The Case of the Missing UserVars.CIMOEMProvidersEnabled Value in ESXi 4.1

In ESXi 4.0 the Advanced Software Setting UserVars.CIMOEMProvidersEnabled is used to enable an agent such as the Dell OpenManage offline bundle for ESXi which provides hardware management for Dell PowerEdge servers. This is supplied as a vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB) and Alan Renouf has a great post on his blog on how to install a VIB like this one via PowerCLI.

Whilst testing out getting the same Dell Agent installed into ESXi 4.1 there are a number of changes you need to be aware of:

1) UserVars.CIMOEMProvidersEnabled is no more

It has been replaced by UserVars.CIMoemProviderEnabled - note the lower case oem and the dropped s from Providers. Why you would do this between versions, I have no idea! Developers, eh? It’s a case sensitive value when setting from PowerCLI so be careful.

2) UserVars.CIMoemProviderEnabled Is Not Visible in a Fresh Install

OK, so you have found the name change, now to set it. However, when you go to look for it in a fresh install it doesn’t appear to exist!

Wot no UserVars.CIMoemProviderEnabled ? (If it was there, it would be the last value in the list)

You have the same issue if trying to set it with PowerCLI. The below fails with an error that the value doesn’t exist:

Set-VMHostAdvancedConfiguration -VMHost ESX1 -Name UserVars.CIMoemProviderEnabled -Value 1

It turns out that it is not possible to set the value until the Dell ESXi Management Agent has been installed, this is a change from 4.0. I guess this kind of makes sense when you think about it, i.e. there is not much point setting it if no agent is installed. So, installing the Dell agent and then rebooting the host will then see the value appear in the GUI and also be configurable via PowerCLI.

3) Version 6.4 is required for ESXi 4.1

Back in ESXi 4.0 the version of the Dell agent was 6.2. The supported version for ESXi 4.1 is 6.4 which can be downloaded here. This version of the agent requires that you be running version 6.4 also of the Dell OpenManage Server Administrator Managed Node software so you may need to upgrade that too. This version has been given a smarten up and has a nicer looking appearance over the previous version.