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Benefits of HP's proprietary & unbundled NIC / HBA drives vs using the stock RHEL 6 ones?

 
anthony11
Regular Advisor

Benefits of HP's proprietary & unbundled NIC / HBA drives vs using the stock RHEL 6 ones?

I'm looking for informed thoughts on whether maintaining HP's HBA driver (hpsa?) and the various unbundled / proprietary NIC drivers on RHEL servers has a *tangible* benefit over the much-simpler strategy of just using the drivers bundled by Red Hat.

 

Servers are mostly DL300 G8 series, with a few DL380 G6, DL380 G7, and DL580 G7 systems.  Onboard GE NIC's plus several flavors of PCI-e 10GE.  HP Smart Array HBA's, the usual P410/P812/P420 etc. models.

 

Thanks.

 

 

3 REPLIES
Jimmy Vance
HPE Pro

Re: Benefits of HP's proprietary & unbundled NIC / HBA drives vs using the stock RHEL 6 ones?

Whenever possible just use the inbox drivers. Use the HP drivers whenever there is an out of cycle release or bug fix that hasn't made it upstream for the distribution vendors to pickup. For drivers like hpvsa, the only choice is to use the HP driver

 

 




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DanRobinson
Frequent Advisor

Re: Benefits of HP's proprietary & unbundled NIC / HBA drives vs using the stock RHEL 6 ones?

To add to what Jimmy said, HP has great relationships with Redhat and SUSE and some other Linux Distros and we actually do a lot of work to make sure those Distros get newer versions of HP divers built into them so you can use the inbox drivers.

The only time we really recommend using drivers from HP.com is if your distro is old and the drivers are really out of date, or you need some specific hotfix in the latest driver that may not be available for a few months while waiting for the next build of the distro.

So Tangible benefit is simply the wait time for fixes to work their way through the normal channels is reduced and the ability to get newer drivers on older builds.
anthony11
Regular Advisor

Re: Benefits of HP's proprietary & unbundled NIC / HBA drives vs using the stock RHEL 6 ones?

Interesting - thanks for the response.  Some months ago I was prompted by one of the alert email digests (that used to go out for the dozens of products I nominally subscribe to) to check the hpsa driver bundled by Red Hat, which *appeared* to be rather old.  I asked RH to update and they said it was in process.  Perhaps their confusing practices wrt version numbering are at play, and what they ship is more up-to-date than it would seem.

 

At one point last year I went to update NIC firmware (NC523SFP I think) and found that the scexe bundle wouldn't / couldn't apply the update with the stock driver - I had to hunt down a source RPM for the HP proprietary driver and figure out how to build it into the kernel.  ISTR later versions of the firmware update not needing those hoops, though.