Lenovo XClarity AdministratorProduct Guide

Updated
28 Jun 2021
Form Number
TIPS1200
PDF size
17 pages, 863 KB

Abstract

Lenovo XClarity™ Administrator is a centralized resource management solution that is aimed at reducing complexity, speeding response, and enhancing the availability of Lenovo® server systems and solutions.

This product guide provides essential presales information to understand the Lenovo XClarity Administrator offering and its key features, specifications, and compatibility. This guide is intended for technical specialists, sales specialists, sales engineers, IT architects, and other IT professionals who want to learn more about Lenovo XClarity Administrator and consider its use in IT solutions.

Change History

Changes in the June 28, 2021 update:

  • Updated the list of supported host operating systems
  • Updated the list of supported operating systems for OS deployment
  • Updated the XClarity mobile app support list
  • Added information about XClarity Pro licensing
  • Added additional information about Task automation using scripting
  • Updated various links

Introduction

Lenovo XClarity™ Administrator is a centralized resource management solution that is aimed at reducing complexity, speeding response, and enhancing the availability of Lenovo® server systems and solutions.

Lenovo XClarity Administrator runs as a virtual appliance and provides agent-free hardware management that automates discovery, inventory, tracking, updates, monitoring, and provisioning for Lenovo® server systems, storage, network switches, hyperconverged and ThinkAgile solutions. A single XClarity Administrator instance supports managing a maximum of 1,000 devices.

Lenovo XClarity Administrator
Figure 1. Lenovo XClarity Administrator dashboard

Did you know?

Lenovo XClarity offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The app enables you to securely monitor physical systems, get real-time status alerts and notifications, and take action on common system level tasks. The app can also connect directly via an enabled USB port to a ThinkSystem server and provide virtual LCD capability.

Features

The XClarity Administrator dashboard is an HTML 5-based web interface that allows fast location of resources so tasks can be run quickly. Because Lenovo XClarity Administrator does not include any agent software that is installed on the managed endpoints, there are no CPU cycles spent on agent execution and no memory is used, which means that up to 1GB of RAM and 1 - 2% CPU usage is saved, compared to a typical managed system where an agent is required.

Lenovo XClarity Administrator delivers Lenovo resources faster. With a simplified administration dashboard, the following functions can be easily achieved:

  • Discovery
  • Inventory
  • Monitoring
  • Firmware compliance
  • Firmware updates
  • Windows device driver updates
  • Configuration management and compliance
  • Deployment of operating systems and hypervisors to bare metal servers

Fast time to value is realized through automatic discovery of existing or new Lenovo rack servers and Flex System infrastructure. Inventory of the discovered endpoints is gathered, so the managed hardware inventory and its status can be viewed-at-a-glance.

A centralized view of events and alerts that are generated from managed endpoints is available. When an issue is detected by a managed endpoint, an event is passed to Lenovo XClarity Administrator. Alerts and events are visible via the XClarity Administrator Dashboard, the Status bar, and the Alerts and Events detail for the specific system.

Supported endpoints include:

  • ThinkSystem servers and compute nodes
  • Flex System Compute Nodes
  • System x Servers
  • ThinkServer Servers
  • ThinkAgile solutions
  • Hyperconverged solutions
  • NeXtScale servers
  • RackSwitch switches
  • ThinkSystem storage
  • Lenovo storage

Firmware management

Firmware management is simplified by assigning Firmware-compliance policies to supported managed endpoints to ensure that firmware on those endpoints remains compliant. You can also create and edit firmware-compliance policies when validated firmware levels do not match the suggested predefined policies. Additionally, you can also apply and activate firmware that is later than the currently installed firmware on a single managed endpoint or group of endpoints without using compliance policies.

Windows Device Driver updates

Starting with v2.1.0, XClarity Administrator utilizes Windows UpdateXpress System Packs (UXSPs) to enable the update of the OS device drivers on deployed Windows operating systems. Windows UXSPs contain Windows device drivers for supported Windows versions and for Lenovo servers that supports Windows. You can download or import Windows UXSPs in the repository. UXSPs must be available in the repository before you can update Windows device drivers on managed severs.

Configuration management and compliance

Configuration management uses pattern-based configurations to quickly provision and re-provision a single server or multiple servers and compute nodes, all with a single set of configuration settings. Settings to configure include local storage, I/O adapters, boot order, and other baseboard management controller and UEFI settings on managed servers. Server patterns also integrate support for virtualizing I/O addresses, so you can virtualize server fabric connections or repurpose servers without disruption to the fabric.

Additionally, if the settings on a server change, you can determine the compliance status of each server from within the Configuration Patterns Server Profiles page.

Configuration support for CNOS-based RackSwitch networking switches has been added starting with XClarity Administrator 2.4.0. This feature provides template creation, editing and deployment for global settings, port channel, spine-leaf, VLAG and VLAN.

OS Provisioning

OS Provisioning enables bare metal deployment. Images of the following operating systems and hypervisors can be imported and held in a repository for images:

  • VMware vSphere hypervisor (ESXi)
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Server with Hyper-V
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • Ubuntu Server
  • CentOS

A maximum of 10 Images can be stored within the repository and it is possible to deploy operating-system images to up to 28 bare-metal servers concurrently.

Security

Lenovo XClarity Administrator includes several features that can help you secure your environment. These include:

  • When you manage Lenovo chassis and servers in XClarity Administrator, you can configure XClarity Administrator to change the firewall rules for the devices so that incoming requests are accepted only from XClarity Administrator. This is referred to as encapsulation.
  • If you must be compliant with NIST SP 800-131A or FIPS 140-2, XClarity Administrator can help you meet that compliance. XClarity Administrator supports self-signed SSL certificates (issued by an internal certificate authority) or external SSL certificates (private or commercial CA).
  • When changing cryptographic settings within XClarity Administrator you can choose to apply the settings to the management server only, to the managed devices only, or both.
  • XClarity Administrator includes an audit log that provides a historical record of user actions, such as logging on, creating users, or changing user passwords.

Integration

XClarity Administrator can be integrated into external, higher level management, automation, and orchestration platforms using the XClarity Integrators, through SNMP and through open REST application programming interfaces (APIs). This means Lenovo XClarity can easily integrate with your existing management infrastructure.

Lenovo XClarity Integrators

Lenovo XClarity integrates with leading management applications in the areas of infrastructure management, orchestration and automation, and IT service management.

Available integrators include the following:

Ordering information for those integrators requiring a license is described in the Download and ordering information section.

Support entitlement for Lenovo XClarity Integrators for VMware and Microsoft, is included in Lenovo XClarity Pro offering which is described in the next section. For details on Support click on Scope of Support tab at https://support.lenovo.com/gb/en/solutions/lnvo-xclarit

Lenovo XClarity Pro

Lenovo XClarity Pro provides the following entitlement:

  • Lenovo XClarity Administrator Configuration Pattern feature entitlement
  • Lenovo XClarity Administrator OS deployment feature entitlement
  • Reporting XClarity Administrator software problems using Call Home
  • Lenovo XClarity Administrator Service & Support
  • Lenovo XClarity Integrator for Microsoft Service & Support
  • Lenovo XClarity Integrator for VMware Service & Support

Lenovo XClarity Administrator is available for download from the following URL:
https://datacentersupport.lenovo.com/us/en/xclaritytrial

This download provides Lenovo XClarity Administrator base functionality plus a 90-day trial evaluation licenses for XClarity Administrator features Configuration Patterns and bare metal operating system deployment.

Note: Reporting XClarity Administrator software problems using Call Home, and Service and Support for XClarity Administrator and XClarity Integrators are only available with an XClarity Pro purchase.

The following table compares features included with XClarity Administrator base and with addition of XClarity Pro license.

Table 1. Comparing Lenovo XClarity Administrator and Lenovo XClarity Pro features
Feature Lenovo XClarity
Administrator
Lenovo
XClarity Pro
Licensing and Support
License Free Licensed
Service and Support No Yes
Key Features
REST APIs and XClarity Integrators Yes Yes
Auto-discovery and asset management Yes Yes
Real-time monitoring, fault handling, alert notification, and call home Yes Yes
Firmware update management Yes Yes
Configuration patterns No Yes
Operating system and hypervisor installation No Yes
Reporting XClarity Administrator software problems using Call Home No Yes

Lenovo XClarity mobile app

The Lenovo XClarity mobile app provides management functions on Android and iOS devices:

  • View the status summary of all hardware.
  • Monitor the detailed status of each device.
  • Monitor the inventory of each device.
  • Monitor audit events, hardware and management events, alerts, and jobs.
  • Perform power actions on a device.
  • Take action on common system level tasks to minimize the risk of disruptions and downtime
  • Forward emails to share inventory, alert and event information.
  • On ThinkSystem servers: Perform initial configuration of servers, retrieve diagnostic information (virtual LCD) and perform actions, Initiate Lenovo XClarity Administrator management from a mobile device.

Support requirements are as follows:

  • Supports Android 7 to 10, and iOS 10 and later.
  • Requires Lenovo XClarity Administrator v1.2.1 or later.

Note:

  • Android 5 is supported only for XClarity Mobile 2.3.0 and earlier.
  • iOS 8 is supported only for XClarity Mobile v1.3.0 and earlier
  • iOS 9 is supported only for XClarity Mobile v1.3.1 and earlier
  • The facial recognition feature of iPhone X/XR/XS devices is not supported.

The following figure shows the Inventory screen of the mobile app.

XClarity mobile app
Figure 2. Lenovo XClarity mobile app

The mobile app is available for download from these app stores:

Management tasks

By using Lenovo XClarity Administrator, users can perform the following tasks that are described in this section.

User Management

Lenovo XClarity Administrator provides a centralized authentication server to create and manage all user accounts and to manage and authenticate user credentials. The authentication server is created automatically when the management server first starts. The User accounts, which are used to log on and manage the Lenovo XClarity Administrator, can also be used for all chassis and servers that are managed by the Lenovo XClarity Administrator. When you create a user account, you control the level of access, such as whether the account has read/write authority or read-only authority, by using role groups.

When devices are initially managed by Lenovo XClarity Administrator, a predefined set of role groups can have permission to access the devices by default. This predefined set is empty by default until it is configured. You can change the role groups that can access specific managed devices. When permission is given to certain role groups, only users that are members of those role groups can see and act on those specific devices.

By default, devices are managed using XClarity Administrator managed authentication to log in to the devices. When managing rack servers and Lenovo chassis, you can choose to use managed authentication or local authentication to log in to the devices.

The following figure shows the Lenovo XClarity Administration interface for Security that comprises of User Management, Roles, and other security settings.

XClarity User Management
Figure 3. User management interface

Hardware monitoring

Lenovo XClarity Administrator provides a centralized view of events and alerts that are generated from managed endpoints, such as chassis components, servers, storage devices and network switches. When an issue is detected an event is passed to the Lenovo XClarity Administrator. That event is displayed in the alerts list that is available within the user interface. A status bar also is available that provides overall status information on the main XClarity Administrator interface. An example list of alerts is shown in the following figure. This view can be filtered to show specific alert severity. Additionally, the view can also be filtered by dates and alert sources or via the search filter.

16.4A64.jpg
Figure 4. Alerts and actions

Hardware management

There are various management tasks for each supported endpoint, including viewing status and properties, configuring system information and network settings, starting the CMM/BMC/IMM/XCC web interface, and remote control for the severs and Flex nodes. Note, the Feature on Demand (FoD) key for remote presence is required on ThinkSystem, ThinkAgile Solutions, NeXtScale, and System x servers if not included as standard.The options available for Power Actions on a selected ThinkSystem server is shown in the following figure.

Hardware Management
Figure 5. Hardware Management

Configuration management

Configuration patterns provide a way to ensure that you have consistent configurations applied to managed servers. Server patterns are used to provision or pre-provision a managed server by configuring local storage, I/O adapters, boot setting, firmware, ports, IMM, and UEFI settings. Server patterns also integrate support for virtualizing I/O addresses so you can virtualize Flex System fabric connections or re-purpose servers without disruption to the fabric.

You can also determine whether the settings on a server are in compliance with the server profile. The settings on a server can become out of compliance with its server profile if settings are changed without using Configuration Patterns or if an issue occurred during deployment, such a firmware issue or an invalid setting.

Operating system deployment

Lenovo XClarity Administrator can be used to manage the OS images repository and deploy operating system images to managed servers. To deploy an operating system image from Lenovo XClarity, at least one of the network interfaces (Eth0 or Eth1) must have IP network connectivity to the server network interface that is used to access the host operating system. It also must be configured with an IPv4 address. Note, the Feature on Demand (FoD) key for remote presence is required on ThinkSystem, ThinkAgile Solutions, NeXtScale, and System x servers if not included as standard.

Firmware updates

Within Lenovo XClarity, you can manage the firmware updates repository and apply and activate firmware updates for all managed endpoints. Compliance policies can be started to flag managed endpoints that do not comply with the defined firmware rules. Refreshing the repository and downloading updates requires an Internet connection. If Lenovo XClarity has no Internet connection, you can manually import updates to the repository. The firmware apply and activate interface is shown in the following figure.

Firmware updates
Figure 6. Firmware updates

Task automation using scripts

Lenovo XClarity Administrator provides a PowerShell, Python, Ruby toolkits, and REST APIs that can be used to generate scripts to automate management functions.

XClarity Administrator can run the provided cmdlets in a Microsoft PowerShell session to automate certain management functions. The cmdlets use Lenovo XClarity REST APIs and can automate the following functions:

  • Logging in to XClarity Administrator
  • Managing and unmanaging chassis, servers, storage devices, and top-of-rack switches (devices)
  • Collecting inventory data for devices and components
  • Deploying an operating-system image to one or more servers
  • Configuring servers through the use of Configuration Patterns
  • Applying firmware updates to devices
  • Managing user accounts
  • Monitoring events

XClarity Administrator offers a PyLXCA toolkit which provides a Python-based library of commands and APIs to automate provisioning and resource management from an OpenStack environment, such as Ansible or Puppet.

The PyLXCA toolkit provides an interface to Lenovo XClarity Administrator REST APIs to automate functions such as:

  • Logging in to Lenovo XClarity Administrator
  • Managing and unmanaging chassis, servers, storage systems, and top-of-rack switches (endpoints)
  • Viewing inventory data for endpoints and components
  • Deploying an operating-system image to one or more servers
  • Configuring servers through the use of Configuration Patterns
  • Applying firmware updates to endpoints

Lenovo also provides the Lenovo XClarity Ruby toolkit which is supported to automate resource management from an OpenStack environment, such as Ansible, Chef, or Puppet. The Ruby toolkit provides an interface to Lenovo XClarity Administrator REST APIs to automate functions (see Lenovo XClarity Administrator Ruby toolkit) such as:

  • Logging in to XClarity Administrator
  • Managing and unmanaging chassis, servers, storage devices, and top-of-rack switches (devices)
  • Viewing inventory data for devices and components
  • Deploying an operating-system image to one or more servers
  • Configuring servers through the use of Configuration Patterns
  • Applying firmware updates to devices

Download and ordering information

Migrating from v1.x.x? For information on migrating to XClarity Administrator v2.1.x from a previous release (1.x.x) please refer to the Lenovo XClarity Administrator Quick Start Guide.

Tip: If running a version of XClarity v1.x.x you must update to v1.4.1 then you must migrate your system to v2.0.0 then upgrade to v2.1.0.

Lenovo XClarity Administrator is available to download from Lenovo at the following link:

https://datacentersupport.lenovo.com/us/en/xclaritytrial

The free download includes a 90-day evaluation license for Configuration Patterns and Operating System Deployment to allow you to evaluate these licensed components.

Lenovo XClarity Integrators for Microsoft are also available to download for free from the following links (XClarity Pro License required for technical support):

Lenovo XClarity integrator for VMware is also available to download for free from the following link (XClarity Pro License required for technical support):

Note: The free downloads for both XClarity Administrator and XClarity Integrators do not include any entitlement for technical support. To gain entitlement for technical support, you will need to purchase a license for Lenovo XClarity Pro per physical managed device.

Each Lenovo XClarity Pro license provides the following entitlements for a single device (for details on which devices XClarity Administrator can managed see Supported Devices in the online help):

  • Service and support for Lenovo XClarity Integrator for Microsoft & VMware
  • Service and support for XClarity Administrator
  • Advanced functions within XClarity Administrator:
    • Configuring servers using Configuration Patterns
    • Deploying operating systems
    • Reporting XClarity Administrator problems using software Call Home (Call Home for hardware alerts are not affected.)

You must purchase a license for each managed device to be entitled to service and support. However, compliance is determined based on the number of managed devices that support the advanced functions. The license is not tied to a specific device.

Lenovo XClarity Pro editions are available with a 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year software subscription and support. Lenovo XClarity Pro is available on a per-managed-endpoint basis or per-managed-chassis basis. The per-chassis licenses offer a more cost-effective way of purchasing licenses for the Flex System environment.

The part numbers are listed in the following tables.

Table 2. Lenovo XClarity Pro part numbers: Per managed endpoint
Description Part number
Lenovo XClarity Pro, per Managed Endpoint w/1 Yr SW S&S 00MT201
Lenovo XClarity Pro, per Managed Endpoint w/3 Yr SW S&S 00MT202
Lenovo XClarity Pro, per Managed Endpoint w/5 Yr SW S&S 00MT203
Table 3. Lenovo XClarity Pro part numbers: Per managed chassis
Description Part number
Lenovo XClarity Pro, per Managed Chassis w/1 Yr SW S&S 00MT198
Lenovo XClarity Pro, per Managed Chassis w/3 Yr SW S&S 00MT199
Lenovo XClarity Pro, per Managed Chassis w/5 Yr SW S&S 00MT200

When you purchase XClarity Pro, the order is fulfilled via electronic software delivery (ESD) using the Lenovo Key Management System (LKMS). The order is placed onto LKMS using an email address for the end user who has ordered the code. This email address is where the Activation Code is sent in PDF format (the email will come from lkmsdev@lenovo.com). The recipient email address is the login to the LKMS system for administration and to manage the LKMS inventory.

The Activation code is redeemed via LKMS and the information about the end customer should be entered during the redemption process.

For more information on how to redeem the Authorization Code, downloading the XClarity Administrator License key, and importing the license key into the XClarity Administrator appliance, the Update License page in the online help.

Licenses are installed using a license activation key file, in .KEY format or as a .zip file (which consists of multiple .key files). After you redeem licenses, you can create an activation key for all or a subset of your available licenses (Note this can only be done at the time of redemption), and then download and install the activation key in XClarity Administrator per instructions as described in the Update License page in the online help.

Note: The number of managed devices must not exceed the total number of licenses in all active license keys. If XClarity Administrator is not in compliance with the installed licenses (for example, if licenses expire or if managing additional devices exceeds the total number of active licenses), you have a grace period of 90 days to install appropriate licenses. Each time XClarity Administrator becomes non-compliant, the grace period resets to 90 days. If the grace period (including the free trial) ends before licenses are compliant, advanced functions are disabled for all devices.

For example, if you manage an additional 100 ThinkSystem servers and 20 rack switches in an existing XClarity Administrator instance, you have 90 days to purchase and install 100 additional licenses before advanced functions are disabled in the user interface (for all devices). Licenses for the 20 rack switches are not needed to use the advanced functions; however, they are needed if you want service and support. If advanced functions are disabled, the advanced functions are re-enabled after you install enough licenses to be back in compliance. If you are using a free trial license or you have a grace period to become compliant, and you upgrade to a later version of XClarity Administrator, the trial license or grace period resets to 90 days.

The following table shows details on what happens to each of the premium functions on different versions of XClarity Administrator after the 90 day grace/evaluation period has expired. For more information, see the Update License page in the online help.

Table 4. What happens to premium features when license/grace period expires
XClarity Administrator Feature XClarity Administrator Version 2.6 and earlier XClarity Administrator Versions 2.7 and 2.8 XClarity Administrator Version 3.0 and later
Server configuration A warning is displayed when the grace period expires. A warning is displayed when the grace period expires. Licensing is enforced. This feature is disabled when the grace period expires.
Operation system deployment A warning is displayed when the grace period expires. A warning is displayed when the grace period expires. Licensing is enforced. This feature is disabled when the grace period expires.
Call Home for XClarity Administrator issues (Software Call Home) Licensing is enforced. The Software Call Home feature is disabled when licenses are out of compliance. There is no grace period for this feature. Note: Call Home for hardware alerts is not affected. Licensing is enforced. The Software Call Home feature is disabled when licenses are out of compliance. There is no grace period for this feature. Note: Call Home for hardware alerts is not affected. Licensing is enforced. The Software Call Home feature is disabled when licenses are out of compliance. There is no grace period for this feature. Note: Call Home for hardware alerts is not affected.

Supported Host Systems

The Lenovo XClarity management appliance runs in a virtual machine on the host system. The following Hypervisors are supported for installing Lenovo XClarity:

  • Citrix XenServer v7.6
  • Citrix Hypervisor 8.2
  • CentOS 7 and 81
  • Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2019 with Hyper-V installed
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2016 with Hyper-V installed
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V installed
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V installed
  • Red Hat v8.x with Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) v2.12.0 installed
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.x with Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) v1.2.17 installed
  • VMware ESXi 7.0 base and U1 and U2
  • VMware ESXi 6.7 base and U1, U22, and U3
  • VMware ESXi 6.5 U1 and U2
  • VMware ESXi 6.0 U1, U2 and U3
  • VMware ESXi 5.5 U1 and U2
  • VMware ESXi 5.1 U1, U2, and U3

Notes:

  1. CentOS Linux is no longer updated by Red Hat. Consider migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux instead (see the the Red Hat article How to convert from CentOS Linux or Oracle Linux to RHEL).
  2. For VMware ESXi 6.7 U2, you must use the ISO image VMware-ESXi-6.7.0.update02-13981272-LNV-20190630.iso or later).

For VMware, the virtual machine is available as an OVF template. For Hyper-V and Nutanix AHV, the virtual machine is a virtual-disk image (VHD). For KVM, the virtual machine is available as qcow2 format.

Important: For Hyper-V environments that run on Linux guests with a 2.6 kernel base and that use large amounts of memory for the virtual appliance, you must disable the use of non-uniform memory access (NUMA) on the Hyper-V Settings Panel from Hyper-V Manager. Changing this setting requires you to restart the Hyper-V service, which also restarts all running virtual machines. If this setting is not disabled, XClarity Administrator virtual appliance might experience problems during initial startup.

Hardware requirements

The host system that is running the Lenovo XClarity virtual machine has the following minimum requirements. Depending on the size of your environment and your use of Configuration Patterns, additional resources might be required for optimal performance:

  • Two virtual microprocessors
  • 8 GB of memory
  • A minimum of 192 GB of storage for use by Lenovo XClarity virtual appliance
  • Display with a minimum resolution of 1024 pixels in width (XGA)

For more information about minimum hardware recommendations based on the number of managed devices in your environment, see the Lenovo XClarity Administrator Performance white paper:
https://download.lenovo.com/servers_pdf/Lenovo_XClarity_Performance_V2.1.0.pdf

Supported Managed Endpoints

XClarity Administrator supports the following endpoints:

  • ThinkSystem servers and compute nodes
  • Flex System Compute Nodes
  • System x Servers
  • ThinkServer Servers
  • Converged HX Servers
  • NeXtScale servers
  • RackSwitch switches
  • ThinkSystem storage
  • Lenovo storage

For details about support, including any limitations, see the following support pages:

Related product families

Product families related to this document are the following:

Trademarks

Lenovo and the Lenovo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Lenovo in the United States, other countries, or both. A current list of Lenovo trademarks is available on the Web at https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/legal/copytrade/.

The following terms are trademarks of Lenovo in the United States, other countries, or both:
Lenovo®
Flex System
NeXtScale
RackSwitch
System x®
ThinkAgile
ThinkServer®
ThinkSystem
UpdateXpress System Packs
XClarity®

The following terms are trademarks of other companies:

Linux® is the trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.

Azure®, Hyper-V®, Microsoft®, PowerShell, Windows Server®, and Windows® are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

Other company, product, or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.