Today I’ve been busy with many things. One of those things was to get a new Dell PowerRack R410 working. Everything went fine, except the iDRAC/IPMI interface was not working at all.
After a lot of research I found people having the same kind of troubles in US, and usually with responses such as “try to restart it” or “get Dell to change the motherboard”.
Being in Japan, asking Dell to change the motherboard would take time (we’re talking about ~2 weeks delivery for a server, since Dell has no hardware in Japan, I don’t even want to know how long it’d take to replace a piece of hardware). Since I don’t think Dell sent us a broken piece of harware, I tried searching more, and finally found something!
The issue is that the management firmware option is not enabled on the Broadcom network adapter!
A French user had the same user, and Dell France gave him a much more interesting answer than Dell US. It’s made for Windows, but I got it to work on Linux by having their image tool create a hard disk image file and dd it to a USB key. I guess using an existing USB MSDOS disk would work just fine too, I was just too lazy to search more once I saw the Dell diagnostics tools were not used.
- Download the Dell diagnostics image creator
- Download the Broadcom DOS utility
- Run the Dell diagnostics image creator and create a (writable) device (such as a USB disk, it’ll be just fine).
- Extract the Broadcom DOS utility, and copy the DosUtils\Userdiag\NetXtremeII folder contents (except install.zip) on your USB stick
- Reboot the Dell server on your USB disk, which is now a USB boot disk
- When it boots, the Dell diagnostics disk offers you a menu, choose 4 to be dropped to the MSDOS console
- By default you are on D: (the virtual disk where the disk decompressed some tools). Type “C:” to switch back to your USB key
- Run: uxdiag -t abcd -mfw 1
- You’re done. You can reboot normally and format the USB key (or keep it in case you have to do that again). Enjoy your finally working iDRAC!
Note: those instructions are to be used on Dell PowerRack R410. It could or could not work on other Dell servers. My guess is it’ll work on all Dell servers using Broadcom NetXtremeII adapters. For other Broadcom devices, see the other folders on the Broadcom DOS utility archive. If your server asks you if it’s OK to self destruct, you’ll most likely want to say “no”. Always consult your Dell customer support if you are unsure of what you are doing.