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Firmware

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Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Firmware

Can I get into trouble when I use a high firmware version on an old machine with VMS 6.2 1H3 ? (eg alphaserver 1000 with 5.4)

Wim
Wim
20 REPLIES
Kris Clippeleyr
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Wim,
Although I'm not completely sure, I don't see that this can be problematic.
The booklet accompanying the firmware CD, always talks about "minimal acceptable FW".
In case of V6.2-1H3, the minimal FW should be on CD V3.6.
Greetz,
Kris (aka Qkcl)
I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on a silver-black phantom bike...
John Gillings
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: Firmware

Wim,

It shouldn't be a problem. Later versions just add new stuff and fix bugs, they don't take away old stuff.

If you're paranoid, just make sure you've got a firmware disk for the version you have that's working. Any sign of trouble, just revert to the known good version.

A crucible of informative mistakes
Kris Clippeleyr
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Wim,
Sorry, I hit the submit button too soon.
The booklet also states that

Later versions of firmware are supported with earlier versions of operating systems.

So, if any problem arises, you still can contact HP, and let them fix it :-;
Greetz,
Kris (aka Qkcl)

I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on a silver-black phantom bike...
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Kris,

Very well but my Alphaserver is running 6.2 1H3 with firmware 3.0 dd 1995 ...

Wim
Wim
Kris Clippeleyr
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Wim,


Very well but my Alphaserver is running 6.2 1H3 with firmware 3.0 dd 1995

That's nice. But I meant that the minimum FW for the combination V6.2-1H3 & AlphaServer 1000, is on the CD marked V3.6.
It could well be that on that CD, the FW version for an AlphaServer 1000is 3.0.
Greetz,
Kris (aka Qkcl)
I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on a silver-black phantom bike...
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Generally it should not. But YMMV.
Once I had an issue with a AS1000A 5/400 on which I upgraded the firmware and it would not boot. I think it was running VMS V7.1. I discovered that if I installed the current patches for that VMS version then it did boot.

____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

While on the subject : tried to download .exe firmware file. Not possible due to security of this bank.
It would be nice if HP offered the files as .txt ...

Wim
Wim
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

I created a diskette on VMS as described here
http://ftp.digital.com/pub/DEC/Alpha/firmware/readmes/archive/as1000.html#method_2
but now I get failed to open dva0.0.0.0.1
I power cycled the server (first time since 1995 I think) : no change.

What's wrong ?

Wim
Wim
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Just found in the release notes :

Minimum VMS version for firmware 5.4 is 7.2 !!!

So, not supported to use it with 6.2 1h3.

Wim
Wim
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Found cd version 5.4 and tried to boot from it. Hang. The drive itself works fine because I was able to boot VMS 7.3 on it (but that said to upgrade firmware).
Had to power cycle.

Found cd version 5.3 and tried to boot that. Idem.

Is the difference with 3.0 to big ?

Wim
Wim
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Hardware problem. Every boot goes wrong.

Wim
Wim
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Yes, there can be problems with firmware being 'to new'. I have seen such a case on an old AlphaServer 1000A whose firmware was made current by the service provider. On OpenVMS V7.1?, the graphics card was not properly initialized during a shutdown/reboot - it worked when the system was power-cycled.

The problem went away after I upgraded the system to OpenVMS V7.3-2.
.
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

I could sink into the ground of shame.

This node is connected to console manager but console=graphics was set (since 10 years ?).

Only the reaction of the 1000 is completely different from e.g. an AS500. You can enter the commands but the boot stops displaying on console after a few seconds. And control-p stops working.

I continue with the cd ...

Wim
Wim
Vladimir Fabecic
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

I also had problems with "to high" firmware.
Few years ago also had problems with AS1000a with OpenVMS 6.2. This AS1000a had no graphics card. Firmware was upgraded to 5.1 and after few days console (terminal) stopped responding. After downgrading firmware to 3.6 there was no problem. Machines with graphics card installed (with graphics console) had no such problem.
Also had problem with two ES40 with OpenVMS 7.3 in cluster. After upgrade to firmware 6.9 machine crashed during boot with some strange errors. I put back firmware 6.2 and everithing worked OK. I did not have such a problem with ES40 running OpenVMS 7.3-1.
In vino veritas, in VMS cluster
Colin Butcher
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Firmware

See SYS$SYSTEM:FIRM_REV_MATRIX.DAT - that's what defines whether you get a rude message about firmware version mismatch for your version of VMS. It's a text file - see attached.

Cheers, Colin.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem (Occam's razor).
Colin Butcher
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Firmware

Should have pointed out - that's from V8.2 Alpha.

And yes, you can go to too high a version of firmware for an older version of VMS. In general start with a firmware CD with a date of around when the OS version shipped, then come forward a few years in firmware terms.

Expecting a big difference in time (eg: firmware many years newer than the OS version) could be unreasonable. Think of all the qualification and testing you'd have to do to be able to support that wide range of versions.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem (Occam's razor).
Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

But that's only for firmware being too old for the version of OpenVMS that is booting, no?

I know that I didn't see a message in the case I have mentioned above.
.
Colin Butcher
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Firmware

There doesn't seem to be a matrix of what firmware operates with what version of VMS from both a minimum and maximum viewpoint. I guess you're into extracting the operating system version information from the firmware release notes and from the firmware matrix file. Even then - it may not give you what you hope to get.

Yes, you can end up in trouble when things change in the firmware and the old OS version breaks. I'm not sure that they test for that set of circumstances in their regression testing and compatability testing.

So, I guess the advice has to be along the lines of "run a version of firmware" that's roughly of the same vintage as your OS, on the principle that "if it ain't broke - why fix it?".

I wonder how many places (other than some of the places I go) rigorously test their applications with both the OS version (and all the LP versions) and the firmware version? Brings a whole new dimension to configuration control, especially with all the firmware in the IO adapters.

Cheers, Colin.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem (Occam's razor).
Chantal Horenburger
Occasional Visitor

Re: Firmware

Yes, we are struggling with that dilemma right now. We have a fabric that is shared between VMS clusters running 7.3-2 and 7.2-1. We would like to keep the controllers, etc. at the latest firmware, but we are having a hard time figuring out if there are compatability issues with VMS version and firmware on the various pieces of hardware. Any ideas or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Firmware

Anyone an idea for the previous post ?

Wim
Wim