Here are some high-level notes for a typical Dell R430 or R730 Server build. Some of the items listed may be specific to this generation / model of hardware, and others may apply more broadly. Your mileage may vary (YMMV) ;-).
- Un-box Server and rack-mount with provided rails (practice for rack-mount and verify that received rails match received server and test rack).
- Plug all server power supplies into compatible power source (usually protected by UPS and distributed by PDU). This tests the functionality of each power supply and also allows the system to report hardware status as “OK.” A Hardware Error will be reported if one or more redundant power supplies are left unplugged.
- Power the server on and use a directly connected console (or KVM) to bring up the Dell LifeCycle Controller (onboard maintenance interface). Select the entry for Update Firmware and ensure the lifecycle controller has an IP with Internet Access (usually dynamically assigned with DHCP).
- You will likely need to type in the Firmware Update Source which is normally ftp.dell.com
- The Firmware Update module of the LifeCycle Controller will scan the system hardware and compare currently installed versions with updates available from Dell. If any newer versions are available, they will be automatically selected. After the firmware scan finishes, scroll through the list to see if anything has been auto-selected.
- Proceed with any newer firmware installs, or return to the main LifeCycle Controller screen if no updates were detected.
- Reboot the server and press the appropriate key sequence during boot to enter the RAID controller utility. Verify that the RAID configuration matches your system requirements prior to operating system install. Usually the OS would be installed to a basic two-drive RAID-1 mirrored volume.
- Following firmware updates, you should initiate Operating System install from the LifeCycle Controller. This will automatically provide the necessary drivers and other pre-install config to the Operating System (OS) installer.
- Optionally choose UEFI and Secure Boot – for UEFI you may need to delete any existing partitions on the primary RAID volume and then select to install to available space. Legacy BIOS boot is also a valid option if desired.
- After your operating system has been installed and the system is functioning as expected on the network, install the Dell Open Manage System Administrator (OMSA) software which will provide the storage (RAID) utility and hardware status utility for use within Windows (or other supported OS). NOTE that if you’re planning to use the system as a Windows Domain Controller (DC), WAIT to install OMSA AFTER promoting the system to a DC and verifying replication is functioning correctly. Domain Controllers do not have local accounts so software may function or install differently on a DC than on a standard non-DC (member) server.
- Verify that the corporate anti-virus (or anti-malware) software has been installed and is functioning correctly on the new server.
This high-level overview is NOT intended to be used as an install guide for Dell servers. It is just a short note-to-self to remember some key steps for a server install.