Upgrading H710 firmware in Dell R720

Hello all,

I am working in the lab today getting PernixData FVP working.  I have an article about doing the PernixData install and configure that you should see soon.  But right now I am doing the firmware stuff – upgrade my Dell hosts and the associated components in the host – in anticipation of doing FVP.  I have new H710 in each of the hosts along with SSD and so want to update them as well.  However, it has not gone as smooth as it should have!

I bought H710 adapters from Dell for my existing R720’s.  It looked OK on the web and I checked with a support / sales guy and they confirmed OK.  I wanted them so I could play with VSAN and PernixData FVP.  But it turns out things are not perfect.  And guess how I found out?  I talked to OpenManage plug-in for vCenter support that the firmware wizard in that tool would not update the H710 firmware – it shows the firmware and will update all other firmware, just not the H710.  Took a while, and the support was really good and helpful but what was determined is that the H710 is not intended for ‘big’ servers like R720.  So not QA’ed.  And not in the bundles that OpenManage gets for my gear.  I should have got the H710P.  Now the Support guys is pretty sure this will be OK but how to do patching?  (I should mention that VSAN worked awesome with this adapter and yes is supported)

Method 1 – overview

I would download firmware, and a Dell Live CD and boot the server with it.  I would upload the firmware, chmod (chmod + filename) it to execute and execute it (./filename) and when it was finished I would reboot the host and I would be done the H710 update.  After that I could use OpenManage for vCenter and do simple and smooth firmware upgrades of everything else.

Method 2 – overview

In this I download a different firmware (same actually but packaged for a different platform) and I access iDRAC.  It will allow me to upload and apply the firmware and schedule a reboot.  Seems a little easier.  This method was announced here.

I think that method 2 will have less of an outage and it strikes me as easier too.  So guess what?  We are doing method 2.

Method 2 – details

Make sure you have the right firmware – should end in .exe and not in .bin.  You will also need the iDRAC credentials too.

  • I suggest – as in some ways I am conservative, to put your first host in Maintenance mode.
  • I also like to record the version number that I am currently using to make sure the upgrade goes.


  • You can see above, in the Dell OpenManage plug-in for vCenter that we have 21.3.0 for our H710 BIOS.
  • Once it is you should log into the iDRAC that corresponds to the server in Maintenance mode.
  • Once logged in change to the Update view – as seen below.


  • Use the Choose file button to locate your file.


  • As you can see above my file is selected.  Now we use the Upload button.
  • Once the file is uploaded the screen changes a little.


  • Now if we select the patch, we will see other choices become available.  BTW, you could load other firmware update files here as well and more then one too.  We are doing the H710 but there could also be system BIOS updates loaded in here!  So pretty cool.  Not as good as the OpenManage plug-in for vCenter but certainly a great plain b.
  • We can see below that I have selected the firmware and I am going to use the Install Next Reboot as I like the ability to schedule that rather then a sudden reboot.


  • Once you select Install Next Reboot you will see another dialog.


  • Since I am not sure where the Job Queue is I am going to select that option.


  • We can see our Firmware Update: RAID with a status of Downloaded.  So it is ready for our reboot.  Of note, I can see all of the other updates that I did with OpenManage including the power supply one that failed.  Haven’t figured that one out yet.
  • We can always come back to the to the Job Queue to check the status but lets watch the boot and see what we see.
  • So I connect to the console of the ESXi host and I restart it.  I do see a couple of things different.



  • And before you know it the host restarts.
  • So now I head into the vSphere Web Client to make sure we got our upgrade!


  • What?  That is no change. I check the Job Queue and it shows as completed.
  • I reread the email from support and realize I misread.  He was not saying that I need to upgrade but that it was pososble.
  • Oops.  At least I know how now! So while this update did not work or rather was not required, at least I know how now.  Good grief.


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