October 30, 2008
I've worked with the my 1855 blade enclosure for a while, now, and I feel pretty confident in saying the following:
A) Dell's DRAC is a very useful device which facilitates remote administration
B) at least it would, if it didn't suck so much
The blade enclosure comes with a DRAC module that is inserted into a slot in the back. It's paired with an avocent KVM module connected to the blade units. You access the KVM through the DRAC web site, which is the real problem.
Every Dell technician I've complained to has said the same thing. "Yes, the DRAC is slow. Very slow, and underpowered". It's not just slow, it vacillates between borderline and completely unusable. On a good day, expect 3 minutes for the page to load. On a bad day, don't expect to load the whole page.
It also seems to occasionally lose track of the KVM. It's happened a few times so far, and there doesn't seem to be any reason for it. Either the DRAC will see the KVM and not be able to administer it (like what is happening right now), or the DRAC won't see the KVM at all.
It is very frustrating, and Dell's techs seem apologetic, but there doesn't appear to be a fix for it. It just sucks.
Next time I'm headed into the colocation, I'm just hooking the console port into the KVM that is connected to the non-blade servers. At least that way I'm not reliant on Dell's sorry excuse for a controller to access the video on my servers.