Servers can change the game for businesses of all sizes. They allow you to consolidate resources, increase your overall IT power, and implement a wide range of tools that aren’t available otherwise.
While it’s great to have these, servers come with some baggage too. They have to be managed, and not all server management is the same.
If you utilize Dell products, then you have access to a specialized management platform that provides unique elements that can make server management easier and more powerful. That platform is commonly known as DRAC.
DRAC stands for “Dell remote access controller.” It’s a management platform that is designed for Dell servers, and the defining characteristic is that DRAC controllers have their own dedicated hardware. DRAC hardware can attach through expansion slots, or it can be integrated directly into the main board.
In either case, the DRAC will have its own dedicated processor, memory, and network interface. Additionally, it will have direct access to the system bus.
DRAC was first released in 1999, and to this day, it is a common management platform for a number of Dell servers. The design of DRAC offers a few advantages in power management and remote access along with a few other powerful features.
What Is iDRAC?
These days, iDRAC is the standard for Dell servers that utilize the platform. The “i” stands for “integrated.” iDRAC hardware functions the same as non-integrated DRAC hardware and offers the exact same benefits. The only distinction is that iDRAC is integrated into the main board. That’s it.
To understand why DRAC has been a mainstay with Dell for more than 20 years, it helps to look at the features.
One key example is power management. Because DRAC hardware operates independently from the server’s main hardware, DRAC controllers can power cycle a server even when the server’s core operating system has completely failed.
Similarly, DRAC offers remote access that doesn’t depend on server software. DRAC utilizes web interfaces that offer command-line access to the server. In other words, you can remotely manage and control the server as though you were physically there. Since DRAC has its own network interface, this also works even when the server is having significant software issues.
Another key feature of Dell iDRAC is hardware monitoring. The standard DRAC software and interface allows you to see all major hardware components and monitor them through remote access.
Lastly, DRAC offers virtual media. This allows the DRAC interface to mount disk images that are not locally stored on the hard drive. This powerful tool opens up a lot of freedom in how you access the server and utilize remote software resources.
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