HP Blade chassis are integral to many IT infrastructure deployments. Within each chassis there are multiple components: for example Onboard Administrators, network switches running maybe Virtual Connect and the blade servers themselves which contain SSD/HDD drives, Nic or HBA cards, iLOs and motherboards.
All of these components require firmware to run and many of them are from different manufactures such as Nic cards which can be made by Broadcom, Intel or Emulex. Managing this firmware can be a frustrating and time consuming process which adds another management layer separate from the Operating System, applications and even HP drivers installed on the actual blade servers.
HP has previously had a very disparate way of managing it’s firmware and drivers. Different firmware and drivers had to be updated with different tools and was often very little or no coordination between the different updates causing any number of issues.
HP seems to have responded to customer frustration and is now coordinating their firmware and driver update procedures.
VMware UK is running a competition giving away a free ticket to VMworld Europe 2012 in Barcelona from 9-11 October.
Along with the free ticket which gives you access to all the normal great conference activities, the lucky winner will also win some additional perks:
- €100 spending money
- Access to VIP-only facilities
- A ticket for the exclusive UK customer party
- Opportunity to contribute guest posts to the VMware UK blog
To enter you need to some up with some snazzy reason why you want to attend the conference and its probably a good idea to think of something along the theme of transformation. If you can’t think of anything inspiring you can also list the session you are most looking forward to attending.
There are two ways to enter:
- Send a tweet to @vmware_uk and include #VMworldTicket along with your clever reason.
- Post a comment on the blog post announcing the competition and of course add your email address so they can get hold of you if you win.
The competition ends on 28th September to give you time to book your own flights and hotels (not part of the competition).
Unless you are a photographic memory super VCDX you probably don’t have every single ESXi command line, PowerCLI Cmdlet or vCloud Networking construct available in memory.
Luckily for the rest of us normal people, VMware has released some fantastic posters detailing these topics in an easy to grab format which you can download for your pleasure.
They are large format .PDF posters so you can print them out and either impress your friends with your techy wall art or have them handy on your smart phone just when you need to troubleshoot a problem.
Don’t forget you can also get the amazing vReference cards made by Forbes Guthrie.
VMware ESXi 5.1 Reference
VMware Management with PowerCLI 5.1
VMware vCloud Networking
HP has released a new firmware version 4.1.450.7 of its Emulex OneConnect 10Gb Ethernet Controller which is used in HP G7 and G8 Blades.
This is a standalone image so not part of the HP Service Pack for ProLiant 2012.08.0 release which is unfortunate.
The new firmware release notes state the following:
Added support for the following operating systems:
Resolved Issues from Firmware Version 4.1.402.20:
- BladeEngine Firmware
- SR IOV: Unable to ping IPV6 from DUT VF to Peer VF
- Running ethtool with BE3 takes longer than expected after cable pull
- FAT_CFG_SNAPSHOT command timed out
- Out of Order CQEs
- Data integrity Issue noted during short duration cable pulls
- W2K8 graceful shutdown failed under B120i with NC552
- BL460c Gen8 with 554FLB Unable to PXE boot
- 1Gb LOM ports in Windows do not come back up when switch is power cycled
- RSCN is not generated by switch when a driver restarts 10. 7 second delay in _CARD_ATTRIBUTES command
- BE3 read sfp ioctl returns bad data on twinax cables that BE2 returns good data with
- 554FLR FCoE Path Multipath Recovery Fail SLES11 sp1 x64
- Out of order Abort completion and IO completion CQE
- Received CQE_EXT_INVALID_RPI in abort completion of ELS command
- Correction to OCSD to prevent DMA conflicts with LPFC driver
- PXE issue on Gen 8 blades hang at gPXE prompt when set for one time PXE boot.
- EFI: CHAP name only accepts 6 to 10 characters
- EFI: iSCSI name is case sensitive
I’ve updated my post: HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 & VMware ESX(i) pre-requisites
HP has released its latest Virtual Connect Firmware which is used in HP c-Class Chassis with Flex-10, FlexFabric, VC Enet and FC Module interconnect modules.
This release adds support for some new hardware:
- HP ProLiant BL660c Gen8 Server series
- HP ProLiant WS460c Gen8 Workstation series
- HP Virtual Connect Flex-10/10D Module
- HP 7m C-series Active Copper SFP+ cables (QK701A)
- HP 10m C-series Active Copper SFP+ cables (QK702A)
- Cisco 7m copper active Twinax cables (SFP-H10GB-ACU7M)
- Cisco 10m copper active Twinax cables (SFP-H10GB-ACU10M
You can now rollback from a previous firmware upgrade without having to delete the VC domain which is good news.
There are also number of management enhancements such as Advanced telemetry and statistics for Link Aggregation Groups and FlexNICs and Display of factory default MACs and WWNs in server profiles.
NetApp has released its long awaited Virtual Storage Appliance which it has called Data ONTAP Edge and also has made available an evaluation version for the masses.
NetApp previously had a VSA which was available only for partners but it was fairly limited in what it could do, had very limited disk space and wasn’t the simplest VSA to set up.
I have worked with the previous VSA and blogged on how to make it a little more usable by increase the disk space in my post Installing & Maximising the NetApp ONTAP 8.1 Simulator which has been one of the most popular posts on this blog which shows you the interest.
Unfortunately my hackery wasn’t entirely successful and the expanded VSA wasn’t always stable despite my best efforts.
NetApp has now answered the call and released a VSA which is no longer just for evaluation use and available for everyone. It is being pitched as "a low-cost remote office storage solution". The maximum usable storage is 5 TB which is a vast improvement from the 20 GB available with the previous unmodified VSA. This release of ONTAP Edge runs ONTAP 8.1.1. It’s a VM that runs on ESXi which requires 2 vCPUs, 4 GB RAM and obviously available disk space.
I don’t know details on pricing or how this will be structured and whether you will be charged based on capacity.