Making iDRAC6 work with R710 – it wasn’t easy!

Hi all,

As you may recall I had a small issue with water leaking from above into my infrastructure.  I escaped any water damage in my computer gear but I did lose a storage array.  I have an R710 I am not using and I am going to make it a storage array.  Very nice hardware with a bunch of disk and 40 GB of RAM. This – installed with Nexenta for example – would make a nice storage array and get my lab back to full strength. It has an issue though.  It will not boot a CD.  Not from the built-in CD, nor from any external.  I have used two different external with no luck.  I could not put Nexenta to USB to boot and install.  Just would not work.  The real solution was to have the Express iDRAC upgraded to Enterprise.  I got frustrated on the Dell site, and ended up using chat to figure out how to buy iDRAC6.  Turns out it did not take long on chat and to get two of them, and shipping it was going to be 54 US$.  Sold.

They did not come with instructions. I had a lot of trouble making them work.  Thus, the reason for this article. Turns out installing them in the server is not too complex.  In the back right corner of your R710 you remove a plug that revels a hole in the chassis for the network port.  Then you insert and press down – carefully – and the Enterprise iDRAC is installed.

You boot your server and use CTRL + E to enter the iDRAC config and you change the the LAN port to dedicated and thus the new network port is live and you are ready. With your existing config so that is nice – which I mean network and credentials.

You now connect to it and it seems pretty good.  It works, and lots of info is seen.  But now the big test. Can I open a virtual console?

The answer is no.  I get a connect failed message.  Here is the majority of things I tried.

  • I tried on Windows 10 with Chrome v65.0.3235.181 64-bit and Firefox v59.0.2 64-bit and both failed the same way.
  • Next was Windows 7, with Chrome the same version but 32-bit, and Firefox the same version but 32-bit. Still failed the same way.
  • IP address of the iDRAC is in the server exceptions of Java.
  • I have Java network settings configured to use Direct Connect.
  • iDRAC was set to use Java plug-in instead of Native.  No joy.  I changed it back to Native and still no joy.
  • I did a cold start of the server the iDRAC was part of.
  • I updated the iDRAC to v2.90 firmware and it still did not help.
  • I did a reset to default of the iDRAC and then reconfigured it and still no luck.
  • I was using Java 8 update 171.
  • There was no firewalls between the iDRAC and I.

My R710’s were out of warranty, and the purchase of the iDRAC included no support. So what to do.  I saw some suggestions – or hints – on the web about how this might be related to Java.

So I uninstalled the Java, and deleted the oracle folder in Program Data, and restarted my Windows 7 machine. I then installed Java 7 build 79.  I did no other configuration.  Nothing at all.  And I was able to connect to the virtual console and use virtual media and all was good. I was using Firefox to connect to the virtual console.

You can find Java 7 build 79 part way down on this page. Make sure to get the right version / build and platform. You will need to create an Oracle account to download it. You can find the 2.90 firmware for the iDRAC 6 on this page. I believe you need both of these to be successful.

I am not sure if there is other platforms that this could work on.  I have this working now and I am happy. It is not onerous at all to have an old laptop with Windows 7 around to do iDRAC stuff.  At least I have something that works.  But, it makes me really appreciate the HTML5 support in my SuperMicro and the fact I did not have to buy anything extra!

BTW, someone else who had the same problem as me solved it in a different way.  I share his article in case it helps you if you have this issue and find my article.

Hope that this helps someone but it is very good news to have working iDRAC6 for me.

Michael

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