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Processes to update firmware on blade system components

Regular Advisor

Processes to update firmware on blade system components

We have a couple of C7000 chassis, with dual OA modules, virtual connect enet and FC interconnects, and 5 BL645C blades in each chassis. The blades are all running VMWare.

I am trying to find out information on updating the firmware on all the various modules, but I'm getting confused on all the differnt download, utilities, etc. that seemto be needed.

We're fairly early in our VMWare conversion, so our VM count is small enough so we're able to migrate all the active virtual machines to one chassis, so the other will be free to do the updates on. After updating chassis #1, we'll migrate the virtual machines to it and update chassis #2.

We've been a Proliant shop for a long time, so I'm familiar with using the various firmware update tools on individual servers, but it seems like each component in the blade system has it's own way of updating.

Can someone please explain what exactly I need to do to get all the components up to the current firmware levels?

Any information would be appreciated.
Mike O.
Honored Contributor

Re: Processes to update firmware on blade system components

BL645c? That does not match any blade model I'm familiar with, is it a typo?
Also, many C-class blade models have up to three variations: the original model, the G5 model and the G6 model.

In general, you'll need
- the firmware update files (preferably the "Online update" versions, if available)
- a web browser (Firefox or IE)
- the Virtual Connect Support Utility for the VC interconnect modules

The order of updates is somewhat important: you must update the components in the individual blades to required firmware versions (or newer) before updating the OA firmware.

For blade BIOS, the most convenient wil probably be the "Online ROM Flash" component (a .scexe file). You can run it in the VMWare console environment: it will identify the existing BIOS version, confirm that you wish to update it to the new version, do its thing and then ask if you wish to reboot. If you answer No, you can choose when to reboot the blade yourself: the new BIOS will take effect only after a reboot.

Don't be confused by the "...for Linux" in the name of the firmware update: the console environment of the VMware ESX server is very much like a stripped-down and customized Linux system, so HP's online FW upgrades for Linux can work in VMware too.

The next step is the blade iLO firmware. Updating that does not require you to reboot the blade, as the update procedure will automatically restart the iLO within the blade. Here you'll have two options.

If you have the "Management Agents for VMware" installed, you can use a similar procedure as with the BIOS.

Alternatively, you can unpack the executable firmware package (read the release notes for the firmware package to find out how) to get the firmware .bin file, and then connect to the iLO with a web browser. Within the firmware page of the iLO web GUI, there is a button for uploading the new firmware.

After you iLO firmware is new enough, you can update the power management controller firmware (if necessary for your blade model). For VMware environments, it is delivered as a .scexe online update package, like the BIOS.

I have no experience with the VC interconnect modules, but they seem to be the only thing requiring an external support utility for updates.

When the firmwares listed above are updated for each blade (and the blades rebooted if BIOS updates were applied), you can update the OA firmware. It is done through the OA web GUI, using the browser. After the update, check the OA event logs and/or the standby OA status to verify that the upgrade was successfully applied to the standby OA too.

Regular Advisor

Re: Processes to update firmware on blade system components

Thanks. You're right, the blade are "465C", not 645..

I thought I had read somewhere that you go from the outside in; do the OA, then the VC, then the individual blades.

Also, does the firmware for the mezzanine cards get updated with the blade BIOS?

Re: Processes to update firmware on blade system components

To update the iLO2 Firmware of all blade server at one time, you can use the Onboard Administrator CLI.

Update iLO:
UPDATE ILO ALL ftp://example.server/ilo2_178.bin

Update OA:
UPDATE IMAGE ftp://example.server/hpoa251.bin

Server Blade & Mezzanine
Honored Contributor

Re: Processes to update firmware on blade system components

The is the order and methods I do my firmware ..not always suitable for many enclosures.

1st. ILO - Extract the .bin file from the firmware updates and update the firmware by using the firmware update within the iLO itself. You know it has done it when you can reconnect.

2nd. BIOS, Array Firmware, Power Firmware & Broadcom NIC firmware. I do via the Version Control page. The power & Broadcom NIC firmware are selectable if you look for all items in the repository. (As long as you downloaded them). Only needs One reboot for a full update. The power firmware does not require a reboot but I'd rather do one.

3rd. Any HBA firmware Followed by any SAN switch firmware. Check with the Storage Admin/Consultant as they may need specific order or pre-reqs.

4th OA. I do by uploading the OA firmware direct into the OA.

5th Virtual Connect - Use the utility as mentioned above. Doing it direct via the web interface often seems to hang but its an explorer issue and often completes if you wait long enough and then try and login again.