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UCS Upgrade: Step One the Servers: Part 3

We are making progress with the server component of the upgrade process.

Our spare blade with an Emulex mezz. card running 1.1(1l) code for the interface and BMC was ready for a real workload.  We put one of our production ESX hosts into maintenance mode and powered off the blade.  Then we unassociated it and associated it to the physical blade running the 1.1(1l) code with the same type of Emulex card.  The server booted with no issues, we confirmed all was normal and after about 30 minutes we had it back in the live cluster.

We repeated this process on 2 additional ESX hosts and now are running with 3 of the 10 ESX servers in the UCS cluster with the new firmware with no issues.  The plan is to do several more tomorrow, maybe the rest of them.  Very positive results.

Two ways to update endnode firmware (meaning the blade):

As I was reading through the “how to upgrade UCS…” release notes I recalled some early discussions when I was looking at purchasing UCS.  There are 2 ways to update the firmware on the Interface and BMC, etc.  We have been using the method of the UCSM tool to go to the physical blade and update it at this level.  The other way is via the Service Profile Host Firmware Package policy.

This makes it pretty interesting once you think about it.  Instead of thinking of firmware by hardware you think of it as the workload (Service Profile).  Lets say my W2K3 server interface can only run on 1.0(2b) firmware and I need to make sure that regardless of the physical blade it is running on that the correct firmware is there.  By using a Service Profile firmware policy you can make that happen.  So when you move the W2K3 workload from chassis 1 blade 3 to chassis 3 blade 7 the Service Profile (via the Cisco Utility OS) drops in the approved firmware version.  Pretty cool to think about.

Note there is at least one drawback to the Service Profile approach.  This firmware policy is auto updating, so if you make a change in firmware version it will automatically apply the change and restart the server. This means you have to be careful in how you use this as a means to perform the updates. (when doing firmware updates via UCSM you DO have the ability to control when you reboot the workload).

March 30, 2010 - Posted by | Cisco UCS, UCS Manager | , ,

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