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Connect to a blade server

Posted On 2011-10-25 by FortyPoundHead
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Tags: Hardware Tutorial General 
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Blade servers are a bit different to work with. There are no keyboards, mice, or monitors (normally) connected to a blade server. Instead, you either need to attach a USB/Keyboard dongle directly to the blade (not available on all models), or you can use the KVM switch built in to the blade enclosure.

Since I am lazy, I prefer to user the KVM switch, and I will now explain to you how you can, too.

Why do I bother typing up this process? In large, enterprise-level IT departments, there is a team of System Administrators. Invariably, while all members of the team generalists, each member of the team adopts a technology as their own, and they become the subject matter expert for their team, regarding that technology.

So let's say your blade guy goes on vacation for two weeks, or wins the lottery and moves to Bermuda. You've now got to figure out how to login to the console of a server that has no keyboard, mouse or monitor connected. But you're not the blade guy!

The equipment we will be working with today are HP BL490 G7 blades, contained inside of a HP C7000 blade enclosure. The blade enclosure is configured with a minimum of 4 network connections: two for the active/passive Onboard Administrators (OA), and two for the active/passive network connections. Access to the admin interface gained through the active OA.

When your blade enclosure was first installed and configured, the first thing that should have been done (besides connecting the cables) should have been to configure at least one static IP address for the currently active OA. This would have been done through the front panel of the enclosure.

Note that as of this writing, access to the OA and the iLO interfaces of the blades is only supported through Internet Explorer. Also of note is connecting to VirtualConnect is only supported through FireFox. HP really needs to fix this.

So onward. Open up IE, and enter the IP address of your active OA. You should be presented with the typical HP login screen, requesting a username and password. Remember, both the username and the password are case-sensitive.

After successfully authenticating, you’ll be presented with the enclosure overview. On the right side will be two clickable pictures. The top picture shows the front of the chassis (where the blades are), and the bottom picture shows the back of the chassis (where the interconnects are).

If you know which bay the blade you want to connect to is in, you can simply click it in the top picture. If you’re not sure which bay to click on, you can hover over each one in turn, and a tooltip will be displayed which contains the name of the blade. Once you find it, click it.

After you click it, the tree on the left will change slightly, with your selected blade becoming the focus. One line down from the name of the blade is the iLO link. Click it. The center window will now update to include iLO remote management options.

In the bottom section, click the link that reads Integrated Remote Console. This will connect you to the console interface of the blade, via the onboard KVM switch.

And that is it! You should now be seeing the console of your blade server.

Dell enclosures have a similar procedure. The main differences are:

  • You’ll be connecting to the Chassis Management Controller (CMC) rather than the Onboard Administrator (OA)
  • After clicking a blade in the interface, the remote console link is on the right side of the screen in the Quick Links section. You’ll use this link to connect through iDRAC.


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