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We're thinking about moving some servers out of the office and in to a datacenter. I'd like to add remote management capabilities before we do. The only problem is our servers are mostly repurposed old desktop machines (Dell Dimension series mostly).

Do DRAC cards require any sort of connectivity that is not available on a desktop motherboard? Is there a better way to do this?

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DRAC cards just use a full or half length PCI slot, depending on the model, so they should fit in the machine if you have them. Whether they work is a different matter, often different models of DRAC cards are only compatible with specific server models. Also to use them you need the Dell Openmanage software, which is usually only included with Dell servers.

If you look at the Dell specs for the DRAC cards, they mention specific models, so I think you may be out of luck: alt text

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Not to pour more salt in the wound, but this is also one of the reasons people recommend not running "servers" on desktop hardware. – Ryan Bolger Aug 6 '09 at 14:44

Yes, DRACs do require a BMC, which is not usually installed on a desktop machine, afaik.

There are other ways of getting remote access. One piece of gear that I've been considering is the Lantronix SecureLinx Spider. I've never used one, so I can't personally vouch for them, but the concept makes sense and I have seen favorable reviews. Cost may be an issue. They seem to be in the $300 range.

A search for IP KVM devices should turn up some other options.

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The DRAC's specifically are usually motherboard integrated. So I would suggest not so much. If you have a card, I imagine it would work, but there must be a cheaper solution than using a DRAC card on a desktop!

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