January (or Febuary?) HP ESXi updates

Attention: [Update 16.01.2013]
HP actually pulled the updates (which were titled “February” updates) from their VIBs Depot site and purged the references from the depot metadata indexes as well. I’m not sure what’s going on but you won’t be able to apply these updates (via Update Manager) unless you downloaded them already. But even if you did, you should refrain from using these bundles at this time. Unfortunately there seems to be no way of properly removing them from Update Manager if it pulled the metadata already.

[Update 21.02.2013]
HP re-released the VIBs available at http://vibsdepot.hp.com/hpq/feb2013/

[Update 23.02.2013]
(Thanks to milanod for the hint in the comments)
HP actually removed the re-released updates from the vibsdepot yet again?!
The updated bundles are still listed on the software/support/drivers lists for Proliant Servers though:
http://www.hp.com/swpublishing/MTX-c22b0c1988f147308f06bb4ab9  hp-HPUtil-esxi5.0-bundle-1.4-15.zip
http://www.hp.com/swpublishing/MTX-01441a612d354aba868f22f96a hp-esxi5.0uX-bundle-1.4-16.zip
I’m speechless in the face of this unprecedented fail.

[Update 25.02.2013]
Uh-oh, the updates SEEM to be back at http://vibsdepot.hp.com/hpq/feb2013/. File dates are from Jan 4th and the bundles md5sums match the ones from the initial release mid-January (which this post was about) exactly. So if there really was a bug with the release, it must still be there.
Taking bets on how long it’ll take HP to offline them again.

[Update 22.04.2013]
(Thanks to Wu in the comments)
The issue with the SmartArray warning which this bundle brought us has been fixed in a recent update.

After some very minor updates back in October that did not come with release notes it’s time for another round of updates to the ESXi HP extensions and other stuff. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be getting release notes or general infos now either.
But these updates are publicly available on http://vibsdepot.hp.com/hpq/feb2013/ already and your VMware Update Manager should have already picked them up if you set it up to use the HP VIB depot.

Since HP is so kind to not provide release notes, we can only guess about actual fixes or improvements, but we can at least check which of the VIBs contained in the offline bundles really do provide updates (spoiler: not that much).

First let’s have a look at what our current HP VIB versions on an ESXi host are:
(Hint: You can of course do that via PowerCLI centrally too.)

# esxcli software vib list | grep -i hp
char-hpcru                     Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-11-20
char-hpilo                     500.       Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-11-12
hp-ams                         500.9.2.0-11.434156                   Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-11-12
hp-smx-provider                500.                 Hewlett-Packard  VMwareAccepted    2012-11-20
hpacucli                       9.20-9.0                              Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-11-12
hpbootcfg                      01-01.02                              Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-11-12
hponcfg                        04-00.10                              Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2012-11-12
hpnmi                          2.0.11-434156                         hp               PartnerSupported  2012-11-12

This system was installed with the HP custom ESXi 5.1 ISO 5.32.5. I omitted some irrelevant VIBs such as the “hp-build”, “scsi-hpsa” or P2000 VAAI bundle from esxcli the output, as those are not part of the updates. All custom VIB versions of this and other HP images are also listed here.
The easiest way to check for differences is uploading the new bundle to one of your hosts (you can also point esxcli to a Bundle-URL if your ESXi host has internet access) and then use esxcli to compare the content with the actually installed VIB versions like this:

1. HP ESXi offline bundle aka HP CIM providers aka hardware management extensions
# esxcli software sources vib list -d /tmp/hp-esxi5.0uX-bundle-1.4-16.zip
Name             Version                          Vendor           Creation Date  Acceptance Level  Status
---------------  -------------------------------  ---------------  -------------  ----------------  ---------
char-hpcru     Hewlett-Packard  2012-08-30     PartnerSupported  Installed
char-hpilo       500.  Hewlett-Packard  2011-10-07     PartnerSupported  Installed
hp-smx-provider  500.           Hewlett-Packard  2012-12-03     VMwareAccepted    Update
hp-ams           500.9.3.0-13.434156              Hewlett-Packard  2012-11-30     PartnerSupported  Update

2. HP Utility bundle containing a few tools for configuring ILO, HP RAID-Controllers, BIOS boot order from the ESXi shell
# esxcli software sources vib list -d /tmp/hp-HPUtil-esxi5.0-bundle-1.4-15.zip
Name        Version                          Vendor           Creation Date  Acceptance Level  Status
----------  -------------------------------  ---------------  -------------  ----------------  ---------
hponcfg     04-00.10                         Hewlett-Packard  2011-11-13     PartnerSupported  Installed
hpacucli    9.40-12.0                        Hewlett-Packard  2012-12-13     PartnerSupported  Update
char-hpilo  500.  Hewlett-Packard  2011-10-07     PartnerSupported  Installed
hpbootcfg   01-01.02                         Hewlett-Packard  2012-04-05     PartnerSupported  Installed

3. HP NMI bundle for non-maskable interrupt support in case of hardware failures
# esxcli software sources vib list -d /tmp/hp-nmi-esxi5.0-bundle-2.1-2.zip
Name   Version        Vendor  Creation Date  Acceptance Level  Status
-----  -------------  ------  -------------  ----------------  ---------
hpnmi  2.0.11-434156  hp      2011-07-29     PartnerSupported  Installed

4. HP Agentless Monitoring Service (AMS) bundle (Gen8 servers)
# esxcli software sources vib list -d /tmp/hp-ams-esxi5.0-bundle-9.3.0-14.zip
Name            Version                          Vendor           Creation Date  Acceptance Level  Status
--------------  -------------------------------  ---------------  -------------  ----------------  ---------
char-hpcru     Hewlett-Packard  2012-08-30     PartnerSupported  Installed
char-hpilo      500.  Hewlett-Packard  2011-10-07     PartnerSupported  Installed
hp-smx-limited  500.           Hewlett-Packard  2012-12-03     VMwareAccepted    Update
hp-ams          500.9.3.0-13.434156              Hewlett-Packard  2012-11-30     PartnerSupported  Update

This parses the metadata of the offline bundle provided, listing its contents. Of particular interest is the “Status” column, indicating whether the corresponding VIB is newer than the currently installed version (it will list “Not Installed” if there is no matching VIB yet).
To get even more detailed info about a VIB, for example if it needs maintenance mode for installation you can run the vib get command:

Most info here is reflected from the content of the vmware.xml file inside metadata-hp-nmi-esxi5.0-bundle-2.1-2.zip
# esxcli software sources vib get -d /tmp/hp-nmi-esxi5.0-bundle-2.1-2.zip
   Name: hpnmi
   Version: 2.0.11-434156
   Type: bootbank
   Vendor: hp
   Acceptance Level: PartnerSupported
   Summary: hpnmi for ESXi 5.0
   Description: hpnmi handler for ESXi 5.0 Server
   Creation Date: 2011-07-29
   Depends: uwglibc-2.5-34-1, uwglibc64-2.5-34-1, libvmkuser-5.0.0-1, uwvmkcall-5.0.0-1
   Maintenance Mode Required: False
   Hardware Platforms Required: HP, hp, Hewlett-Packard, Hewlett-Packard Company
   Live Install Allowed: True
   Live Remove Allowed: True
   Stateless Ready: True
   Overlay: False
   Payloads: hpnmi

So in a nutshell, the current January/February bundles provide updates to only a subset of VIBs as usual, no major version number leaps either. The HP NMI bundle was not updated for example, which is nothing new and can be confusing at times when HP decides to give the “outer” offline bundle a higher version even though it contains an identical binary VIB.

As usual, it’s enough to configure your VMware Update Manager extension baseline to consist of the “HP ESXi 5.0 Complete Bundle Update 1.6” package only, as it contains all VIBs of the 4 bundles (this is the metadata zipfile making up this package btw.).

The scsi-hpsa SmartArray RAID Controller Driver has been updated to 5.0.0-40.1 (19 Feb 2013) too:

Beyond ESXi bundle updates

Apart from these updates to ESXi bundles, there is also a number of new firmware (mainly BIOS as it seems) releases. Note that there is no new HP Service Pack for Proliant release yet, though it’s about time for another one.
There are no Bladesystem Virtual Connect, Onboard Administrator or iLO updates either.
Remember that you can now also update some firmware on an ESXi host online without having to boot update DVDs or such.
Excerpts from a few recent firmware updates:

* RECOMMENDED * HP BladeSystem c-Class Virtual Connect Support Utility 1.7.1
Users are required to use VCSU 1.7.1 or higher if updating to Virtual Connect 3.70 or higher

** CRITICAL ** Online ROM Flash Component for VMware ESXi – EF0300FARMU, EF0450FARMV, EF0600FARNA drive
HPD6 (17 Dec 2012) (Those are 450GB SAS disks we have in our P4800 G2 / MDS600 storage nodes)
This firmware prevents a rare condition that may occur during a WRITE SAME command sequence that may result in incorrect data being written to the hard drive. The WRITE SAME command may be used during RAID ARRAY parity initialization. – Did I read WRITE SAME? Also sounds like a VAAI primitive.

* RECOMMENDED * Systems ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade for HP ProLiant BL460c/WS460c Gen8 (I31) Servers (For USB Key-Media)
2012.12.14 (A) (11 Jan 2013)
Problems Fixed:
Resolved an issue where the system may experience a performance issue, usually seen in a degradation of network throughput, after updating to the 08/20/2012 revision of the System ROM. This issue only exists with the 08/20/2012 revision of the System ROM.
Resolved an issue where no message was displayed and no Integrated Management Log (IML) entry is logged for certain memory errors that result in DIMMs not being usable. This issue would look like the operating system having access to less memory than is actually installed without any error indicated.
Removed the Advanced ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU) option to disable Data Direct I/O (DDIO). It is no longer recommended that users disable this option due to the negative impacts on system performance. For systems that had previously disabled Data Direct I/O, the option will remain disabled. Defaults must be restored on the system to re-enable this functionality for this situation.
Resolved a rare issue where the system may experience a temporary loss of video, such as a blank screen on the local monitor and iLO Remote Console, if a key is pressed during POST during Option ROM Execution.
Resolved an issue where the order in which processors are presented to the Operating System may change across multiple system boots.
Resolved an issue where the HP ProLiant WS460c Gen8 may experience an Illegal OP-Code Red Screen error condition when the system sits at a Non-System Disk Error state at the end of POST for an extended period of time. This issue does not affect HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8 servers.
Optimized the memory settings to improve the reliability of the memory system.
Added a ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU) option for HP Option ROM Prompting.
Added the latest product names of optional expansion cards and updated language translations (for non-English modes) in the ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU).

* RECOMMENDED * Systems ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade for HP ProLiant DL380 G7 (P67) Servers (For USB Key-Media)
2012.12.02 (A) (11 Jan 2013)
Problems Fixed:
Resolved an issue where the ROM Based Setup Utility (RBSU) Command Line Interface (CLI) would not set the QPI Bandwidth Optimization (RTID) feature properly.
Optimized the memory settings to improve the reliability of the memory system.

* RECOMMENDED * Systems ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade for HP ProLiant BL490c G7 (I28) Servers
2012.12.03 (A) (11 Jan 2013)
Problems Fixed:
Resolved an issue where the ROM Based Setup Utility (RBSU) Command Line Interface (CLI) would not set the QPI Bandwidth Optimization (RTID) feature properly.
Optimized the memory settings to improve the reliability of the memory system.

Oh, and no Emulex be2net CNA firmware update either, though it won’t be long before a publicly available update judging by this.


10 thoughts on “January (or Febuary?) HP ESXi updates

  1. I guess that’s because there was a bug in 1.6 bundle, HP storage and power subsystem shows hardware error in “hardware status” tab after upgrade to HP ESXi 5.0 Complete Bundle Update 1.6.

  2. Thank you for this feedback.
    Nice QC there, HP. And no statement regarding this from HP at all after having customers download it from the public depot? Let’s hope they’ll release a fixed version soon. I’d guess they’ll release it in sync with the Q1-expected release of 5.1 U1.

  3. HP Pulled the feb2013 updates again. I know they were there yesterday. Today, nowhere to be found. There appears to be a bug after you install feb2013 and find Yellow alert for HP SmartArray P400, p400i and I think P420i, but cant confirm. even if your array is healthy.

  4. Pingback: April HP ESXi bundle update fixes SmartArray warning | alpacapowered

  5. Pingback: HP patching error after upgrade to Update Manager 5.1 – Wilber82's Blog

  6. Pingback: HP patching error after upgrade to Update Manager 5.1 - Wu's Blog

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