Upgrading firmware and BIOS without Windows/Redhat/Floppy

Matt Domsch Matt_Domsch at dell.com
Sat Oct 27 22:27:23 CDT 2007

On Sat, Oct 27, 2007 at 07:01:03PM -0700, Mike Warren wrote:
> How would folks recommend upgrading the PERC 5/i firmware as well as the
> BIOS on a PowerEdge 1950 that is running Ubuntu Linux?
> All the downloads I've seen on the Dell site are either for Redhat,
> Windows or bootable floppy, none of which I have in this case.

BIOS is pretty do-able on Ubuntu; I haven't yet tried PERC 5/i.

> I do have a CDROM in the server as well as a USB floppy drive, but am
> unsure if it's possible to boot off a USB floppy on a PE1950?
> Unfortunatly the server is pretty far away from where I am physically so
> I don't have the ability to test different methods before I go to the
> datacenter.

You won't have to - you can do it remotely.


describes the process for updating the BIOS.  It's somewhat manual
right now.  I started working on packaging firmware-tools and
firmware-addon-dell into debs, but there are a few gotchas dealing
with apt that we need to understand before unleashing it on people.

> I'm getting the following in dmesg when I boot on a PE1950 I bought in
> 04/2007 and not on one I bought in 10/2007.  I think the older firmware 
> on the 04/2007 PERC 5/i card is potentially the problem:
> 04/2007 PE1950:
> [   95.264772] scsi 0:2:0:0: Direct-Access     DELL     PERC 5/i 1.00 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
> [   95.278139] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] 975699968 512-byte hardware sectors (499558 MB)
> [   95.278238] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] Test WP failed, assume Write Enabled
> [   95.278270] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] Asking for cache data failed
> 10/2007 PE1950:
> [  104.969719] scsi 0:2:0:0: Direct-Access     DELL     PERC 5/i 1.03 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
> [  104.983148] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] 1464074240 512-byte hardware sectors (749606 MB)
> [  104.983191] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
> [  104.983194] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 1f 00 10 08
> [  104.983259] sd 0:2:0:0: [sda] Write cache: disabled, read cache: enabled, supports DPO and FUA

This isn't really a problem on the older system.  I don't know if it's
firmware of a new driver that fixes this - it's been the list of
annoyances to fix for several years.  It's only that - an annoying
message, not a functionality problem.

firmware-tools RPMs can now be used to update PERC firmware too, but
at this point you would have to use alien or somesuch to use them on


Matt Domsch
Linux Technology Strategist, Dell Office of the CTO
linux.dell.com & www.dell.com/linux

More information about the Linux-PowerEdge mailing list