6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2011 12:29 PM by peetz

    HP Virtual Connect firmware update - can you do this online?

    peetz Master
    User ModeratorsvExpert

      Hi,

       

      we have two HP c7000 enclosures with Virtual Connect FlexFabric modules to connect to external Cisco Ethernet switches and Brocade FC switches. Both enclosures are fully loaded with8x  BL620c G7 blade servers running ESXi 4.1 Update 2.

      Right now we are still able to completely evacuate an enclosure if we want to do maintenance (mainly firmware upgrades) on it, because we have streched two clusters over both enclosures that each have not more than 50% of their capacity used.

      However, given our current VM growth rate we will soon reach a point where this will be no longer possible (without purchasing and deploying a third enclosure).

      So, I'm currently testing and looking for ways to do an online Virtual Connect firmware upgrade without interrupting network and SAN connectivity. With all the redundancy that is in the enclosure this should be possible, and an HP engineer I lately talked to confirmed that this is indeed possible using HP's Virtual Connect Support Utility (VCSU), and he pointed me to its manual for instructions.

      I remember that I already tried this method a while ago. I don't know the firmware and tool versions anymore that I did this test with, but it was not very successful. Although I followed the instructions given I noticed ping timeouts for up to 15 seconds during the upgrade process (I was pinging the hosts VMkernel address).

       

      Has anyone done this successfully? Is there anything to check and configure that is not obvious before trying this? Please share your experience!

       

      Thanks and best regards

      Andreas

        • 2. Re: HP Virtual Connect firmware update - can you do this online?
          Paul1 Hot Shot

          Yes, you can do this, if your vSwitches all have 2 nics, one for each VC-Modul.

          But be sure to use the latest NC553i-FW, only with this FW it really works:

          http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=329290&prodSeriesId=4324629&prodNameId=4324630&swEnvOID=54&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=co-99913-1

          Also you need the latest be2net drivers:

          http://downloads.vmware.com/d/details/dt_esxi40_emulex_be2net_403060/ZHcqYnQqaGpiZEBlZA

          Than you need the latest Virtual Connect SupportUtility V 1.6.0 (Build 178)

          I have tested this only with ESXi V5.0 and VC V3.30 but I'm sure it will also work with ESXi V4.1 Update 2.

          Please don't try it with an older NC553i-FW, it will definitly fail.

           

          Paul

          1 person found this helpful
          • 3. Re: HP Virtual Connect firmware update - can you do this online?
            peetz Master
            User ModeratorsvExpert

            Thanks Paul! We already have the latest be2net firmware and drivers installed.

             

            What "activation method" did you use with the Virtual Connect Support Utility? And did you specify a wait time between modules activation?

             

            - Andreas

            • 4. Re: HP Virtual Connect firmware update - can you do this online?
              kjb007 Guru

              We have several enclsoures, all with virtual connect, and I always expect some kind of "delay" or inaccessibility while the fw upgrade takes.  How long is dependent on the enclosure itself, but there is always some dead time.  Just my experience.

               

              -KjB

              • 5. Re: HP Virtual Connect firmware update - can you do this online?
                Paul1 Hot Shot

                We are using an active/active Konfiguration and I do the FW-Update without moving all the VM's to the other side during low activity in our maintenance window. There is no downtime for our applications, maybe you lose a few pings, but for normal you don't lose any connections.

                Here is the log of my last update (using the defaults):

                 

                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]  HP BladeSystem c-Class Virtual Connect Support Utility
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]  Version 1.6.0 (Build 178)
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]  Build Date: Jul  7 2011 22:54:05
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]  Copyright (C) 2007-2011 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]  All Rights Reserved
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011]
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:03 2011] Please enter action ("help" for list):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:06 2011] Please enter Onboard Administrator IP Address:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:18 2011] Please enter Onboard Administrator Username:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:21 2011] Please enter Onboard Administrator Password:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:24 2011] Please enter firmware package location:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:50 2011] Please enter Configuration backup password (Optional):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:51 2011] Please enter Force Update options if any (eg: version,health):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:55 2011] Please enter VC-Enet module activation order if any (eg: parallel or odd-even
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:55 2011] or serial or manual. Default: odd-even):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:56 2011] Please enter VC-FC module activation order if any (eg: parallel or odd-even or
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:56 2011] serial or manual. Default: serial):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:57 2011] Please enter the time (in minutes) to wait between activating or rebooting
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:57 2011] VC-Enet modules (max 60 mins. Default: 0 mins):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:59 2011] Please enter the time (in minutes) to wait between activating or rebooting
                [Mon Dec 05 13:20:59 2011] VC-FC modules (max 60 mins. Default: 0 mins):
                [Mon Dec 05 13:21:00 2011] Initializing, please wait... [Step 1 of 2 : 30 seconds]
                [Mon Dec 05 13:22:02 2011] The target configuration is integrated into a Virtual Connect Domain. Please
                [Mon Dec 05 13:22:02 2011] enter the Virtual Connect Domain administrative user credentials to continue.
                [Mon Dec 05 13:22:02 2011] User Name:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:22:08 2011] Password:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:23:07 2011] Gathering module and package information [Step 2 of 2 : 30 seconds]
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] The following modules will be updated:
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] ==============================================================================
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] Enclosure   Bay  Module           Current Version       New Version          
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] ==============================================================================
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] XXXXXXXXX  5    HP VC            3.18                  3.30                 
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]                  FlexFabric       2011-04-01T23:51:07Z  2011-08-16T03:34:59Z 
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]                  10Gb/24-Port                                                
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]                  Module                                                      
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] XXXXXXXXX  6    HP VC            3.18                  3.30                 
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]                  FlexFabric       2011-04-01T23:51:07Z  2011-08-16T03:34:59Z 
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]                  10Gb/24-Port                                                
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011]                  Module                                                      
                [Mon Dec 05 13:25:04 2011] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                • 6. Re: HP Virtual Connect firmware update - can you do this online?
                  peetz Master
                  User ModeratorsvExpert

                  I finally found a way to do the firmware upgrade with minimal network interruption! It works independently of firmware versions, and the secret is to use the manual activation order method with VCSU.

                  I described that in detail on my blog.

                   

                  - Andreas