Changing FRU information on Supermicro servers

This blog post is not just for fun but because of a reason. I reinstalled my three Supermicro homelab servers with vSphere 7, and during setup, I noticed that ESXi shows incorrect values for the server model. What could cause this?

No, it shouldn’t be a “Super Server”, even if Supermicro servers are super for homelabs. But it should be an “SYS-300-8D” as this is the model I bought.

So how can I fix this? The short answer is: there is no fix until today, unfortunately. I tried it and asked also some fellow VMware friends, but still no success. It seems that this might a bug or something. I don’t know what values are read from ESXi to display that. And even after I changed the FRU values with the IPMICFG tool, reboot, and reinstalled the ESXi, the values were still displayed wrong. But at least I learned some new things during that troubleshooting. And I wanted to put the lessons learned into a blog post. Just in case you have similar issues, or you want to do the same things.

BIOS and IPMI upgrade first

First I did a BIOS and IPMI firmware update. You can download the update files here from Supermicro. In the top right corner, you can filter for your mainboard. First check which mainboard is installed in your server. Then you click the “Download Zip” file link (after filtering for your mainboard), accept the EULA, and proceed to the download. The upgrade is pretty simple. Log in to the IPMI web interface, click the Maintenance tab, and on the left-hand side you can spot the places where to upgrade the IPMI (firmware), and the BIOS.

If you have your ESXi host up and running, place it into maintenance mode first, because a reboot is needed, at least with the BIOS update.

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“Starting drivers, please wait” – An HPE adventure story

Yes i know that,┬áthe title of this blog post doesn’t sound very well. But if you read this blog post you can see that it fits very well. Recently, just some days before the writing of this post, one of my customers called me because of a vCenter issue. He’s got two HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9 and an MSA 2040 SAS Dual Controller storage system.

The customer told me that some VM’s aren’t running anymore and that both hosts aren’t available in vCenter management. I made a quick look through remote support and saw that. Both hosts were gone, most of the VM’s still running but some not. We first tried to access the hosts through SSH but no success. We tried to access the DCUI with moderate success. At least we were able to logon, but the DCUI didn’t respond after successful login. That’s kind of strange, didn’t see that until yet. The hosts did respond to ping, so that’s at least a little light at the end of the tunnel.

We then decided to restart one host. We don’t have SSH (PuTTY) access to the hosts, we can’t manage them from vCenter, we can’t use the DCUI. What else could happen?

So we restarted a host. And this is the beginning of this story…

HPE

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