.