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Dell Management Console and Symantec Management Platform SP3

Created: 22 Dec 2009 • Updated: 22 Dec 2009 • 2 comments
jharings's picture
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Authors Note: I apologize for all the abbreviations, I'm including the glossary at the front of the post for some extra clarity.

Glossary

DMC - Dell Management Console - A free product, offered by Dell that is primarily used to manage the server environment. It includes hardware patching, limited inventory, and some monitoring capabilities.
SMP - Symantec Management Platform - The product formerly known as Altiris Notification Server. This is most often referred to as "Notification Server version 7".
SIM - Symantec Installation Manager - The automated install and update platform for all SMP related products. Prior to version 7, a previous tool AIM (Altiris Installation Manager) was optional to perform the same activities. With the advent of version 7 and the Symantec Management Platform designation, this is no longer the case. All installs and upgrades must be performed with the SIM.
SP - Service pack

Introduction

Quite recently, both the Dell Management Console (DMC) and Symantec Management Platform (SMP) received major upgrades. DMC upgraded from 1.01 to 1.02 and the SMP bumped up to SP3. There are some pretty critical points to look out for when managing these two products in the same environment.

The primary issue to be aware of is DMC 1.02 is not supported with the SMP Service Pack 3. Prior to 1.02, DMC also was not compatible with SMP Service Pack 2.

Keep in mind the Dell Management Console is dependent on the SMP. It is a free solution, with general support (1st level) provided by Dell. You must first install the Symantec Installation Manager (SIM), before you can load the SMP or DMC. The SIM can be download from the main Symantec Download site, but is also included with the full DMC download iso, available from the Dell Download site. Please keep in mind that you should register for both downloads. The Symantec site requires a login, and the Dell site, in order to gain a perpetual license, also requires registration.

If you download the SIM from the Symantec site, it uses the standard product listing - http://solutionsam.com/solutions/pl/symantec/.pl.xml. This in an unrestricted list of all products and versions available. You can even install previous versions, you just need to be sure to check "show all versions" on the main SIM interface.

If you download the Dell .iso file from the Dell site, it uses a customized product listing - dell.pl.xml. This restricts the products and versions you can install. It appears to be a local version only, so if you install from the .iso files, make sure you have a backup for later use.

INSTALLS

What this boils down to is that, with version 1.01 of the DMC, if it detected Service Pack 2 of the SMP was present, you would not be able to continue installing the DMC. Although there were unsupported work arounds available, by implementing them, you were admitting to yourself that there may be issues, and there wasn't anything support could do to help you. This was not the case in several test runs of a new (SP3) , and upgraded version (SP2 -> SP3) of the SMP. You could select the install of the DMC with a new or upgraded version of the SIM, and it would install without issue.

It should be noted this was not attempted on a 1.01 - 1.02 DMC upgrade, a fresh install of the DMC was used in all attempts.

In conclusion, if you install the SIM from the Symantec site, after you select "Install New Products", be sure to select "Show All Available Versions" in the bottom left

ISSUES

The two main issues I have seen with the DMC and an SMP at Service Pack 3 are (but may not be limited to):

1) Network Discovery (using SNMP with the default credentials) will not finish, or even progress past 1%. Detailed SNMP logging shows that roughly every 10 minutes, that the correct information is being obtained, but no information is ever reported back to the server.

2) The various Dell utilities (pull down Dell related updates and the Dell inventory collector) all fail repeatedly with the error "Another Task is Running", whether or not another task is indeed running.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

I was given information from support that indicated that Dell will release a new version of the DMC in (slated for early Q1) that will support SP3. This is not set in stone, and is provided only to answer any initial questions the reader may have.

You may also need to be careful when loading the Dell Client Manager, which is used to manage workstations. On one occasion even when loaded from the Dell Product Listing, the install process appeared switch the product listing to the default Symantec site, which of course makes the SMP service pack 3 available again. I would like to confirm this behavior before raising the issue with support.

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JeffDG's picture

So, is this going to happen with every Platform SP?

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jharings's picture

the fix for SP3 compatibility has been released. Based on comments on the Dell Community forum, there is a separate phase of testing betweent the DMC release and any SP releases from Symantec. So, you could possibly infer that there may be a gap each time, but I'm sure both product teams (especially if  you provide them feedback) would be willing to work with specific customers to keep the pain to a minimum.

Jim Harings
HP Enterprise Services
1st Rule of Connect Club: Mark the post that helped you the most as a 'solution'. 2nd Rule of Connect Club:You must talk about Connect club.

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