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.

http://linux.dell.com/wiki/index.php/Tech/libsmbios

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
Ubuntu.

Thanks,
Matt

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



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