BladeSystem Server Blades

PCI Expansion Blade firmware question

Trusted Contributor

PCI Expansion Blade firmware question

Stefan had a PCI Expansion Blade firmware update question:




As I understand it, the PCI Expansion Blade firmware is bundled/included in the OA firmware.

So for example OA 3.50 should contain PCI Expansion Blade firmware 2.26


Is there an easy way to find out which OA Firmware, have contained which PCI E Blade firmware?

I have tried the OA Revision History, nothing there.




Info from Monty:


If the enclosure contains a PCI Expansion blade – then the OA firmware summary will list the current firmware version and available firmware version for that adapter xMIC in the Enclosure Component Firmware list.


The OA Release History will document changes to component firmware and which OA version introduced that firmware.


Although the Insight Display and Fan microcontroller firmware versions are listed in that section – they have never been updated in the entire history of c-Class.  We have introduced different Insight Display and Fan hardware which requires slightly different firmware from the original enclosure – but never had to update those versions.


The OA Tray contains the enclosure power microcontroller – which the OA uses for power supply subsystem management.  This micro is automatically updated if necessary by the active OA immediately after it updates its firmware.


All the other enclosure component firmware is updated manually using the documented OA CLI “update device” command.  This operation will cycle power to the partner blade and must be done with the partnered server powered off as the OS will otherwise crash. These partner blade component firmware updates should only be done during a maintenance window for the partnered server.




From Eirik:

The OA-firmware also contains firmware for both ethernet and fc-passthrough modules (before 10G atleast) right ? Is this firmware also just for power and cooling or does it serve a deeper purpose ? (the latter was my impression as I have seen suggestions to update the PT-firmware).


Reply from Monty:

No – the OA firmware only contains the ISMIC component firmware on every interconnect – and we have never had to upgrade that firmware.


The Pass-through interconnect modules have a different microcontroller and that firmware is upgraded in a different process (or not upgradeable at all) – as documented in the user guide for that pass through module.


The Pass-Tthrough module microcontrollers are responsible for controlling the PHYs on the uplink connectors.  In the case of the 10Gb Ethernet Pass-Through Module, it actually has a CLI interface accessible through the OA CLI “connect interconnect” command – and those commands are documented in that pass through module user guide.


The ISMIC component on every interconnect module is responsible for power control, cooling sensors for some interconnects, and controlling the interconnect UID LED.  In addition it has some information provided by an interconnect management processor like interconnect Health status.  The ISMIC is the OA control point for each interconnect module.


Input from Eirik:

It has never been upgraded ? I’m pretty sure I have had to issue the “update device” command on FC-passthrough modules, this firmware was newer in the firmware overview after upgrading the OA firmware, I can’t remember the version numbers though since it’s about 2 years ago last time a saw a passhtrough.


And back from Monty:

Good memory Eirik - I stand corrected J.


My search of the current OA firmware release history found two instances of updating the 1Gb Ethernet Pass-thru module PIC firmware from the OA, and I found one Customer Advisory on updating the original 4Gb FC pass-thru module in 2007:





Version: 3.31 (1 Jun 2011)



Problems Fixed:


  • Fixed an issue where false Link status may be indicated when the certain NIC adapters are mapped to an HP 1 Gb Ethernet Pass-Thru Module even when no cable is attached (as described in the Customer Advisory c02473928). OA 3.31 contains the corrected 1Gb Ethernet Pass-Thru PIC Firmware version 3.0.3. PIC Firmware upgrade procedure is shown below.

Detailed Description: HP NC550m, NC551m, NC552m, or NC553i 10GbE Server Adapters may indicate a false link status when mapped to an HP 1 Gb Ethernet Pass-thru module even if there is no cable attached from the Pass-thru module to the switch. Even if a cable is either not connected or becomes inadvertently unplugged, and therefore no network connectivity is present, the server blade front panel NIC LED status will be illuminated green, indicating link. In addition, the operating system will display a message similar to, "Local area connection is now connected." This can also cause Network teaming and configuration issues because the NIC will always report that there is link.

In addition, the HP System Management Homepage (SMH) NIC status is displayed incorrectly when a NIC cable is unplugged under any Linux operating system.

This only occurs with the 1 Gb Pass-thru module. 10 Gb Pass-thru and 1/10Gb switches do not exhibit this issue.

Resolution: for the applicable configurations described above, upgrade the OA Firmware to 3.31, and follow the procedure below for all 1 Gb Pass-thru modules in the enclosure:

  1. Log into the OA CLI interface as an Administrator
  2. OA> show update
    This will show current and available firmware versions for programmable devices. OA 3.31 will indicate the newly available Pass-Thru PIC Firmware 3.0.3.
  3. OA> update device icbay <bay number | all>
    This will update the specified interconnect bay, note that bay1 is 1A, etc., as shown in the previous command
  4. OA> show update
    Run this again to confirm that the versions now match






Version: 2.01 (29 Jun 2007)



  • V2.00 firmware includes the updated firmware for the following devices. Use the CLI Update command to update these devices as required.
    • HP StorageWorks SB40c Storage Blade
      • Corrected the issue where the SB40c may go offline and disconnect from the partner Blade server.
    • HP StorageWorks Ultrium 448c Tape Blade
      • Corrected the issue where the tape blade may go offline and disconnect from the partner Blade server.
    • Ethernet Pass-through module
      • Corrected the issue of activity LED being ON when there is no link.
      • Corrected the issue of long link up-time on the copper port.



The firmware for the Storage Blade and Tape Blade was only the SASMIC and TAPEMIC microcontrollers – not firmware on the PCIe storage adapters inside those blades.  That storage controller firmware is only updated by running the SPP on the partnered server.


SUPPORT COMMUNICATION - CUSTOMER ADVISORY Document ID: c01300132 Version: 1 Advisory: HP 4Gb Fibre Channel Pass-Thru Module for HP BladeSystem c-Class May Cause HBA Ports to Exhibit Low SAN Bandwidth or Become Unresponsive Under Certain Conditions

NOTICE: The information in this document, including products and software versions, is current as of the Release Date. This document is subject to change without notice.

Release Date: 2007-12-12 Last Updated: 2007-12-12




The PIC micro in the Ethernet and FC Pass-Through modules are very tiny with no user interface – so it was decided the only way to update those PICs was from the OA, and as the images were only a couple of Kbytes they are packaged in every OA firmware image.  Since the 1Gb Ethernet Pass-Thru had a second update, that version is carried in all OA versions from 3.31 to the present.




Lots of info. Comments?