HP Virtual Connect Firmware 4.01 released

After announcing it a while ago already, HP released Virtual Connect firmware 4.01 last week to the public:
The release notes can be found here.
You may also want to check out the User and Installation documentation:
HP Virtual Connect for c-Class BladeSystem Setup and Installation Guide Version 4.01 and later
HP Virtual Connect for c-Class BladeSystem Version 4.01 User Guide
HP Virtual Connect Manager Command Line Interface for c-Class BladeSystem Version 4.01 User Guide

Note that according to the most recent HP VMware Recipe document from April, the recommended VC firmware version for vSphere/ESX(i) environments is still 3.75.

Virtual Connect 4.01 is supported on the following interconnect modules:
• HP VC Flex-10/10D Module
• HP VC FlexFabric 10Gb/24-port Module
• HP VC Flex-10 10Gb Enet Module
• HP VC 4Gb FC Module (409513-B22 – End of Life announced in December, 2011)
• HP VC 8Gb 20-Port FC Module
• HP VC 8Gb 24-Port FC Module
The HP 1/10Gb VC Enet Module (399593-B22) and the HP 1/10Gb-F VC Enet
Module (447047-B21) are no longer supported

What’s new?

As far as new features are concerned, Virtual Connect firmware 4.01 delivers the following:

  • FCoE enhancements like FIP snooping support
  • QoS traffic prioritization
  • Some not further explained “Minimum and maximum bandwidth optimization” feature which requires running FlexNICs with at least the firmware provided by Service Pack for ProLiant 2013.02.00
  • SNMP enhancements for LLDP MIB, Bridge MIB, Interface MIB, and Link aggregation MIB (update to the latest MIB Kit)
  • Explicit control of setting LACP timers
  • Custom roles and permissions in VC
  • IGMP snooping enhancements for multicast traffic
  • And a few other minor features such as VCM CLI TAB auto-completion, searching in the VCM GUI, setting session timeouts in the VCM CLI and GUI.

Nothing really that spectacular or exciting in my opinion here.

Apart from the above feature enhancements, there are of course also a couple of bug fixes provided with this update. An excerpt of the resolved issues section from the release notes:

  • During a firmware upgrade to the Virtual Connect environment with a large number of defined Ethernet networks and NIC teaming failover policies configured for ALB or TLB, network and SAN connectivity interruption sometimes occurred
  • Loss of Ethernet connectivity on the uplink port caused SmartLink operation on the FlexNIC to result in the inability of the FlexHBA FCoE connection on the same port to log into the SAN Fabric.
  • The SCSI command aborted under load with the HP VC 8Gb 24-Port FC Module
  • HP VC 8Gb 20-port FC modules could not operate at 8Gb reliably when connecting to Cisco Nexus 5xxx series switches
  • The Virtual Connect Manager CLI did not allow modification of an already existing Ethernet profile connection with an index of 100 or higher
  • DCC (Smart Link) stayed unavailable after server power on and online speed changes failed

Some known issues with this release:

  • Frames that are sent and received by server blades that are larger than 1518 do not increment the user visible Ethernet counter: rfc1757_StatsOversizePkts
  • A GUI user with Network-only privileges is allowed to add profile connections
  • The GUI copy profile does not correctly handle MAC/WWNs
  • LUN loss might occur when VC interacts with an HP LPe1205 HBA
  • If a VC domain is defined to use “VC-Defined” MAC addresses and “Factory-default” WWNs, then the VC GUI reports an incorrect WWN for the FCoE connection in the server profile
  • While configuring a Shared Uplink Set in failover mode using the GUI, the GUI incorrectly allows uplink ports that are designated as Primary ports to be deleted, which can render the Shared Uplink Set without any Primary uplink ports

The Virtual Connect Support Utility (VCSU) which you can use to update Virtual Connect modules in a controlled, zero-downtime manner has also been updated. You need the latest version 1.8.1 to update the VC firmware to 4.01.

HP recommends updating Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager (VCEM) to the latest version 7.2. But more importantly, HP also recommends updating your blade servers with SPP version 2013.02.00 before updating to VC 4.01.

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