DELL PowerEdge T310

Just received a new DELL PowerEdge T310 server that will eventually reside in a new office we are opening in Austin, TX.  This server will be the first of a new strategy that I am implementing for all of our branch offices.  The new strategy is simply to configure the servers as ESXi servers, manage them through VMware vCenter and install 2-3 VMs on the servers.  We have 1 server at each of our branch offices acting as Domain Controllers, file servers, print servers and SCCM distribution points.  I’d like to separate these roles across multiple servers and the best way to do this is via virtualization.

A Few Hardware Specifications

  • Intel Xeon X3450 2.66 GHz Quad-Core processor
  • 16GB 1333MHz Dual Ranked RDIMM memory
  • PERC H200 Adapter Internal RAID Controller for Hot Plug Hard Drive
  • RAID 1 – SAS6iR/H200/PERC6i/H700 (SAS/SATA Controller)
  • 2 1TB 7.2K RPM SATA 3.5″ Hot Plug Hard Drive
  • Redundant 400W power supply
  • Baseboard Management Controller
  • Intel Gigabit ET Quad Port NIC in addition to the dual 1GB integrated NIC

In this guide, I’m going to present the steps that I took to configure the server for use in production.

Powering Up

After connecting everything to the server and powering things on press F2 to enter System Setup.  I had to change the System Time so double-check this.  The most important thing to check in here is to go to Processor > Virtualization Technology and make sure that it is Enabled.

Using the DELL Unified Server Configurator (USC)

The DELL Unified Server Configurator (USC) is a new feature that I have yet to use as this is the first system that I have configured with it installed.  The USC is an “embedded configuration utility that enables systems and storage management tasks from an embedded environment throughout your system’s lifecycle,” (DELL Unified Server Configurator User Guide, p.7).  Sounds cool to me! To enter the USC press F10 System Services at the DELL logo during system boot. Note:  Unfortunately, I was unable to take full advantage of these features because this server was ordered without a DRAC card–blah!

RAID Configuration

Entered into the SAS Configuration Utility by pressing CTRL+C.  Found the default settings to be sufficient. Volume was configured with RAID 1 by default so we should be good to go here.

Remote Access Configuration

This is a feature that I do not use and currently have no use for so I press CTRL+E to enter into the configuration utility and disable this feature.

VMware vSphere Hypervisor 4.1 Update 1 (formerly ESXi)

Many of you already know that VMware renamed the free hyper-visor from ESXi to Hypervisor 4.1.  I downloaded the ISO for the latest version of the Hypervisor and burned to  a CD.  Booted into and ran the VMware ESXi 4.1.0 Installer.  Pretty much chose the default settings here as the Hypervisor is pretty easy and straight forward to install.

Press F2 after installation is complete to Customize System.  Configured a root password and then Configure Management Network.  Basically all I need to configure here is the IP address.  Since I’m not shipping the system just yet, I will let DHCP take care of all of the IP settings.  Once it gets on its destination subnet, I will configure static network settings for the server.

After the IP address has been set, I launch the vSphere Client and attempt to connect to the IP address.  The client informs me that my current client needs to be upgraded first so I perform the upgrade (which took quite some time).  After the vSphere Client was installed I connected to the ESXi server just fine.  Piece of cake!