HP server users may be glad to know that HP has released the latest update to its Service Pack for Proliant which will be supported until April 30, 2016.
vSphere 6.0 support has been added so super-keen upgraders now have HP driver and firmware to match.
This latest SPP has added support for:
- New HP ProLiant servers:
- HP ML10 v2
- HP XL730f Gen9
- HP XL740f Gen9
- HP XL750f Gen9
- HP ML110 Gen9
- HP XL170r Gen9
- HP XL190r Gen9
- HP WS460c Gen9 Graphics Server Blade
- New HP ProLiant options
- Red Had Enterprise Linux 6.6, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, VMware vSphere 5.5 U2 and VMware vSphere 6.0
- HP USB Key Utility for Windows v18.104.22.168 for downloads greater than 4GB
- Select Linux firmware components available in rpm format
- HP Smart Update Manager v7.2.0.
Release Notes are here:
The contents list is here:
HP ESXi image for vSphere 6.0 available here:
HP has released its latest Service Pack for Proliant (SPP), the integrated firmware and software bundle which it will support for the next year .
I had spotted it in the wild at HP Discover, it was dated 23 June so HP must have given it another week before releasing it into the wild and even then the documentation isn’t available yet.
In terms of hardware support, the new FlexFabric 20Gb adapters and switches are now supported. These give you 2 x 20 rather than 2 x 10Gb downlinks to each blade.
The SPP fixes the latest OpenSSL issue CVE-2014-0224
Virtual Connect gets updated to v4.20(b)
Smart Update Manager gets updated to v6.4.1
The SPP is intended for use with the new HP OneView 1.10 which hasn’t actually been released yet.
This will be the last SPP to support G5 and earlier servers so HP is further reducing the effectiveness of your older kit after starting to charge for firmware.
This is also the last SPP to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.
The full ISO download is available today but they haven’t released Windows/Linux/Blade/Non-Blade versions yet. I still hope they do away with the distinction between blades and non-blades. Just have a full Windows and full Linus options please, people don’t generally distinguish between blades and non-blades when manage server firmware.
As for documentation, this doesn’t seem to be updated yet, it seems the download has been made public a little too early. Probably best to wait to see what he niggling issues are and what the new Virtual Connect and HP SUM software contains unless you are extraordinarily keen.
HP has a minor but recommended update for its Virtual Connect firmware to 4.20 which adds sFlow monitoring support which didn’t make it into the final Virtual Connect 4.01 along with support for a new HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric-20/40 F8 Module.
Some of the older Virtual Connect switches are being retired from a software support perspective so be aware that beginning with VC 3.70, the HP 1/10Gb VC Enet Module (399593-B22) and the HP 1/10Gb-F VC Enet Module (447047-B21) are no longer supported. Beginning with VC 4.10, the HP 4Gb VC-FC Module (409513-B21) is no longer supported.
There are quite a few fixes in this release so make sure you read the Release Notes.
There is also a serious bug to do with file permissions which means the config may not be saved so ensure you have a look at OA Customer Advisory c02639172 to see if any changes you have made may not be kept.
If you have multiple enclosures linked together, you should NOT upgrade directly from VC 2.x but rather upgrade first to 3.7 or 4.1 and then on to 4.2. This is due to a big that can cause a network outage.
You will need to use the 1.9 Virtual Connect Support Utility update the firmware which was released last September.
HP has decided that going forward it will only provide firmware updates to customers who have a valid warranty for their equipment which normally means purchasing a support agreement or HP Care Pack.
The server market is a tough one with low margins. IBM has decided they can’t be bothered and have flogged their x86 business to Lenovo. HP has been going through a tough time recently with widespread redundencies and is obviously under pressure both to get a handle on costs and increase revenue so is looking to ensure it can extract maximum extra value from its hardware sales.
HP’s announcement says:
This decision reinforces our goal to provide access to the latest HP firmware, which is valuable intellectual property, for our customers who have chosen to maximize and protect their IT investments. We know this is a change from how we’ve done business in the past; however, this aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for our customers and partners.
Our customers under warranty or support coverage will not need to pay for firmware access, and we are in no way trying to force customers into purchasing extended coverage. That is, and always will be, a customer’s choice.
This is a shortsighted and misguided change which will hurt HP and is certainly not the “right decision” for their customers and partners.
HP has released a new version 4.10 of its Virtual Connect firmware for use in HP Blade Chassis. 4.10 is a minor update compared to the release of Virtual Connect 4.01 which added major functionality.
Virtual Connect 4.10 add IPv6 functionality which requires HP Service Pack for Proliant (SPP) 2013.09.0 (B), Onboard Administrator firmware 4.01 and minimum iLO firmware of 1.30.
The ability to hide unused FlexNics from the OS has been added which is very helpful. FlexNics that don’t have a mapping to any server profile connections are not presented to the OS. This means even if you have a full complement of 8 FlexNics defined in your profile but only map 4, your OS will only see 4 Nics rather than 8.
There is a new auto-deployment feature which allows you to configure a Virtual Connect domain from a centralised location using DHCP and TFTP.
SR-IOV support has also been added for direct VM access bypassing the vSwitch on certain FLBs and mezz cards for Gen 8 servers as well as BL620c G7 and BL680c G7.
There are a number of bug fixes as well including some Cisco DAC cables reporting as “Linked/Uncertified” when they should work.
Make sure to read the Release Notes in case there is anything else that may trip you up.
There is also an updated Virtual Connect Support Utility which can be used to update the firmware.
HP has also released an update to the Onboard Administrator firmware to 4.01 which adds IPv6 support, a few new hardware models and a list of bug fixes.
There is a problem with Emulex firmware prior to version 4.1.450.7 that can result in SmartLink otherwise known as Device Control Channel (DCC) not working with a 10Gb physical link when you have full height blades. When you upgrade the OA, you may lose network connectivity. Update the NIC firmware and look at Customer Advisory c03600027 before upgrading the OA.
HP has updated its ESXi customised images to reflect the recent release of ESXi 5.5 as well as its September 2013 Service Pack for Proliant.
HP’s customised images are fully integrated sets of specific drivers and software that are tested to work together. You can see the list of Driver Versions in HP supplied VMware ESX/ESXi images.
I have done an extensive update of my HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 & VMware ESX(i) pre-requisites post which includes these new customised images.
HP Custom Image for VMware ESXi 5.5.0 GA – September 2013:
HP Custom Image for VMware ESXi 5.1 Update 1 – September 2013:
The new and updated features for the HP vSphere 5.5 /5.1 customised Images for September 2013 include:
- Provider Features
- Report Smart array driver name and version.
- Report SAS driver name and version.
- Report SCSI driver name and version
- Report Firmware version of ‘System Programmable Logic Device’.
- Report SPS/ME firmware.
- Added SCSI HBA Provider.
- Report IdentityInfoType and IdentityInfoValue for PowerControllerFirmware class.
- IPv6 support for OA and iLO.
- Report Memory DIMM part number for HP Smart Memory.
- Added new ‘Test SNMP Trap’.
- Updated reporting of memory configuration to align with iLO and health Driver.
- AMS features
- Report running SW processes to HP Insight Remote Support.
- Report vSphere 5.5 SNMP agent management IP and enable VMware vSphere 5.5 SNMP
- agent to report iLO4 management IP.
- IML logging for NIC, and SAS traps.
- Limit AMS log file size and support log redirection as defined by the ESXi host parameter:
- Utilities features
- HPTESTEVENT – New utility to generate test WBEM indication and test SNMP trap.
- HPSSACLI – New utility to replace hpacucli
- HPONCFG – HPONCFG utility, displays the Server Serial Number along with the Server Name when using hponcfg –g switch, to extract the Host System Information.
HP has announced a new product to manage HP BladeSystem and ProLiant G7/Gen 8 infrastructure called HP OneView which is due to be released in October.
HP thinks the existing way of deploying and managing servers is built on models from 20 years ago and is in need of an update. This is certainly true particularly with HP servers despite HP having a number of tools such as HP Systems Insight Manager (HP SIM), HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager (VCEM), HP Insight Control and HP Intelligent Provisioning.
HP OneView has been built from the ground up to simplify and speed up the server deployment and management process for servers, networking and storage. OneView runs as a self contained virtual appliance and you connect via a web browser.
HP says the user interface is a “consumer-inspired user experience” built on a “software-defined architecture” with an “open extensible platform”. HP says it has been four years in the making and has been built with the input of more than 150 of HPs biggest customers.
OneView will be a licensed product per physical server it manages starting at about £571 for a single license including three years support and updates. There will be an upgrade available from iLO Advanced, Insight Control and VCEM.
VMworld starts next week and up to 22,000 people are descending on San Francisco.
VMware as expected has a massive schedule of talks, discussion groups and labs for you to attend all carefully orchestrated to ensure VMware and their partners get their message out.
But VMware does have a wild side that isn’t just the parties.
The fabulous #vBrownbag crew have put together a schedule of lightning 10 minute talks which are not part of the official program. This means VMware or even the #vBrownbag crew don’t get to decide what is said, the only rule is there isn’t any blatant company marketing.
So, you can get independent community content from your peers who feel they have something to contribute to VMworld that could be unsupported, unconventional, uncensored and unbelievable!
There are some serious industry titans presenting so make time in your official schedule to see them.
The list of talks is in this post which is being refreshed as presenters confirm their times.
I’ve been very lucky to be accepted for 2 talks:
- Help, my VDI project is hell! on Monday at 17:15
- HP Virtual Connect Quick Deep Dive on Tuesday at 15:00
A few generous sponsors are contributing to make this possible so have a look at their products which help to keep independent community content alive.
BTW the reference to the fringe is from the city of Edinburgh which hosts is a huge official Edinburgh International Festival in August. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is not part of the official program and is now the largest arts festival in the world. The Society that runs the fringe festival is not allowed to vet the festival’s program so anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them can take part resulting in the weird and the wonderful having their say.
HP has released a serious advisory that upgrading certain Virtual Connect firmware may cause server profiles to be unassigned which will cause a a network outage for your blades.
The issue occurs when you have both single dense and double dense servers in your chassis and you are upgrading from Virtual Connect firmwares 3.10-3.60 up to Virtual Connect firmwares 3.70-3.75.
The upgrade process will complete successfully however the single dense server profiles will become unassigned which will cause a network outage for those specific server blades.
In order to fix this you will need to power down the affected blades, reassign the server profiles and power on the blades again! Ouch!
This doesn’t affect you if you are upgrading from Virtual Connect firmware 3.70 to later firmware or going from Virtual Connect firmware 3.10 to anything below 3.70 such as 3.60 and won’t affect you if you only have single dense servers or double dense servers but not a mixture.
Virtual Connect firmware 4.01 which has been recently released fixes this but has a whole raft of new features that you may not be ready to implement so its worth being aware of this issue.
HP has released a new firmware version 4.2.401.2215 of its Emulex OneConnect 10Gb Ethernet Controller which is used in HP G7 and Gen8 Blades.
The built in LOM adapter names on a G7 Blade server are NC553i or NC551i and the Mezz card is NC554m. The CNA LOM added to a Gen8 Blade server is HP554FLB.
This firmware is required if you are going to be using the new dual hop FCoE features in Virtual Connect 4.01.
The firmware update process is offline and requires you to boot from an Emulex OneConnect bootable .ISO which can be downloaded from:
The following issues have been resolved from the previous firmware version 4.2.401.605
- Fixed VMware PSOD ESX 4.1/5.0/5.1 seen on BL465cG7, BL685cg7 servers with BE2 based card. For more details see the following Customer Advisory
- Fixed FW memory leak with multiple logins to a redirected target
- Fixed FW to allow setting Speed/Duplex to Auto/Auto
- Fixed Fw to allow Bonding with Citrix platforms
- Fixed FW to allow upgrades of version 4.x to 4.x+ without requiring cold boot
- Fixed UEFI to not require 2nd reset
- Fixed UEFI driver version reported
- Fixed FW to prevent LOMS at 10G from negotiating 1G with Blade switches
- Fixed FW for BE3 to report correct values of ethernet stat “In Range” error
- Fixed FW to boot from secondary iSCSI when selected
- Fixed FW iSCSI boot failure from secondary target when primary target given is incorrect
- Fixed UEFI NIC default settings retention
- Fixed FW hang during boot with SLES 10 SP4
- Fixed FW error while performing Shared Uplink Set port remove/add test
I’ve updated my post: HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 & VMware ESX(i) pre-requisites