Setting up a DRAC card using Debian

Today I was faced with the problem of setting the IP address of a DRAC (dedicated Dell Remote Access Card, which are super by the way, and a lot lot quicker than Sun’s effort) in a Dell server that was powered on, running something production on the Debian OS, and I had no physical access to the server, so no rebooting for configuration was possible.

Now, if you have an idea of what IP address is on that card already you can talk to it remotely which isn’t a problem. The problem was, I had no idea what the IP address was currently set it to and it wasn’t DHCP. Even so, I had no copy of the racadm command, the Dell tool to control the card. (omconfig is available on Debian now which is nice, but omconfig bmc is a deprecated command and indicates to use racadm!)

Let me tell you how to set the IP address with just a simple install of Debian and little effort. (I’m sure this on the internet somewhere but I had difficulties finding it. I expect my Google-fu was weak today.)

Install IPMItool from apt:

apt-get install ipmitool

Load the IPMI driver into /dev/ so we can talk to the card:


You can now print the current config of the card:

ipmitool lan print 1

Set the new IP address up, if you want to configure it manually:

ipmitool lan set 1 ipaddr
ipmitool lan set 1 netmask
ipmitool lan set 1 defgw ipaddr
ipmitool lan set 1 ipsrc static

Or set it to DHCP if you want:

ipmitool lan set 1 ipsrc dhcp

Check your settings:

ipmitool lan print 1

Reboot the DRAC; You may not have to do this, I did (and/or I’m impatient)

ipmitool mc reset cold

Within a minute the card should be up and responding to ping. Hurrah!

Note: I tried these on a DRAC4 card, and whilst it looked like it was accepting my instructions, it seems it was infact completely ignoring me. I had to configure this one manually in the BIOS. These commands work fine on a DRAC5 though.

8 thoughts on “Setting up a DRAC card using Debian”

  1. Thanks for this article Laurie, I’ve been wondering how to do this for a while now but never got round to checking it out.

    I’m wondering if you’ve ever encountered a problem I’m seeing fairly often (a few times a year across random servers – all dell):

    The DRACS card will just stop responding to the ip it’s been allocated, so no web interface or anything. It still responds to ipmitool on the server, but even a cold reset doesn’t fix the problem.

    The only fix I’ve found is to totally power down the machine, and cycle the power to the entire box – as you can imagine, not great for production machines!

  2. Hey Tom,

    I’ve yet to see that happen so far, are they DRAC5 cards? Running the latest firmware presumably?

    Bit strange it wouldn’t even come back with a cold reset via ipmitool. The only time I saw that was on the DRAC4 cards we had in a couple of older machines that required a full power cycle to take the new network settings.

    Cheers, Laurie

  3. Sorry for the long delay in responding to this!

    I’ve upgraded all of the firmwares to the latest 1.45, and so far it’s all been dandy!

    The old firmware also had a problem whereby the remote console refused to work after a few times! The new JAVA one seems to work much better, as long as your browser can open it correctly (Firefox3 on MAcOSX seems to have issues!)

  4. Hi,

    In case the DRAC was in DHCP mode, you need to put it in static mode before you set the parameters:
    ipmitool lan set 1 ipsrc static

    And you are right, you don’t need to restart it once it’s set, it seems to cycle the settings at least it did on a setup like that: DHCP default, set to static, wait a few seconds… and iface went up

    Thanks for that post anyway, I didn’t think at first of using IPMI to work with the DRAC.

  5. Fantastic! Looks like this article hasn’t had much attention in over a year (or at least in the comments), but I’ve been looking for this and it worked like a charm. Thanks for posting up the tip — always appreciate learning from the work other people do!

  6. Just another bump for this solid gold article! I have wondered how to do this for ages – I was fully expecting to have to run rings around Dell’s enormous OMSA blob for RedHat, extract bits, maybe use alien and get compatible library versions just to run ‘racadm’ – never knew that DRAC responded so gracefully to IPMI!

  7. ah, wow. The drac’s are just IPMI.. great!

    While the settings and everything have changed for me, it still does not respond to ping, etc. think its this.

    802.1q VLAN ID : 400

    BUT, when I try to # ipmitool lan set 1 vlan id off

    LAN Parameter Data does not match! Write may have failed.

    I get this error, but I can change the VLAN ID, I assume this is tagging so i want it off. Even using the tagging (and setting it up on the siwtch correctly) it still does not respond.

    One thing of note, the link likes on the NIC in the back of the server.. remain off.


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