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Dell includes a fair amount of software with its servers, but I'm having a hard time determining from the documentation what each of them does, and whether or not I should install it. Dell's support site (unless I'm doing it wrong) seems fairly opaque to me and its offerings fairly unstandardized in terms of their usage, so if possible I'd like to stray away from them. Specifically, I'm curious if any of the features offered are duplicated in something like Microsoft System Center.

For additional background information, I'm working with a Poweredge 2950 that was just rebuilt with an expanded raid-6, but initially I just installed Server 2008 R2 directly instead of using the Build and Update utility. There's nothing of use on it at the moment so I'm totally open to wiping it again.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

openmanage is most useful for seeing the status of your raid, temps, etc that arn't available directly to the OS

Several of the drivers will improve performance/functionality over the default windows ones. Usually you want at least chipset, networking and graphics

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sounds like openmanage is the way to go. Now to attempt installing it from the report site, heh. Thanks! – bwerks May 5 '10 at 18:12
After putting in about as much time as I can stand, I'm about ready to swear off altogether any software written by Dell. The installation process for OpenManage is a total mess, and the documentation is more full of holes than the maginot line. Is there any way to accomplish the same simple raid monitoring with System Center stuff? I'd really rather learn that product if there's any comparable feature...I'm not terribly impressed with the value prospect of learning anything Dell at the moment. – bwerks May 7 '10 at 9:56

From my experience it is not necessary. I have a couple dozen Dell servers and all of them have a base windows install. Occasionally, there there may be a driver or tool (RAID monitor/managment) that you need to install, but as far as I know nothing is strictly necessary. Pretty much everything in the bundle can be separately downloaded from and be installed as required.

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+1 and on a 2950, the online software is guaranteed to be more up to date, too – Matt Simmons May 5 '10 at 16:50
@Matt +1, Just download the latest. Contacting Dell support usually results in: "Which version firmware/OMSA are you running? Oh, will you update it please?" – jscott May 5 '10 at 16:57
It's funny that you mention that--it was actually raid monitoring that got me thinking about it in the first place. Incidentally, do you know which application it is that does said raid monitoring? Again this isn't terribly apparent when looking through dell's support, even when filtered by 2950 and Server 2008 R2. – bwerks May 5 '10 at 17:07
@bwerks: openmanage (as mentioned by EK) is what you're looking for. It not only does RAID monitoring, but all pretty much all hardware – Matt Simmons May 5 '10 at 18:04

From a driver persective yes you should install the ones you require. Openmanage will add drivers and software to interact with the management controller. Everything else is either gravy or garbage depending on your point of view. Either way you certainly don't need it

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