Friday, September 2, 2011

Updating a Cisco UCS C Series server with Host Based Upgrade shows CIMC and BIOS as *Unsupported

I recently had to update a new Cisco UCS C250 M1’s firmware to the latest version before it installing VMware ESXi and noticed that when I booted into the Host Based Upgrade package, it showed the CIMC and BIOS components as unsupported.

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I usually prefer to use the Host Based Upgrade package because I know exactly what I’m upgrading the firmware to and it takes much less time than using Cisco UCS Server Configuration Utility and while I had the option of proceeding to update all the components anyways, I always prefer to choose the safest route for all production servers.

After thinking the situation through, I had a hunch that the reason why I’m seeing the *Unsupported warning was because the firmware on the server was just too old.  The firmware package I was using was the latest version available:

hostupgrade_v1_3_1d_4.iso

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Yet the firmware version for components such as the CIMC was at version 1.0 so the next logical step I did was download an next older Host Based Upgrade package to see if it made a difference:

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Long behold it did as it warned me that the existing firmware version was too old and the specific version of firmware that was needed:

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So I proceeded to download the firmware that was specified:

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… only to realize that it was not a bootable ISO:

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This package was obviously not too useful since it required an operating system to be installed in order to upgrade the BIOS.  With that being said, I know that the CIMC web interface allowed upgrading the CIMC with a file so I went ahead to upgrade the CIMC:

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After successfully upgrading the CIMC and loading the second oldest Host Based Upgrade package, I noticed that it no longer complained about both the CIMC and BIOS being unsupported:

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I didn’t want to risk the possibility of having an unstable server due to an improper firmware upgrade so I went ahead and downloaded the Cisco UCS Server Configuration Utility 2.0 ISO:

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As the CIMC did not have internet connectivity, I chose to use the From SCU boot media option to upgrade the firmware:

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Since I received no warnings when I selected the option, I proceeded to upgrade the firmware:

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Logging back onto the CIMC showed that the BIOS version was updated to 1.2.1b.0:

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… so I proceeded to use the original Host Based Upgrade package to boot the server again:

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Seeing how there were no warnings, I went ahead and upgraded all of the components:

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The server has since had ESXi installed and memtest running for the past 3 days and while it probably needs to run memtest much longer to verify that all the memory is operating correctly (it has 96GB), everything looks good so far.

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