Complete network inventory for service providers

The problem

I was recently on a demo with a prospective customer who happened to be a cloud services provider –. they rent physical servers to their customers. This company has grown rapidly in the past few years – and they have not kept track of their server inventory. We suggested that they run auto-discovery to auto-document everything. Here is where things got interesting. Since they are leasing the hardware boxes to customers, they don’t have access to the operating systems. That meant we couldn’t run the usual wmi, ssh and other auto-discovery options that rely on the operating system.

The workaround

Device42 supported IPMI over LAN at that time and we suggested that as a workaround. The biggest issue with IPMI over LAN is that it can get only very basic inventory data such as hardware model, vendor, serial #, BMC, and IP/MAC info. However, discovery of just basic inventory data did not suffice in this scenario.

The solution

Since the prospective customer was counting on us to help them document their data center automatically, our engineering team explored IPMI over LAN a bit more – trying to figure out how to get more details. Some hardware vendors provide some but not enough additional IPMI over LAN data. We finally figured out that SNMP support for IPMI (specially for Dell idrac and HP iLO) is robust – and it is possible to get a lot more server information using SNMP than using IPMI over LAN.

The engineering team was able to quickly add SNMP support for IPMI and as of version v10.4.3, you can now discover detailed inventory data for physical machines.

Fields that are auto-discovered include:

  • Server name: as found, or if server name is not found idrac (or ilo) plus serial # combination is used.
  • Hardware model and vendor
  • Serial #
  • Operating system, if available
  • All the MAC addresses on that device (or physical nic card addresses)
  • BMC IP and MAC address
  • CPU details with speed, cores etc., including socket info
  • Memory size with DIMM details
  • Hard Disks with full details and socket info.

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Taking it to next step with automated Dell warranty info capture

We have a dell warranty check script on our github repository that can help you capture warranty expiry dates as well. https://github.com/device42/warranty_check

With schedulable reports – you can be notified in advance if any warranty is expiring or server support is coming up for renewal.

Fully automated inventory management with Device42

Do you have complete hardware audit of your data center assets? Is every server in your network accounted for? Are you ready for your next budget cycle for hardware refresh or contract renewal info?

If not, scan your network today by downloading a fully function trial from: https://www.device42.com/download/