Operating System - OpenVMS

EFI partition on OpenVMS

The Brit
Honored Contributor

EFI partition on OpenVMS

Am I correct in my belief that the EFI partition on an OpenVMS Blade (BL860c) is on the System Disk?
And the second Question, Does this mean that I have to have an OS loaded before I can access the EFI partition. (e.g. to do F/W upgrades)

Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

You can do firmware upgrades by booting from a DVD (perhaps using vMedia).

There is a part of a VMS system disk which appears as a FAT partition when using the EFI console.
Purely Personal Opinion
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

Software is on the disk(s). Firmware is in
the chip(s). A firmware upgrade does not use
or require a disk (other than the one,
typically a CD or DVD, with the upgrader
stuff on it).
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

Thanks for the help so far guys, but I am still looking for clarification. I have update files, one is .nsh, and one is .efi.

The installation instructions indicate that these files should be FTP'd to the server needing the update, and then use the appropriate utility/command (EFI$CP) to move the files to the "efi partition", specifically, to "/efi/hp/firmware/update_SFW.nsh" (same for the *.efi file).

My question is; When this copy is complete, where are the files physically located, on disk, or in memory, or ???


Volker Halle
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS


if you have no OpenVMS I64 system disk on your system, then there is no EFI partition on the disk. The EFI partition on an OpenVMS I64 system disk is SYS$LOADABLE_IMAGES:SYS$EFI.SYS.

From the ECI$CP help text:

"EFI$CP is not supported for customer use.â

â This EFI$CP utility should only be used under the explicit direction of HP Customer Services.â

Consider to use other means to updating whatever firmware you are about to update.

Once you've updated the firmware, it sits in some NVRAM or similar inside the hardware.

The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

Thanks Ian/Steven/Volke

I will stay away from EFI$CP!!

The USB CD/DVD option is possible although I have heard that it is very "picky" about the specific make and model of the CD/DVD drive. Any comment?

vMedia might work, although I need to track down some documentation.

My other alternative would be to move the files from a USB thumb drive, to the EFI partion, at the SHELL!


Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

I know the details of the innards of EFI$CP and the innards of the OpenVMS I64 disk overlay, um, hack.

One of the usual paths for an Integrity firmware upgrade (there are several) is to burn an ISO (raw disk image) of the new firmware, and boot it.

Another option is to network boot the firmware from the EFI console.

Or use a FAT partition on a scratch disk. EFI$CP can be used to that end; to create an empty FAT partition on a disk and load firmware from that without serious effort. You don't need OpenVMS or anything else on the disk.

If you want to have the firmware loaded on a non-scratch magnetic disk (eg: an OpenVMS I64 system disk), yes, you can use the FAT partition and can (when reduced to just one disk in any shadowset) can upgrade from there.

It's also trivial to add a FAT partition onto an existing and populated disk, too, and without disturbing the existing disk contents. EFI$CP works fine here, too.

My preference here -- in terms of its sheer brainlessness -- is to use COPY /RECORDABLE_MEDIA or CDburnerXP Pro (I prefer to avoid Nero) or the Mac Disk Utility to burn a firmware CD. And to then boot it.

If you'd like to chat about any of these offline, let me know.

Stephen Hoffman
HoffmanLabs LLC
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

///My other alternative would be to move the files from a USB thumb drive, to the EFI partion, at the SHELL!///

You can often/usually reference the contents a FAT-format USB drive from the EFI Shell>, but you're probably not moving files from there to the Shell.

(The shell needs to have some storage around, whether it's on a disk or on a DVD or embedded elsewhere. There's been some work to do a memory disk image boot path; something that is roughly analogous to the old two-step VMBUVAX1.EXE VMB.EXE two-step boot path that was around twenty-some years ago.)
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

In this case, the firmware update file is in the form of an "*.tar.gz" file. The instructions (for all the documented OS's) is to unpack this file and ftp the contents, i.e. the *.nsh and *.efi files "to the server requiring the update."

The installation instructions then go on to describe the commands used on each OS to move these files to the EFI partition.

Of course, OpenVMS is not one of the "documented" OS's, and the instructions then jump to the "OS-independent" section, where the assumption is that you have already successfully placed the files in the EFI partition.

The blades I am trying to update are BL860c blades which have not even been powered up yet. I don't know if they came with FIS on the (one) internal disk, however I dont want to mess it up if it did. I am not really ready to boot the OpenVMS OS yet, so I was trying to see how far I could get before that is absolutely necessary.

Semi-related question: If I power on the blade, and it has FIS on the disk, is it going to go ahead and boot, or can I abort before it messes up the Factory Installed Software???


Matt Muggeridge
Occasional Advisor

Re: EFI partition on OpenVMS

>And the second Question, Does this mean
>that I have to have an OS loaded before I
>can access the EFI partition. (e.g. to do
>F/W upgrades)

With regards F/W upgrades, I find DVD and other media are not useful when the machine is located remotely. In fact, I find it a pain to use DVD most times ;).

I prefer to use FTP. Here's how I do it on my remote rx2620.

First extract the "update_sfw.efi" from the HP support *.tar.gz file. Save it on a machine anywhere in your network, (not on the same machine you are flashing though).

Back on my rx2620, I enter the EFI Shell...

Shell> fs0:
fs0:\> cd EFI\VMS\TOOLS
fs0:\EFI\VMS\TOOLS> startup_net
fs0:\EFI\VMS\TOOLS> ifconfig -a
... this lists the interface names ...
... I select sni0 ...

fs0:\EFI\VMS\TOOLS> ifconfig sni0
... replace with an available IP address on your network ...

fs0:\EFI\VMS\TOOLS> ifconfig sni0
... verifies address is configured ...
... look for UP and RUNNING flags ...

... you may have to create the UPDATE directory ...

... assumes update_sfw.efi is on ...
... after logging on, you'll be at ftp> prompt ...

ftp> bin
ftp> get update_sfw.efi
ftp> exit

fs0:\EFI\VMS\UPDATE> dir
... you will see update_sfw.efi ...

fs0:\EFI\VMS\UPDATE> update_sfw
... firmware update starts ...