DELL PowerEdge 1950 II - How to upgrade SAS5 (PERC5/i) from USB Flash. [TESTED]

Intro

The server that I have in my lab has SAS 5/iR (LSI 1068). Dell’s site says that my server has SAS5I with part number: MY412. PN is correct one, I can see it on RAID, but it’s not a SAS 5/i because it has LSI 1068 on board. So, this is a SAS 5/iR (RAID 0, 1 ONLY).

Dell’s site says:

PERC 5/i is a PCI Express based SAS RAID controller that provides enterprise class protection and performance for supported PowerEdgeTM servers. The Dell PERC 5/i is used to connect internal hard drives in PowerEdge servers and PowerEdge SC servers. PERC 5/i utilizes high performance SAS 3 Gb/s technology to connect to the hard drives, and the latest generation of host interface technology, PCI Express (PCI-E). With support for RAID levels 1, 5, 10, and 50, PERC 5/i provides multiple protection options to suit a wide range of applications. For non-critical data, RAID level 0 is also available.

The SAS 5/iR is used to connect internal hard drives in PowerEdge servers, PowerEdge SC servers, and Precision workstations. The “i” in SAS 5/iR stands for “Internal” because the SAS 5/iR supports only internal disks. The “R” in SAS 5/iR stands for “RAID” because the SAS 5/iR provides integrated capability for RAID levels 0 and 1. SAS 5/iR utilizes high performance SAS 3 Gb/s technology to connect to the hard drives, and the latest generation of host interface technology, PCI Express (PCI-E). The SAS 5/iR is managed by two different management utilities, depending on host platform.

Initial version

• Dell SAS 5 Host Bus Adapter BIOS
• MPTBIOS-6.12.02.00 (2006.12.22)
• FW Revision 0.10.49.00-IT (you can find it in “Configuration Utility”)

Procedure

• Download the latest version of “Dell 32-bit Diagnostics” (Diagnostic Distribution Package).
• Install “Dell 32-bit Diagnostics” on your local PC, ignore initial message about compatibility.
• Run installed applications > “Install on a USB Flash Drive” > Choose USB drive > OK
• Download the latest BIOS version using Service Tag of your server: Dell.com > Support > Support by Product > Enter Service Tag (you can find ST numbers on the right of front panel as well as on back panel) > Drivers and Downloads > Category: SAS Non-RAID (5 files) > Dell SAS 5/i Integrated Firmware Update > View Details > File Format: Hard-Drive > DELL_SAS-5-I-INTEGRATED_A04_R199563.EXE.
• Unpack this file using 7-Zip in some folder. File list:

dllsasir.rom
FIND.EXE
flash.bat
readme.txt
SAS5II.FW
sasflash.exe
SETINFO.EXE
xFlash.BAT

• Rename this folder to get it short (8 characters is maximum) and meaningful (for example, PERC5I).
• Upload renamed folder to the root folder of USB Flash.
• Boot a server from USB by pressing F11 key (Boot Menu) while the blue Dell logo is visible (choose the following option - “Hard Drive C:” > “Front USB“).
• “Customer Diagnostic Menu” will appear, choose option “4 - Quit” to get command prompt.

Options:
  1   mpmemory diagnostic (Supports console-redirection in output log only).
  2  Ddgui graphics-based diagnostic (No console-redirection support).
  3  Loop mpmemory and diagnostic in batch mode.
     *** Please install all removable media if selecting option 3.
  4  Quit
Enter option or letter: (default = 3) 4
 Type 'diag' to run diagnostics again, if desired
Diag D:\>

• Change directory to appropriate one:

Diag D:\>c:
Diag C:\>cd PERC5I

• Run flash.bat and follow the instructions. If process is complete you will see the following:

********************************************************
  1  SAS 5/i Integrated(s) successfully flashed
********************************************************

• Type Crtl + Alt + Del to reboot.
• While initializing SAS controller press Ctrl + C to enter “Configuration Utility” then check BIOS and FW versions.

— BIOS: v6.12.05.00 (2007.09.29)
— FW: 0.10.51.00.IT

DELL PowerEdge 1950 II - How to upgrade BIOS from USB Flash. [TESTED]

I’ve tested it on DELL PowerEdge II - BIOS upgrade from version 1.3.7 to 2.7.0.

• Download the latest version of “Dell 32-bit Diagnostics” (Diagnostic Distribution Package).
• Install “Dell 32-bit Diagnostics” on your local PC, ignore initial message about compatibility.
• Run installed applications > “Install on a USB Flash Drive” > Choose USB drive > OK
• Download the latest BIOS version using Service Tag of your server: Dell.com > Support > Support by Product > Enter Service Tag (you can find ST numbers on the right of front panel as well as on back panel) > Drivers and Downloads > Category: BIOS > Non-Packaged file (BIOS-executable file) like PE1950-020700C.exe.
• Rename the file to get it short (8 characters is maximum) and meaningful (for example, from PE1950-020700C.exe to bios_270.exe).
• Upload renamed file to the root folder of USB Flash (you can create a folder like “1950_2”).
• Boot a server from USB by pressing F11 key (Boot Menu) while the blue Dell logo is visible (choose the following option - “Hard Drive C:” > “Front USB“).
• “Customer Diagnostic Menu” will appear, choose option “4 - Quit” to get command prompt.

Options:
  1   mpmemory diagnostic (Supports console-redirection in output log only).
  2  Ddgui graphics-based diagnostic (No console-redirection support).
  3  Loop mpmemory and diagnostic in batch mode.
     *** Please install all removable media if selecting option 3.
  4  Quit
Enter option or letter: (default = 3) 4
 Type 'diag' to run diagnostics again, if desired
Diag D:\>

• Run the application (Flash BIOS Upgrade Program):

Diag D:\>c:
Diag C:\>1950_2\BIOS_270.EXE

• Follow the instructions (Press any key > Type “Y” > Press any key to reboot).

How to reset BIOS settings to factory default on DELL servers. [TESTED]

Official documentation: How to restore the BIOS (System Setup) defaults on a Dell system.

  1. Power on the system.
  2. While the blue Dell logo is visible, press the F2 key to enter the System Setup.
  3. Press the Num Lock key, and verify that the Num Lock light is on. Note: Num Lock is ON by default in the most cases.
  4. Press the Caps Lock key, and verify that the Caps Lock light is on.
  5. Press the Scroll Lock key, and verify that the Scroll Lock light is on. So, all three lights on the keyboard should all be illuminated.
  6. Press the Alt + F keys at the same time. The system will beep as the setup defaults are restored. Note: On PowerEdge 1950 II I’ve found that you have to use Shift + Alt + F keys and system will not beep, but it will reset config whatever menu are you in and you immediately will see changes.
  7. Press the Alt + B keys at the same time to restart the system. The changes are automatically saved.

How to upgrade DRAC5 firmware. [TESTED]

Tested on DELL PowerEdge 1950 II with DRAC5 (Part Number is WW126).

Current FW version

You can see FW version in WebGUI: System > RAC Information:

• Name: DRAC 5
• Product Information: Dell Remote Access Controller 5
• Hardware Version: A00
• Firmware Version: 1.65 (12.08.16)

Or you can get it using SSH connection:

login as: root
root@10.0.0.249's password:

Dell Remote Access Controller 5 (DRAC 5)
Firmware Version 1.20 (Build 07.03.02)

$ racadm getsysinfo

RAC Information:
RAC Date/Time           = Fri Jan  9 23:52:09 2015
Firmware Version        = 1.20
Firmware Build          = 07.03.02
Last Firmware Update    = NA
Hardware Version        = A00
Current IP Address      = 10.0.0.249
Current IP Gateway      = 10.0.0.1
Current IP Netmask      = 255.255.255.0
DHCP Enabled            = 0
MAC Address             = 00:19:b9:cf:d8:9a
Current DNS Server 1    = 0.0.0.0
Current DNS Server 2    = 0.0.0.0
DNS Servers from DHCP   = 0
Register DNS RAC Name   = 0
DNS RAC Name            = rac-874P1D1
Current DNS Domain      =

System Information:
System Model            = PowerEdge 1950
System BIOS Version     = 1.3.7
BMC Firmware Version    = 1.33
Service Tag             = 874P1D1
Host Name               = localhost
OS Name                 = VMware ESXi 5.5.0 build-2068190
Power Status            = ON

Watchdog Information:
Recovery Action         = None
Present countdown value = 15 seconds
Initial countdown value = 15 seconds

$

Procedure

Upgrade via WebGUI

• Download the latest FW version using Service Tag of your server: Dell.com > Support > Support by Product > Enter Service Tag (you can find ST numbers on the right of front panel as well as on back panel) > Drivers and Downloads > Category: System Management > Dell Remote Access Controller Firmware Update > View details > File Format: Hard-Drive > File Name: f_drac5v165_A00.exe.

• Unpack this file using 7-Zip to get firmimg.d5.

• Login to DRAC5 Web GUI > “Remote Access” > “Upgrade” tab > Firmware Image: Browse > Choose the file firmimg.d5 > Upload. Then you will see the following:

The DRAC 5 firmware is being updated. This process will take several minutes. When complete, log in again to use the DRAC 5 Web-based interface.
Navigating away from the firmware update progress page will cause the browser window to close. You may not be able to access the DRAC 5 Web-based interface until after the firmware update has completed.

• After few minutes you will be able to login again and check FW version - System > RAC Information:

— Firmware Version: 1.65 (12.08.16)

Upgrade via SSH using TFTP server

• Download the latest FW version using Service Tag of your server: Dell.com > Support > Support by Product > Enter Service Tag (you can find ST numbers on the right of front panel as well as on back panel) > Drivers and Downloads > Category: System Management > Dell Remote Access Controller Firmware Update > View details > File Format: Hard-Drive > File Name: f_drac5v165_A00.exe.

• Unpack this file using 7-Zip to get firmimg.d5.

• Copy this file to the root folder of your TFTP server.

• Login to DRAC5 via SSH.

login as: root
root@10.0.0.249's password:

Dell Remote Access Controller 5 (DRAC 5)
Firmware Version 1.20 (Build 07.03.02)

$

• Initiate upgrade process:

$ racadm fwupdate -g -u -a TFTP_SERVER_IP_ADDRESS -d firmimg.d5
Firmware update completed successfully. The RAC is in the process of resetting. Please wait up to a minute for this to complete.

• When process is finished relogin via SSH to check FW version:

login as: root
root@10.0.0.249's password:

Dell Remote Access Controller 5 (DRAC 5)
Firmware Version 1.65 (Build 12.08.16)
Type "racadm help" to get racadm subcommands. Type "smclp" to invoke SMCLP interface.

$

Conclusion

It’s quick and simple procedure and it’s required. BTW, Remote Console works perfect after upgrade with the FireFox v34.0.5.

DELL PowerEdge 1950 II as ESXi Server. [TESTED]

Yesterday my colleague was so kind and provided me DELL PowerEdge 1950 II (ST is 874P1D1) for FREE. It’s just a chassis with one slowest CPU, NO CMOS Battery, NO DRAM, NO HDD, NO DRAC, but it’s FREE right?

Well, I’ve ordered some parts to get it ready to install VMware ESXi and use it as a part of my home lab. Here is the list of hardware:
• Dell DRAC5 (Part Number: WW126 or G8593) - $10.
• Cables to connect DRAC5 and PE 1950 mother board - Dell DRAC Kit (Part Number: JJ379 or JC624 or PC033) - Two cables (50 pin and 44 pin) 1.5 Inches long each - $5.
• 32GB (8x 4GB) PC2-5300F - $100.
• 4 x Caddy for 2.5 SAS/SATA HDD - $10 each.
• Heatsink for Dell 1950 - $10.
• 2 x X5365 - $50 each. I used the following links: PowerEdge 1950 II and III max CPU upgrade + Intel® Xeon® Processor 5300 Series.
• 4 x SAS or SATA HDDs (price depends of drive that you want to order).

Preparation

• Power it on and reset BIOS setting to the factory default.
Upgrade BIOS FW to the latest one version.
Upgrade SAS5 (PERC5i) FW version.
• Reset DRAC5 configuration to the factory default: Reboot the server, then press Ctrl+E to get DRAC configuration then you can find this option.
Upgrade DRAC5 firmware.

BIOS Settings

• Memory Information > System Memory Testing > Disabled (for fast boot because, testing 32GB RAM takes ~2 minutes)
• Memory Information > Low Power Mode > Disabled (by default)
• CPU Information > Virtualization Technology > Enabled (Disabled by default)

ESXi 5.5u2 Installation

This part is very simple. Download ISO file from Vmware.com, then burn CD, next, next, next, reboot, connect via vSphere Client and configure license key.

As I said, ordinary VMware image does work 100%, but if I would follow official way you probably might be interested in the following links:

Dell Customized Image of VMware ESXi 5.5 A00
Knowledge Base > ESX/ESXi Installation

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