Sunday, September 6, 2015

Upgrade Firmware (BIOS) on Dell PowerEdge R910 Rack server running VMware ESXi

Upgrade Firmware (BIOS) on Dell PowerEdge R910 Rack server running VMware ESXi
Upgrade Firmware (iDRAC and LifeCycle Manager) on Dell PowerEdge R910 Rack server running VMware ESXi

Firmware is permanent software programmed into a read-only memory, It is a combination of software and hardware. for example BIOS, it is written on the BIOS chip on the motherboard, if that fails Machine would not start. BIOS has all the instructions whats need to be done once Machine is powered on and how to boot OS.

Why firmware update is required?
Many times Manufacturers make improvements in there firmware programs, they remove bugs. One of the example of improvement is, Old firmware version may not compatible with New OS, but after upgrading Firmware you see improvement and supported new OS.

It is very easy to upgrade firmware on Windows Server, you can simply download firmware files from http://support.dell.com, and just run those programs (Dell provides there flash utility and firmware which can be easily run on windows or Linux, As they are in known exe or rpm format, Same is not supported on ESXi).  

This is my step by step guide on upgrading BIOS on Dell Poweredge R910 running OS VMWare Esxi. This is complete manual process. (You can create your own bootable CD for bios and boot from it and flash bios, I will be covering this article in another blog for creating your own Boot file), I have called Dell support and they created one Bootable CD for me and I have downloaded it over there FTP site.

Next I downloaded iDRAC and Lifesycle controller files from support website of dell.
All my flash files are on 
C:\Dell_PowerEdge_R910_Firmwares\R910_Bios_Linux_ Bootable_2.10.iso
C:\Dell_PowerEdge_R910_Firmwares\R910_iDRAC_ 1.97_firmimg.d6
C:\Dell_PowerEdge_R910_Firmwares\R910_Lifecycle_Manager_BDF_1.5.0_BIN-25_A00.usc

Next Open iDrac in website, and note down the current firmware version of the server, Its on the first web page once you login.

Launch console, on the middle top or under drop down menu, Virtual Media>Launch Virtual Media.
Add bootable BIOS cd image from location (C:\Dell_PowerEdge_R910_Firmwares\R910_Bios_Linux_Bootable_2.10.iso), it will map to r910 as a Virtual CD, and you can boot from it. (Reboot will be required after this step (Note: Before rebooting make sure you have Migrated all the VMs to another esxi host, put esxi server into Maintenance Mode for best practice))
Click check Mapped box it will mount ISO on the server in virtual CD/DVD.
(Note: Before rebooting make sure you have Migrated all the VMs to another esxi host, put esxi server into Maintenance Mode for best practice), You will need to reboot your server, while first post Press F10 or go to bios and select boot from Virtual CD. Once It is booted just sit back, it will automatically update BIOS and reboot. It is Linux CD and will be running shell .sh script to update firmware once boot.

Once Bios upgrdation Step is completed, restart server and boot into Esxi server. You can verify Dell bios version on next article iDRAC webpage where i have uploaded screenshot. Next article i will be covering up on iDRAC upgradation, Which i downloaded from the Dell website.
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