Friday, September 29, 2006

Upgrade IBM BladeServer HS20's firmware

IBM BladeCenter HS20 Type 8843

Blade Server Firmware Update
In IBM BladeCenter, blade servers’ firmware updates are very critical. It greatly impact on its stability, and performance.

Here are the steps that I normally do to update the firmware.
1) Check the firmware version on the particular blade server.
a. Login into the BladeCenter management module.
b. Go to Monitor->System Status->Firmware VPD to check the firmware version of the blade server’s BIOS, Diagnostics, and Blade System Management Processor. The Firmware VPD displays the BIOS and firmware levels of the chassis, switches, blades and management modules within the BladeCenter. There are always recommended minimum levels of code for all flashable devices. Always check the IBM support Web site for the recommended levels of code. It may not be possible to work with a problem if firmware is down-level (or the problem may be caused by down-level firmware).

In the chart below, IBMBlade3 has the latest firmware, IBMBlade4’s firmware has been outdated, and it needs to be updated.

Firmware update figure 1

2) Locate the firmware for the right blade server
a. Go to Blade Tasks -> Firmware update, choose which blade server as the target to do the firmware update, and then browse to find the firmware file, which should have an extension “.PKT”. After clicking on Update, it reads the file, and the “Confirm Firmware Update” page will appear. We can click on Continue to perform the task.

During the update process, DO NOT, power off, restart, or remove the module from the chassis. All of these are being done in the background, and no restart of the blade server needs to be done. And it shows you how the process of the update.

Firmware update figure 2

Firmware update figure 3

3) It will let you know if it is finished. The whole update process takes about 10 minutes for the firmware update.

Firmware update figure 4

4) Now we can go back to Firmware VPD (Vital Product Data) to check the Blade System Management Processor version. (In this case, the Build ID should be BWBT23A)


Anonymous said...

Where could i download the PKT files, I've been looking all over the IBM site and I can never find the PKT files to use the Management Module. I've been disgruntled the last week for having to update 600 blade servers, and I can only do a few hundred since i can't shut off customer systems. Booting from a CD then flashing the firmware using the Remote Control. if you can post links to such files, that would be helpful.

I'll check back often for a response.

Byron Zhao said...

Sorry for the late reply. If you call IBM tech support, they would point you in the right direction. I got it from an IBM consultant, so I had never really tried to find it.

Anonymous said...

It's in the img or iso file.
Download it from IBM site, then write the img to diskette or iso to CD and boot your machine with it. OR, just use any sofware which can handle img and iso files to open the archivce and extract the PKT file from it.

Anonymous said...

I managed to update BIOSes to my BC. But in service data (or Firmware VPD) shows old BIOS version until I pull out/in blades. How BIOS should update to the service data?

Byron Zhao said...

I haven't used IBM blade servers for a while, since the company I work for doesn't like it that much. But I remember it right, it is basically the same way as you upgrade the firmware. Make sure you get the right version of it. But if it is ok to have downtime on it, use UpdateXpress CDs and it will be much nicer and cleaner. Hope this help.