Wait … Why is this stuff so hard? — Hacking the Dell DRAC

We recently “destroyed” an Dell Poweredge R720 at the office and it was to be retired to the dust bin.  We ran the Dell updates for firmware things and the machine now is completely unbootable.  Too bad, it was a very nice machine.

But, this led me down an interesting road.  I cracked open the server and started removing components one by one.  Lo and behold I noted that there was a very interesting 4 pin connector on the motherboard labeled “DRAC UART”.  Hmmm … I thought this sounded interesting.  After scrounging up a multimeter, I verified that it was indeed a 3.3 volt connection and seemed to have a ground pin as well.

I grabbed a TTL to USB converted off of my coworkers desk and proceeded to hook it up.  I was surprised and amused to find out that the Dell DRAC 7 seems to be nothing more than a fancy OpenWRT instance running on a Hitachi SH4A 32bit microprocessor.