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Dell Lifecycle Controller -- a big Dell fiasco

News IPMI Recommended Links Updating the DRAC Firmware iDRAC7 goes unresponsive vFlash
RACADM Command Line Interface   Dell Lifecycle Controller iDRAC Service Module Dell PowerEdge M1000e Enclosure Dell Chassis Management Controll Getting console via ssh in DRAC
IPMI Configuring Platform Events iLO 3 -- HP engineering fiasco PERC controller Humor Etc

Dell Lifecycle Controller is a part of the Dell Remote Access Controller or iDRAC (Express, Enterprise and vFlash)  Looks like this is a flop. It added complexity without adequate return on investment in this additional complexity.  The key idea is to update firmware like Linux server is updated: you connect to particular Dell HTTPS server at and pull all the necessary upgrades:

But the devil is in details and you have chances to brick your server if something goes wrong, or versions of firmware that you have are way too old.

You can also use NFS share and store updates yourself on it: Dell Lifecycle Controller - Firmware Update Using Network Share- NFS (Network File System) - YouTube

The Lifecycle Controller firmware is pretty primitive and can't perform "staged" updates, when for example you have BIOS 1.4 and need first update it to 2.0 and than to 2.8. But you can't directly update it from 1.4 to 2.8. This staging would really easy to implement with software version of the same -- generated ISO running from vFlash. 

Dell provides the location to download all the necessary updates: Update PowerEdge Servers with Platform Specific Bootable ISO - Dell US. But unformtuatly . fpr examle for M630 that size of this is is 2.32GB which make it impossible to put it into vFlash: M630 - Driver Details Multiple versions of ISO are provided


The main objection against the introduction of Life Controller is the "excessive complexity" of this solution: why to add firmware when you already have vFlash and can do the same downloading and running ISO with all updates and more intelligent behaviour. Of course, out of laziness and stupidity Dell engineers did not yet eliminate 2GB limit of vFlash partition, which make usage of Dell ISO with firmware updates, mentioned above, simply impossible and kills this idea. But it is clear that a simple solution with equvalent capabilities is possible. 

Lifecycle controlled also provides "alternative" view on many pre-existing config screed including BIOS (boot order, etc) and DRAC.  The value of this alternative view is highlyquestionable with the exception of probably RAID (which could included in DRAC in any case and this would be more logical)

 And because this "alternative" view the while structure of Dell management now has "split personality" problem. This is probably more harmful then useful because, again, it adds the complexity while duplicating existing functionality.

Some features of the The Lifecycle Controller  might be useful for complex installations scripting which involves configuring complex RAID, etc. 

As for OS install and update this is a very questionable solution, which, again, duplicates the existing tool. See Lifecycle Controller - Operating System Installation Wizard from USB Key - Dell US For remote installations over VPN it does not provides anything useful: it just repackages the existing features. The only new element is the ability to configure RID.

What is interesting is then Dell support when asked to help with firmware updates usually does not use lifecycle controller.

Here how Dell tried to present this flop as a spectacular achievement:

Developed on the industry standard Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) platform and Web Services for Management (WSMan) interfaces, Lifecycle Controller provides an environment for console integration that also allows for custom scripting for Lifecycle Controller. Leading systems management consoles (e.g., Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager, BMC Software BladeLogic® Operations Manager, Symantec™ Deployment Solution, Dell™ Management Console) have integrated Dell Lifecycle Controller, thus offering its features and capabilities to existing infrastructures where those consoles are installed. 

Why did Dell develop Lifecycle Controller?

When Dell examined common management tasks and the inefficiencies associated with them, we discovered something interesting – it wasn’t the tools that were making management tasks take so long, it was how they were delivered. The most common activities like provisioning, deploying, and updating required multiple tools, multiple forms of media and scouring the Web for the latest enablement tools, including drivers and firmware. This traditional delivery model resulted in inefficient use of time, a potential for error and potential exposure to security risks.

Here are some flash cards from some (old) Dell presentation  on the topic

Embedded Management
Lifecycle Controller - Local GUI Lifecycle Controller - Web Services API

Lifecycle controller supports local 1-to-1 system management tasks via a graphical user interface (GUI) on the servers KVM for operating system install, updates, configuration, and for performing diagnostics, on single, local servers. This eliminates the need for multiple option ROMs for hardware configuration


Remote Services are standards-based interfaces that enable consoles to integrate, for example, bare-metal provisioning and one-to-many OS deployments, for servers located remotely. Dell’s Lifecycle Controller takes advantage of the capabilities of both USC and Remote Services to deliver significant advancement and simplification of server deployment.

Lifecycle Controller Serviceability aims at simplifying server reprovision and/or replacing failed parts and thus reduces maintenance downtime


 Highlighted White Papers
Quick Start Guide about Lifecycle Controller (LC) and using LC documentation

Consolidated LC and iDRAC white paper page


 Web Services Integration Tools
Best Practice Guide Best Practice scripts 2/17/2014
Web Service Interface Guide for Windows WinRM scripts 2/17/2014
Web Service Interface Guide for Linux WSMAN scripts 2/17/2014


Reference Specifications
Profiles Describes the behavior for each 12G feature and necessary classes, properties and methods as well as configurable management attributes that represent the feature.
MOFs Files that contain the normative description for DCIM classes, properties and method in the MOF format.
12G WSMAN API Changes Describes the configurable management attributes and methods that have been added, deleted or changed in behavior per platform component.
WSMAN Licenses and Privileges Lists all licensing and privilege requirements
LC XML Schema Guide Contains various schema descriptions including: LCL log, hardware inventory, message registry, attribute registry, and dependency XML
WSDLs The Web Services Description Language is an XML-based language that is used for describing the functionality offered by a Web service. A WSDL description of a web service (also referred to as a WSDL file) provides a machine-readable description of how the service can
be called, what parameters it expects, and what data structures it returns.
MOF-HTML The HTML version of the Lifecycle Controller 2 MOF files. It contains DMTF and DCIM classes in HTML format for easier search and browsing.



Attribute Registries (what are these?)
RAID Lists all attributes and properties for the RAID component in XML format 04/07/2014
NIC Lists all attributes and properties for the NIC component in XML format 04/07/2014
iDRAC Lists all attributes and properties for the iDRAC component in XML format 04/07/2014
BIOS Lists all attributes and properties for the BIOS component in XML format 04/07/2014
PCIe SSD Lists all attributes and properties for the PCIe SSD component in XML format 04/07/2014
FC HBA Lists all attributes and properties for the FC HBA component in XML format 04/07/2014
  (Previous Attribute Registries)  



Dell Event / Error Message Reference
Dell Event Message Reference (3.0) Describes all event and error message content from all DCIM Profiles, iDRAC, Lifecycle Controller, and OpenManage products in one document. (link to all OpenManage 7.3 docs)  OpenManage 7.3, iDRAC7,

LC2 Version 1.1

Dell Event Message Reference (2.0) Describes all event and error message content from all DCIM Profiles, iDRAC, Lifecycle Controller, and OpenManage products in one document. OpenManage 7.2, iDRAC7,

LC2 Version 1.1

Dell Event  Message Reference (1.0) Describes all event and error message content from all DCIM Profiles in one document. OpenManage 7.0, iDRAC7,

LC2 Version 1.0

Dell Test Event Notification Message Reference Contains the notification message content generated by the Dell iDRAC7 with Lifecycle Controller using the Test Event Generation feature for the following event action notification types:
  1. Email
  2. SNMP
  3. Remote Syslog

LC2 Version 1.1

Dell Message Registry - English (2.1) iDRAC and Lifecycle Controller event / error message data in XML with Dell XSL for viewing. iDRAC7,

LC2 Version 1.1

Dell Message Registry - English (2.0) iDRAC and Lifecycle Controller event / error message data in XML with Dell XSL for viewing. iDRAC7,

LC2 Version 1.0


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Old News ;-)

[Feb 26, 2021] How to update BIOS and firmware using Dell Lifecycle Controller - what to do when it doesn't work by Art of Server

Jan 29, 2020

In this video, I'm going to show you how to use the Dell Lifecycle Controller to update the BIOS and firmware of a 12th gen Dell PowerEdge server. This should normally be a straight-forward process, but unfortunately it doesn't always work as expected. So, I'm going to show you some of the issues you might encounter and how to workaround them.

Regarding the missing NIC in the LCC: so, after i made this video, after unplugging the power to the server and then powering it up again, the NIC became available again in the LCC. Looks like the NICs went away after the NIC firmware update and it seems to require a cold power cycle.

If you'd like to support this channel, consider shopping at my eBay store:​

eBay Partner Affiliate disclosure:

The eBay links in this video description are eBay partner affiliate links. By using these links to shop on eBay, you support my channel, at no additional cost to you. Even if you do not buy from the ART OF SERVER eBay store, any purchases you make on eBay via these links, will help support my channel. Please consider using them for your eBay shopping. Thank you for all your support! :-)

lp seem1 year ago


Thanks. For Dell I often create a custom, bootable ISO with all the updates. There is a huuuge Java app on Dell's site for doing that. It bypasses Lifecycle completely and includes all firmware updates, with exception of PSU firmware.

Recommended Links

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Softpanorama Recommended

LifeCycle Controller manual.

Dell Lifecycle Controller Overview - Introduction - YouTube

Dell iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller Overview Video - YouTube

PowerEdge R610 - Updating Firmwares When the LifeCycle Controller Fails - YouTube

How To- Dell R720 BIOS Flash - YouTube

Top articles


Deploying an Operating System using Lifecycle Controller – Manual Install method - YouTube

Installing RHEL on Dell with Lifecycle Controller - Red Hat Customer Portal

Dell Server Install OS with LifeCycle Controller - NovaOrdis Knowledge Base

Lifecycle Controller - Operating System Installation Wizard from USB Key - Dell US

How to install the operating system on a Dell PowerEdge Server- (OS deployment) - Dell Israel

Streamlined OS deployment using bootable USB devices and Lifecycle Controller

Dell CIM Profiles and MOF Files

iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller Technology Video Demos

Lifecycle Controller - Systems Management - Wiki - Systems Management - Dell Community



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Last modified: February, 26, 2021