Dell PowerEdge 2400 Part 2 - Firmware Updates Like It's 2003!

This is a continuation from Part 1 where in summary, I configured the BIOS from scratch, set up RAID 1 array from two hard drives and installed Windows Server 2003.

Good news! Windows Server 2003 is correctly installed and comes with drivers out of the box for all the hardware currently installed. However, Dell provided a CD called Dell PowerEdge Service and Diagnostic Utilities 4.3 which I guess it the Dell equivalent to the HP Support Pack for ProLiant (SPP) which is what I more used to using to update the firmware and drivers.

As before, I don't have any blank CDs to write the ISO. Instead, I have dumped the contents to a USB drive, which incidentally is now working (along with USB keyboards) since the BIOS update to version A09.

I also found that I might need the DELL OpenManage Server Assistant to install some other bits and bobs so I will take a look at that after. The Dell forums give a link to their FTP and the filename required - om34_win_managed_system_a03.exe. This is a self-extracting ZIP file so I copied the EXE to the USB drive with the Service and Diagnostic Utilities 4.3.

I am writing this post as I go along with the process that I have never done and only have historic forum posts to go on. All of this is new to me so be sure to let me know if there is something I should have done better.

With the USB key plugged in, the suulauncher.exe was launched and started inventorying the current configuration.

When it had finished, a list of update items were found.

Obviously the BIOS was already up to date, and the Dell PERC 2/Si RAID Controller's driver was the latest as they were supplied during the text-mode portion of the Windows Server 2003 install process.

The onboard and DELL-branded PCI ethernet adapters also have updated drivers available plus there is a firmware update available for the RAID controller.

Unfortunately the Update button is disabled.

Clicking away and back to "localhost", a warning saying that prerequisites for the RAID firmware upgrade have not been met and I must update to at least 2.6 before it can upgrade to the 2.8 version.

I will try manually installing 2.6 from Dell's website.

Adaptec PERC2/Si, v., A07 | Driver Details | Dell UK

First however I decided to try the OpenManage Server Assistant which I had copied to the same USB key. The self-extracting ZIP file automatically suggested C:\Dell\OpenManage for its extraction path.

Once extracted, the setup.exe was run to install the software. After accepting the EULA, the "Express" option was selected when asked to do an Express or Custom install.

Prior to proceeding, it looks like the SNMP feature needs turning on. I remember this needed to be turned on when using the HP server monitoring software and when using the SPP.

A quick trip to Control Panel to add the feature in should resolve this message.

Re-running Setup, Express was once again selected with no SNMP warning. This time however, I am blocked once again due to the older PERC 2/Si firmware version. It is asking for version 3562 or later so one assumes this a version newer than 2.6.3512 I am going to have to install as a prerequisite to the 2.8 build.

After a bit of USB switcheroo and the BI351206.exe file copied to the USB stick, popped back in to the server and executed. Turns out, it is a tool to create a pair of floppy disks. I have two blank disks at hand so I let it create the two disks.

Once the disks were written, I reinserted the first disk and rebooted the server. The floppy disk was launched and warned to check that a service tag number was programmed. Another reboot and a visit of the BIOS confirmed that this was indeed the case and a further reboot was done to relaunch the firmware update.

AFU was launched as instructed and the "Update flash image" option selected. This prompted to confirm the A drive and then after a short loading window, the second disk was asked for.

A final confirmation prompt then the update began!

After a minute or so, the write and verify was complete and the upgrade was successful.

I used the display flash information option to confirm the version was correct and then exited the program. The server was then rebooted.

The new build was correctly showing on the POST screen.

Windows Server 2003 started loading! Success so far.

Let's go back to the Dell PowerEdge Service and Diagnostic Utilities 4.3 CD (USB) and re-launch it. Hopefully this time I can do the final update to version 2.8 this time.

suulauncher.exe was re-run and after inventorying again...

...the update button is enabled as all prerequisites have been met.

The update began after confirming what will be updated. Yes was clicked to continue.

Worryingly at 64%, the power supply fans turned off (but I've read this is expected during the flash?).

After a minute or so, the fans came back on at full blast for another minute or so before settling back down at the "reduced" speed I set to in the BIOS back in Part 1. Finally, it moved along from 64% percent. I wonder if this fixes the firmware mismatch "out of date" message when the computer first POSTs? [Edit: Yes it did - the Embedded System Management Controller was updated to 5.39 over 5.22 and the System Backplane was updated to 5.47 from 5.24.]

It asked for a reboot so I will do that and re-run the tool to verify no further updates are required.

During POST, the firmware version was confirmed as correct and it has a new style of "booting" which is a nice surprise. Notice the earlier messages about ESM and Backplane firmware being out of date have also been resolved!

Windows once again booted successfully and I verified no further drivers and firmware updates were required. Strangely now though, the HDD FAIL LED was flashing on the server since the firmware upgrade. Hope its not a drive failing. Maybe time to get the management software installed as it could hopefully shed some light. I noticed that at every boot, the controller shows a "scrubbing" message?

I'll re-run the setup for the Dell OpenManage Systems Management. This time, all prerequisites are met and installation can proceed. Once everything was installed, a reboot was requested.

After logging back in, I now have a shortcut to Dell OpenManage on the desktop, and some array management software on the Start menu.

Unfortunately, neither pieces of software show details for the RAID controller with the hard drives attached. From a quick look in the adapter configuration screen, the scrubbing looks to be starting at 0% each boot. I will do some further investigation here and then pick up in maybe a Part 3 when I know more information.