Silence Your Dell PowerEdge Server

This post will cover how to silence your Dell PowerEdge R330 server. It should work for most poweredge servers also. Unfortunately, I have only tested this on my Dell R330’s. Let’s jump right in on this one.

First Things First

You will have to ensure IPMI is enabled on your server.

Let’s log into iDRAC first. Once you are logged in, go to the iDRAC Settings > Network and scroll down until you see IPMI section. Make sure the “Enable IPMI Over Lan” is checked/enabled. This is what will enable us to interact with the server remotely.

Secondly

Here is were things get fun. My servers’ operating system is CentOS 7, so using ipmitool was simple. If your OS does not have it, you may need to install some sort of IPMI tool to help with this part.

This command below, let’s us manually take control of the fans or in other words, enables Manual Mode.

ipmitool -I lanplus -H 10.10.10.140 -U userAdmin -P myPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x00

Great, now we have full control of the fans, now we want to make them shut the hell up. We are going to set them to run at 10% of their total capability.

ipmitool -I lanplus -H 10.10.10.140 -U userAdmin -P myPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x14

Boom. Now your servers’ fans should instantly spin down. I do not have to run these commands over and over on my Dell R330. I’ve heard of people making scripts to run the commands over and over to keep their fans spun down. But for me, I can reboot the system several times and the fans will remain spun down.

Advanced User Course

Next, let’s look at some more options and commands you can do. You may need these if you plan on using a cron job or some sort of script.

Go to Hardware > Fans

Make note of the Fan names. We will need these names for our IPMI command.

idracFans - Copy.PNG

Cool, now that you have made note of those Fan names, we can probe the server for more information.

This command will print information about the System Temperature and FAN RPMs.

  • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword sensor reading "Temp" "Fan1A" "Fan1B" "Fan2A" "Fan2B" "Fan3A" "Fan3B" "Fan4A" "Fan4B"

Note: “TEMP” was the name of my sensor, You can try “Ambient Temperature” for your server if you want to see the temperature of the CPU. Also, the fan names are case sensitive. So save yourself a few moments of troubleshooting by using the name as reported in iDRAC.

This command will print out a ton of information about the Fans, stats for nerds basically.

  • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword sdr get "Fan1A" "Fan1B" "Fan2A" "Fan2B" "Fan3A" "Fan3B" "Fan4A" "Fan4B"

This command will enable manual fan control

  • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x00

This command will disable manual fan control

  • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x01

These commands will set the fan speed

  • 0% Fan Speed

    • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x00
  • 20% Fan Speed

    • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x14
  • 30% Fan Speed

    • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x1e
  • 50% Fan Speed

    • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x32
  • 70% Fan Speed

    • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x46
  • 80% Fan Speed

    • ipmitool -I lanplus -H yourIPAddress -U yourUsername -P yourPassword raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x50

You can set any fan speed you want, all you have to do is set the last hex value to your desired speed. Convert Decimal to Hex in order to set the speed you want, aka, 80% in Decimal gives us a Hex value of 0x50.

Script and Cron job

I didn’t have to make a script or cron job to keep my fans at 20%. I ran the commands once and they stuck, even after a few reboots. Because of this I did not need to do any scripts or cron jobs. If you find yourself in need of keep your server quiet check out this link for some more help!

Conclusion

This is a great way to quiet down your Dell server. I love how much noise it reduces. How loud is the Dell R330, well at idle it was about 50 decibels. After setting the fans to 20%, the server was only about 40 decibels. In truth though, I’m not actually sure if the server is 40 decibels or if it is my Eaton UPS making all the noise. Both the UPS and the server are almost as loud as each other. However, I can say for sure, you can use ipmi to make your Dell server quiet. Hopefully you have iDRAC, because without it. I’m not sure if it is possible. I’m guessing you could also quiet down a R710, R720, R510, R520, R410, R420, R820, R830, R610, R620, T330, T230, and well um any of them I suppose. The command just my deviate a bit.

As always if you have any questions feel free to drop a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.