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:
http://www.hp.com/swpublishing/MTX-312edceee05e4f13a316c9c504
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. Continue reading

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April HP ESXi bundle update fixes SmartArray warning

After the ridiculous mess HP caused with their last updates to the custom ESXi extensions back in January/Febuary, HP released new updates to the HP CIM providers a few days ago.
This update is fixing the issue that was probably responsible for all of these woes: HP SmartArray RAID Conrollers displaying a random warning message.
From the release notes:
Version: 1.4.5 (15 Apr 2013) hp-esxi5.0uX-bundle-1.4.5-3.zip
Version: 9.3.5 (15 Apr 2013) hp-ams-esxi5.0-bundle-9.3.5-3.zip
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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]

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

[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]

[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]

[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.
[/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).
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Getting firmware version information on ESXi and GNU/Linux

You may not always have the convenient option to install vendor-specific hardware management agents/extension on ESXi hosts or physical servers, for example with appliance-ish OSes like the Check Point SPLAT/Gaia platform (which is just a custom RHEL descendant), or you may run into a server without these tools installed. So how can you still query firmware information on such systems directly from the command line? I will outline a couple of ways here which make it possible to obtain that information.
The example information captured here is from HP Proliant Servers (since G5), but most of it should work in similar ways with other hardware platforms too. Unless noted otherwise, the example commands here should work regardless of whether you have CIM providers or hardware management agents installed or not.

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September ESXi HP updates

With the releases of vSphere 5.1, ESXi 4.1 U3 and Windows Server 2012, it’s time for hardware vendors to update their management agents again. HP did so recently and updated their bundles as follows. These bundles are supported for both, ESXi 5.0 and 5.1:

  • HP ESXi Offline Bundle for VMware ESXi 5.x (CIM providers) updated to 1.3
    Added specific HP ProLiant Gen8 servers to the server support matrix:
        HP ProLiant BL660c Gen8 server
        HP ProLiant  DL560 Gen8 server
  • HP ESXi Utilities Offline Bundle for VMware ESXi 5.x (ILO-config etc.) updated to 1.3
    Added support for the following servers:
        HP ProLiant BL660c Gen8 server
        HP ProLiant DL560 Gen8 server
  • HP NMI Sourcing Driver for VMware ESXi 5.x updated to 2.1. Note that this is not intended for HP ProLiant Gen8 servers.
    Edit 09/10/2012: Actually, the actual NMI VIB hasn’t been updated at all. It is still version  2.0.11-434156, which is exactly the same as the previous version. The only thing that changed was metadata in vendor-index.xml of the zip package to include a section to apply to version “5.1.0” too. An already installed hpnmi bundle won’t be updated because of this.
    # esxcli software sources vib list -d /vmfs/volumes/local_datastore_1/hp-nmi-esxi5.0-bundle-2.1-2.zip
    Name   Version        Vendor  Release Date  Acceptance Level  Status
    hpnmi  2.0.11-434156  hp      2011-07-29    PartnerSupported  Installed
  • HP Agentless Management Service Offline Bundle for VMware ESXi 5.x for the new HP ProLiant Gen8 servers updated to 9.2.0
    The following issues have been fixed:
    AMS Static data lost after clearing Active Health System Log
    iLO shows status Other for unplugged NIC port
    AMS crashes when new vSwitch is configured
    cpqSas trap not reported until query is made
    AMS Active Health does not handle iLO reset
    Added support for the following servers:
    HP ProLiant BL660c Gen8 server
    HP ProLiant DL560 Gen8 server
    Added support for the following:
    Memory DIMM status and iLO information for vCenter
    Logging to the OS event log
    cpqHoFWVer support for NIC and SAS controllers
    Added the Update number to the VMware version and build number
  • HP ProLiant Smart Array Controller Driver for VMware ESXi 5.0 updated to 5.0.0-28.0 (never really used this by the way).
    Add support for correctly displaying RAID 1(ADM) mode for logical volumes. Formerly, RAID 1(ADM) volumes were incorrectly displayed as RAID UNKNOWN.
    Remove code that limited the number of external target (array) device connections to 8 array ports. Exceeding 8 ports prevented logical volumes from registering with the driver. Improved code handling paths and targets.

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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.]

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