How to firmware patch SuperMicro hosts

As you know, I have several SuperMicro servers in the lab now. So quiet I have to look to see if they are on. The latest one has as slightly newer BIOS so I want to update it. Not quite sure how at first but I have found out how to do simple and easy firmware updates that include IPMI and BIOS. Go the idea from here, but below is how I do it.

Prep Work
Get the bits here (pick Windows or Linux), and also, when they show up, ask for an eval license. The tool is called Supermicro Update Manager or SUM. You need to enable this method of updates. You can purchase the license too – 19US$ for each managed machine via WiredZone.

You can actually watch this link which is the home page for my model  – X10SDV-TLN4F – and use the BIOS link to get the latest BIOS. But otherwise getting BIOS is actually a little hard from Supermicro.  You need to watch this site, but also understand your SYS-5028D-TN4T is not really what SM uses for support but rather the X10SDV-TLN4F, and you search in the site mentioned above using X10SDV.  Also watch for your processor type – which can be found in the vSphere Web Client where mine is D-1541. So use the first link. I have downloaded X10SDVF6_A03.zip.  I wish SUM download stuff for us!

Making it work – License
I have the Windows bits extracted on my Windows desktop, and I have a license handy. Lets make it all work.

  • First, we need to license. So access the iKVM, and note the firmware / BIOS information.  We will need to compare against that when the update is done.  I have BIOS 1.1b with 7/13/16 as build date.
  • We change to Miscellaneous and select Activate License.

notact

  • Now we need to add our license in.  Be aware that the BMC MAC address matches the license.
  • The first time I had nothing happen.  Turns out the timeout for login expired.  So I tried again.

act

  • Second try worked.

So we are ready for the fun stuff now!

What can we see?
Now we need to change to the folder where we extracted the Windows SUM files to.  As a test before we do an upgrade, lets make sure we can see something.

Use the command:

sum -i ikvm_IP -u ADMIN -p password -c CheckAssetInfo

And hopefully you see something like:

see

And, then there is a lot of info.  Much of what I don’t want to share.  But, it is things like MAC addresses, memory information, serial number and baseboard info.  But most important it does confirm that we can work with this host and that SUM is happy.

BTW, you can replace CheckAssetInfo with CheckSensorData or CheckSystemUtilization options for different info.

BIOS update
So yo have recorded the current firmware / BIOS info right?  And you have downloaded the updates – right? I have extracted X100SDVF6_A02.zip in the same folder as SUM. Then I used this command to compare what was in the system board and what was in the file.

sum -i 192.168.9.14 -u ADMIN -p password -c GetBiosInfo –file X10SDVF6.A03

And below is what I get.

compare

So it is sort of in code, but I see that the build date between motherboard and BIOS build is 2016/7/13 and 2016/10/3 so the BIOS file is newer.  So now to apply it.

But, important note, is that we want to boot during the update.  There may be multiple boots.  But, I am going to leave off the reboot flag and reboot myself.  I will also have maintenance mode engaged too – since I am updating BIOS in an vSphere host.

sum -i 192.168.9.14 -u ADMIN -p password -c UpdateBios –file X10SDVF6.A03

And we see the following.

biosupdatestarts

sstill

After about 10 or 15 minutes I got this nice looking error.

error

I am restarting the host and will see what happens.  I am hopeful it will in fact start! In fact it did start, but there was no difference in Firmware or BIOS.

So I tried again but this time with the –reboot flag and guess what – it all worked fine.

noerror

The boot process seem to take a bit longer then normal. Not sure if this BIOS update will impact any boot settings or not.

But my server came up, and it did show BIOS 1.1c with a BIOS build date of 7/13/16. Now where is the HTML5 client – I believe it is part of a Redfish upgrade that I have not done. Going to test that.

Summary
So SUM can work to do a BIOS update. I think if you have only a few servers that logging into the iKVM might be easier but with any number of server this is better.  Plus, it can change BIOS config pretty easy too (and more actually). So free tool – SUM, and free (1) license – or 19 per host per host is not too bad. So my hosts are now all the same BIOS level which is good.  Now I need to figure out the HTML5 client.

Questions or comments always welcome!

Michael

=== END ===

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Posted in Home Lab, How To

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