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Cisco UCS Firmware Overview

Hello Everyone,

Cisco has recently launched a lot of  Firmware for CISCO UCS, it is becoming rather hard to keep up with the new release. We had 5 New Release in Version 2.2 starting from 2.2.(1b),  2.2.(1c), 2.2.(1d),  2.2.(1e), 2.2.(2c).

The good thing is, in every release CISCO  is adding some good features. In one of  the release 2.2.(1d) they have introduced boot from SD, FlexFlash, this option was not available on the older versions of  UCS Manager.

If you are intreasted in this, and want to find how you can boot the ESXi or any other OS off the Secure Digital (SD)  FlexFlash  and how this can be implemented do check  my post  here: Cisco UCS FlexFlash Configuration of Secure Digital (SD) Card

So, for the newbee  to Cisco UCS,  its confusing about the firmware. In this post I am trying to clarify few aspects of this, feel free to post comment below if you have any questions and I will get back to you.

The CISCO UCS firmware is bundled into two packages as given below:

ucs_firmware

 

1. Infrastructure Firmware

In Infrastructure Software firmware we update the firmware of the following

  • Cisco UCS Manager software
  •  Kernel and system firmware for the fabric interconnects
  •  I/O module firmware

2. Server Firmware

Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Server Software Bundle

  • CIMC firmware
  • BIOS firmware
  • Adapter firmware
  • Board controller firmware
  • Third-party firmware images required by the new server

This also includes the firmware of Adapter, BIOSFC Adapters,  HBA Option ROM, Storage, Controller, Local Disk

Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount UCS-Managed Server Software

  • CIMC firmware
  • BIOS firmware
  • Adapter firmware
  • Board controller firmware
  • Third-party firmware images required by the new server

As most of you might be aware the UCS manager is the GUI Java based which allows you to fully manage the CISCO Unified Computing System.

Note I have noticed that the Java version  7 update 40 is only compatible with the UCS Manager. 

So, where does the UCS Manager run ?

This was one of my first questions, Well the Software of the UCS Manager runs on the FI ( Fabric Interconnect 62xx) as we have a pair of Fabric Interconnect it has got resilience.

The UCS System is designed to be highly scalable and available, so upgrading the firmware should not bring any outage to the environment. However Cisco still suggests to arrange a Change windows and get this done out of hours or the quite period of your business.

This UCS Manager is bundled in the Infrastructure Firmware Software along with the Kernal update of the FI which is the NXOS, Finally we have the I/O Module firmware which is a part of the Infrastructure firmware software too.

The Other Bundle is the Server Firmware which has the firmware for BIOS, the Blades, Adapter, Board controller etc.

If you want to learn more about the process of doing a Firmware update please checkout my link CISCO UCS Firmware Update Process

Hope this information is useful, feel free to comment.

CISCO UCS Firmware Update Process

Hi All,

Recently Cisco has released yet another release of the Cisco UCS firmware version 3.0.

This version of firmware is for 6324 Fabric Interconnect and  B200 M3, C220 M3, and C240 M3 servers.updatestarted

This is released on 24-JUL-2014, you can find more details on the release notes for this firmware version:

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/release/notes/ucs_3_0_rn.html#pgfId-225587

Just to give everyone an idea there are two from of Firmware that needs to be updated on UCS system

1. Infrastructure Firmware

In Infrastructure Software firmware we update the firmware of the following

  • Cisco UCS Manager software
  •  Kernel and system firmware for the fabric interconnects
  •  I/O module firmware

2. Server Firmware

Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Server Software Bundle

  • CIMC firmware
  • BIOS firmware
  • Adapter firmware
  • Board controller firmware
  • Third-party firmware images required by the new server

This also includes the firmware of Adapter, BIOSFC Adapters,  HBA Option ROM, Storage, Controller, Local Disk

Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount UCS-Managed Server Software BundleCIMC firmware

  • BIOS firmware
  • Adapter firmware
  • Board controller firmware
  • Third-party firmware images required by the new server

So,  without wasting any time these are the steps to follow:

Step One

  1. Create an all Configuration Backup
  2. Verifying HA status of Fabric Interconnects ( as we do not have any compute it should not affect us in anyway)
  3. Verifying the status of I/O Modules
  4. Verifying the Status of the Servers and Adaptors
  5. Download Firmware Images to the Fabric Interconnect.

 

Step Two

  1. Disable the Call Home ( Email alerts for reboot)
  2. Updating the Firmware on the Adapters, CIMCs and IOMs

 

If the Service profiles are configured using host/management firmware policy this will create an error and we might need to think of Plan B (If we do not get any error message we can progress with upgrade)

 

  1. Activating the Firmware on the Adapters
  2. Activating the Firmware on the CIMCs
  3. Activating the Board Controller Firmware
  4. Activating the I/O Modules
  5. Activating the Subordinate Fabric Interconnect Firmware
  6. Making the primary FI the Subordinate by login to FI ssh to the primary and to make it subordinate first check

# connect local-mgmt

 

FI-01-A(local-mgmt)# show cluster extended-state

Cluster Id: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Start time: Mon Jun 23 14:41:56 2014

Last election time: Tue Oct  7 11:54:01 2014

 

A: UP, SUBORDINATE

B: UP, PRIMARY

 

A: memb state UP, lead state SUBORDINATE, mgmt services state: UP

B: memb state UP, lead state PRIMARY, mgmt services state: UP

   heartbeat state PRIMARY_OK

 

INTERNAL NETWORK INTERFACES:

eth1, UP

eth2, UP

 

HA READY

Detailed state of the device selected for HA storage:

Chassis 1, serial: xxxxx, state: active

Chassis 2, serial: xxxxx, state: active

Chassis 3, serial: xxxxx, state: active

 

In my case as shown above FI B is the Primary so I can connect t0 FI B with hte below command .

 

FI-01-A(local-mgmt)# connect local-mgmt B

# cluster lead A

  1. Activating the Primary Fabric Interconnect Firmware

 

Step Three

  1. Listing the BIOS Upgrade Versions
  2. Create a Host Firmware Package
  3. Applying the Host Firmware Package
  4. Enabling Call Home.

 

Additional Notes

 

Prerequisite for Firmware update

 http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/sw/upgrading/from2-0/to2-0MR/b_UpgradingCiscoUCSFrom2-0To2-0MR/b_UpgradingCiscoUCSFrom1-4To2-0_chapter_010.html#concept_DD68485034FB4E258D5827880D37225C

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