Dell OpenManageAt home, I've got a Dell PowerEdge 840 server running VMWare ESXi 4.x.  I was looking for a method to monitor and manage the underlying hardware - particularly BIOS settings and a way to 'reset' the alert light on the front of the chassis after some recent tinkering.

The solution turned out to be fairly simple.  By installing the OpenManage VIB for ESXi 4, you can now use a remote machine with OpenManage Web Server installed to communicate with the ESXi OpenManage VIB.

The easiest way to do this is with the VMware Management Assistant, which is an appliance packaged as an OVF template that is easily deployed to your ESXi host.  Upon first boot VMA will walk you through configuring the appliance’s settings.  Once setup, you need to add your ESXi host:

Once setup use the vihostupdate command to install the OpenManage VIB:
vihostupdate --server <esxihostname> -i -b
Finally, you can then install OpenManage Server Administrator on either a Windows or Linux server, which will run a web service that you can direct to your ESXi to carry out management tasks.  I chose to deploy OMSA on my VMA appliance:
#Download bootstrap.cgi from
sudo bash -l

Manually force the installer to think this is a RHEL5.x box

export dist_base=el
export dist_ver=5
export dist=el5

Run the installer

sh bootstrap.cgi

Hack the resulting .repo file to assume RHEL5.x

nano -w /etc/yum.repos.d/dell-omsa-repository.repo


Install /Start the OMSA web-service

yum install srvadmin-webadmin
service start dms_om_connsvc

Add a firewall hole for OMSA in /etc/sysconfig/iptables

echo "-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 1311 -j ACCEPT" >> /etc/sysconfig/iptables
service iptables restart

Now, you should be able to browse to the OMSA interface and enter the hostname and login credentials of your ESXi host to perform hardware management tasks:

  • https://<vma-hostname>:1311/
  • remember, that's https on port 1311 - otherwise, you'll get weird results in your browser.