Today I got to push some updates to some physical Dell servers. Instead of updating everything with a SmartBootable ISO, like i usually do, I used the servers’ iDRAC to push only the individual updates these Dell FC630s needed. It saves some time which is ultimately what i was after.
Head on over to the DellEMC Support page, type in your server’s Service Tag, and find the various updates you need. Alternatively, you can also use the DellEMC Repository utility (which you host internally on your own server or vm) to pull down your updates for the hardware you specify.
Server BIOS updates
The good news for us is that you can download the windows .exe file version of the BIOS update. Even if your physical host is a ESXi or Linux server. The iDRAC is smart enough to extract the bios file it needs from the .exe file you downloaded.
Once you have your BIOS .exe file. Open up the iDRAC webgui for your server. In the left hand side, Click on “iDRAC Settings”. Then click on “Update and Rollback”.
You will see a box to use to upload your file to the server. For File location, select “Local”. Then click on “Choose File”. Navigate to the file you downloaded and select it. Click “Upload”
You’ll see you the status of it uploading.
After it has uploaded, you have two option in the lower right corner of that box. You can choose to “Install and Reboot” the server now, or “Install Next Reboot” where you’d have to reboot the server later at a more convenient time. Choose which works best for you.
Note: Remember to pause workloads on your server if you choose to reboot now. ie – If its an ESXi server, put it in maintenance mode. As iDRAC doesn’t really care about the state of your VMs, it just wants to initiate the reboot.
Once you click “Install and Reboot” you’ll see the iDRAC push/download the file to the server and initate it’s reboot. Below are some screenshots from the “Install and Reboot” process
If you selected “Install Next Reboot” you’ll see the job listed in the “Job Queue” as scheduled.
Once you manually reboot your server, if you are watching the it’s console, you will see the update get applied.
iDARC Lifecycle Controller
The process is very similar for updating the iDRAC’s firmware on the server. Go to the DellEMC Support page (or your DellEMC Repository) and download the .exe update for the iDRAC.
On you Windows workstation, double click on the file to run it. Let it extract it’s files, noting where they are saved to. Navigate to that folder and look for the folder named “payload”. Double click on the “payload” folder, and look for the firmimg.d# file. For my servers, they’re running iDRAC 8, so the file is going to be .d7.
Open up the iDRAC webgui for your server. In the left hand side, Click on “iDRAC Settings”. Then click on “Update and Rollback”.
You will see a box to use to upload your firmimg.d# to the server. For File location, select “Local”. Then click on “Choose File”. Navigate to the extracted .d# file and select it. Click “Upload”
After the upload completes you’ll see the same two options I mentioned earlier in this post “Install and Reboot” and “Install Next Reboot”. Pick which ever works for you to complete your iDRAC firmware update.
This same process will work for other firmware updates you need to push to your hardware too. I’d suggest following the same instructions that were used for the BIOS update. In most cases, iDRAC is smart enough to extract the necessary files it needs to apply the update. If it doesn’t work, you can try extracting it yourself.
Thats it!!! Hope that this post helps you keep your DellEMC hardware all up to date!