ESXi HP Updates

HP just released a batch of new firmware for their servers and blades, Virtual Connect modules as well as updated ESXi extensions. Here’s my take on the new stuff.

HP ESXi VIBs and handling Update Manager

Updated HP Extensions and notable excerpts from the release notes:

  • The ESXi offline bundle (CIM providers) has been updated to 1.2
    Added additional support for AC Lost detection for power supplies.
    Supporting some more gen8 servers
  • The Agentless Management Service (AMS) Offline Bundle for Gen8 servers has been updated to 9.1.0
    Added network and SAS driver information reporting.
    Added performance data reporting.
    Supporting some more gen8 servers
  • The ESXi utilities bundle has been updated to 1.2
    Supporting some more gen8 servers
  • The NMI Sourcing driver has not been updated for ESXi5, but for ESXi 4.1.

If you run ESXi on HP Proliant systems, you should add the HP vibsdepot to your vCenter Update Manager repositories if haven’t done so already. But even if you did so in the past, you’ll need to add another repository for the new bundles since HP changed the way they provide bundles from their vibsdepot. Instead of just adding “http://vibsdepot.hp.com/index.xml” as a custom download source in UpdateManager, which would yield the most up-to-date bundles, HP now distributes mutliple repositories based on release cycles:

http://vibsdepot.hp.com/
The following points define how to use vibsdepot under several customer scenarios:

– VUM – connect VUM to “http://vibsdepot.hp.com/hpq/<release date>/index.xml” to download complete update patches as well as individual patches.
– ESXCLI – use command “esxcli software vib install -d http://vibsdepot.hp.com/hpq/<release date>/index.xml”.

So in a nutshell, to make use of the updated bundles in VMware  Update Manager, you’ll have to add “http://vibsdepot.hp.com/hpq/jun2012/index.xml&#8221; in UM. You can also remove or deactivate the old vibsdepot URL.
And don’t forget to update the URL once HP releases updated extensions (or HP changes this procedure all over yet again)!
[Update: You actually do not need to do that anymore if you just use http://vibsdepot.hp.com/index.xml. This links all release versions now.]

Once you hit the apply and download now button, you should see the new bundles in your patch repository, ready to deploy them to your hosts after adding them to a baseline:

What you most likely only want here is the package titled “Complete Bundle Update 1.3” this actually includes all HP extensions, from the NMI bundle to the utilities bundle and of course the CIM providers. You don’t need to add any of the other HP package to your host extension baseline as this one includes them all.

Installing this single package, which contains all my desired VIBs, yields:

 # esxcli software vib list | grep -i hp
char-hpcru            5.0.1.7-1OEM.500.0.0.434156         Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-06-05
char-hpilo            500.9.0.0.9-1OEM.500.0.0.434156     Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-04-26
hp-ams                500.9.1.0-12.434156                 Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-06-05
hp-smx-provider       500.02.10.70.51-434156              Hewlett-Packard  VMwareAccepted    2012-06-05
hpacucli              9.10-22.0                           Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-06-05
hpbootcfg             01-01.02                            Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-06-05
hponcfg               04-00.10                            Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-06-05
hpnmi                 2.0.11-434156                       hp               PartnerSupported  2012-06-05

After this, even adding the separate packages to the baseline won’t change anything. It will not list them as missing extensions either, since UM detects the packages are installed already. Instead of having a bazillion packages in my baselines, this really helps me to have a concise overview of which patches and extensions I really need to care about.

I do something similar with my custom ESXi host patch baseline. The two default baselines provided by VMware now contain around 200 patches each. They include all the patches from ESX classic and ESXi 4.0 to 4.1, as well as the Cisco Nexus 1000V stuff you might (like us) not even use. In that case, you can also safely deactivate the Cisco Download Source before you first download patch definitions.
My custom dynamic ESXi patch baseline only applies to ESXi 5, and excludes any host-extensions (which will not be applied in patch-type baselines like this anyways):

Now this gives me a nice and concise baseline containing only 25 patches which I’ll attach to my hosts instead of the predefined baselines. Of course you can also do this VMware-style with multiple baselines for critical and non-critical updates or whatever floats your boat.

The HP custom ISO was also updated respectively. A list of which additional VIBs the ISO contains can be found here.

HP P2000 VAAI VIB

What I’m also quite curious about is the release of the “HP P2000 Software Plug-in for VMware VAAI” VIB. The release notes imply it enables VAAI with MSA P2000 G3 SANs, but I would be surprised there was such a vendor-side way to provide VAAI capabilities on ESXi when it’s supposedly a standard and SAN-side thing to support VAAI.
Maybe all it does is “the VAAI Plug-in creates log entries in the VMware kernel log” as mentioned in the release notes? I’m not sure how valuable those logs really are, but it would be quite nice if HP could add such a capability for Lefthand or other SANs too.
But reading further, it sounds like you really want to install this VIB if you use P2000 G3 SANs for the important VAAI Full Copy primitive:

NOTE: For HP P2000 VAAI Plug-in version 2.0, the VAAI device status values of “Supported” is displayed for each P2000 G3 storage volume, even if the HP P2000 VAAI Plug-in has not been installed. The reason for this is because both the ESXi 5.0 storage stack and P2000 G3 MSA Array firmware TS230 have matching VAAI primitive commands that conform to the T10 SCSI Standards for Write Same (VAAI Block Zero) and Atomic Test and Set (VAAI Hardware Assisted Locking.) The P2000 VAAI plug-in for ESXi 5.0 must be installed to enable the VAAI Full Copy command.

New Firmware releases

To my surprise, HP not only updated the “Service Pack for Proliant” (SPP) to 2012.06.0, but also brought back the Firmware Update DVD 10.10. They will drop it for good as announced in favor of the new SPP, but only later this year:

This is the final version of the Smart Update Firmware DVD. The HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) will replace the Smart Update Firmware DVD later this year. During this transition period, both products are released concurrently for this final time. The SPP 2012.06.0 contains the same content and functionality as the following products:
Smart Update Firmware DVD version 10.10
ProLiant Support Pack for Windows version 9.10
ProLiant Support Pack for Linux version 9.10
After this release, the SPP will be the only product delivering components for HP ProLiant servers, options, and BladeSystems in a single package. For more information on the SPP, go to http://www.hp.com/go/spp.

Notable firmware updates I want to point out are:

There is no new Emulex be2net (NC553 NIC) firmware, the be2net driver was updated not too long ago though. If only the HCL listings weren’t so outdated and contradicting with various KB articles.

Happy patching and updating.

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2 thoughts on “ESXi HP Updates

  1. Pingback: New ESXi security patch VMSA-2012-0011 released on June 14th « alpacapowered

  2. Pingback: September ESXi HP updates « alpacapowered

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