Updating BIOS and BMC on a Dell SC24
Un – FREAKING – real!
I managed to (biting nails, fingers, wrists and arms) to update the BIOS and BMC on my Dell SC24. I purchased mine from Stallard Technologies. Here’s the link to the server: http://www.stikc.com/Catalog/dell-custom-servers-CS24-SC
I’d recommend calling and asking for William or Geoff, a couple of sales guys from that place I do business with. I am NOT in any way making money by putting a link to their site, I in no way work for that company and I in no way have ever met them. I pretty much email them and have spoke with Geoff about some RMA’s because a system I put in didn’t go well (blogged about the Dell drive controllers on another post).
Back to business!
References for this “how to” are as follows – again, NOTHING I found was clear cut and nobody held your hand like I’m going to…I’m that sensitive! LOL!
The most helpful: http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/cloud/f/4442/t/19512575.aspx
The second most helpful and the post that got me going, it was the first one I found: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/cloud/f/4715/t/19456940.aspx?pi239031352=1
Now down to brass tacks. I recommend BEFORE doing anything you read those two posts AND my entire post – yes even the bottom – just so you know how this crap works OK! If I EVER catch you trying something WITHOUT understanding it first…I’m bringing the pain! Running scripts without reviewing them, downloading junk on the Intenet then applying it to hot machines…big mistake. I am a fairly trusted sources though BUT STILL! Please understand what YOU are doing then we’ll all be a better race.
Another side – if this made things easy as pie for you, how about a $5 donation…or a $2 donation? On the right hand side toward the top you can PayPal me –> :-)
- Eder Torreiro – Spain ($2 April, 2014)
- Rafael (Badwolf) – US ($5 April, 2017)
1 – Fire up your server, get into the BIOS by hitting f2. Navigate in the BIOS screen to your BMC and find out what IP address it is. I think by default it’s set to DHCP. I believe under the BIOS screen it’s under the “Server” area.
2 – Open a web browser and try to get into the BMC – it’s usually: https://IPaddressHERE:447 or maybe port 81. Mine was :447. The default user will be one of two things. root:root (like mine was) or root:changeme (per the documentation for this BMC). By the way I think it goes without saying that in order to connect with a web browser to your BMC you need to have it plugged into ETHERNET. It’s the optional NIC next to the 2 onboard dual NIC’s. Plug that in first, then do the above step in the BIOS to find the IP address.
3 – Now that you’ve established you can get into your BMC go to:
BMC Version (tab): You should see something LESS than 1.95 for “Firmware Revision”
Server Board Information (tab): You should see something LESS than “S45_3A20”. Mine started out at BMC 1.10 and FW S45_3A09.
4 – Go to this website and download rufus, it is quite nice: http://rufus.akeo.ie/
5 – Make a freedos boot disk on USB. This assumes you have a USB disk you can live without for now as it WILL wipe out all your files so back that disk up!
6 – Download my files that I collected from the above forums: http://rafaelwolf.com/sharedfiles/sc24_bios_and_bmc_udpates.zip
7 – Extract them to your desktop or something. On your pen drive make a directory called “bios”, copy the files you just extracted there. Feel free to look at the bat files, you’ll be calling them in the DOS environment, nothing sexy as it could be here but eh; it gets the job done!
8 – Reboot your server, you might need to do another “F2” and get into the boot options making your USB drive the fist boot device, I had to.
9 – Boot to DOS, you’ll see a “c:\” just sitting there if you’re successful and I know you will be because you’re under expert tutelage :P
10 – NOW, here’s the warning – this has ONLY worked on my SC24. Like all the other losers online I make no warranties or guarantees. It’s now time for YOU to do some nail biting :P
11 – cd bios
12 – bios.bat – per the bat file contents it will backup your current BIOS to “S45_3A09.ROM” and then slap the new one on there for you.
13 – That will get done successfully
14 – bmc.bat – per the bat file contents it will backup your current BMC version to “backup.BIN” and then slap the new one on there for you.
15 – When it’s successful you can do a ctrl + alt + del. One commenter on the forums said yank the cord but I don’t think you have to…even though I pussed out and did!
NOTE: Don’t cry too early – you WILL GET AN ERROR, FANS WILL SCREAM. The BIOS will get a “checksum error” BUT it will say…resetting to defaults in 5 seconds. Your server will reboot and all will be right with the world. DO NOT NOT NOT YANK THE CORD if you see this checksum error.
Another note: I have VMWare 5.5 with all the updates and the server is STILL misbehaving. I might try and back rev it to 5.1 or something. The processors are at 50% utilization or higher with NOTHING on them. A real shame but I don’t think the SC24’s are on the HCL for VMWare so…that’s what I get.
If by chance you need to restore your firmware or your BMC firmware, you can – we backed it up. You’ll need to edit those batch files and point them to the backups to do a “restore” but if it works I don’t know who would want to go back.
Thank you so much for your effort writing this out. The procedure works perfectly.
Unfortunately for me the new BIOS didn’t solve the problem but that’s my problem, not yours!
What was / is your problem? I haven’t blogged on here in a while :-)
This site is absolutely fabulous!
I successfully installed this update. However, my fans are now running at max speed all the time…
Before, They would run max until boot was initiated, then they would slow down… now they are running at max 100% of the time…
Help me slow them down!
I had a chat with Rafael via email and I gave him my extended notes on these machines here:
====== Dell SC24 server ======
This is a “commodity server” meaning, there were a lot of them made for one customer and to their specifications.
SC24 server information:
If the fans are getting a little weird or there are any issues troubleshoot the BMC: <-- I think this is his fix as it fixed it for me ipmicfg-win.exe -selftest <-- This is a self test to see how the BMC is doing. ipmicg-win.exe -r <-- This does a "cold restet" and it's OK as it will not affect the operating system or raid or anything else...it's like doing a reboot of the BMC and you can even do this when Windows is up and working. Review the helpful links, the BMC is a web site embedded on the motherboard. You get to it via the NIC. IF you review those links I think they tell you how to get into it. What I did was assigned a static IP on my laptop, plugged my laptop into the NIC and ping'd the BMC interface (or what the documentation said was the default IP address). It worked, then I went to https://x.x.x.x <-- whatever that IP was and logged in with the default username and password. I don't recall what that is. Once you get in there you can clear the logs. It looks like though on my "tips" section that you have to download some management tools from Super Micro (that's what the motherboard is) and from windows you can run those exe's. I think I have those installers if you can't find them I can post them to the site. From an elevated command prompt you exectute those exe's with teh switches and BAM...the fans will settle down. Also note, I ended up looping the management port (the BMC NIC) into the secondary NIC so they were both on the same network so I could get to the BMC from the physical server. It's like it's own private network with a short ethernet cable. SO my server has for example: 192.168.10.2 address and the BMC has 192.168.1.2, so I assigned the second nic a 192.168.1.3 address. NOW, my server has 2 networks, one for the actual business network and the other is a small local network NIC to BMC NIC where I can manage the BMC from the server itself. If I need to do a cold reset on the BMC (and I haven't had to in years) I can easily do so by remoting to the server and running the commands again to the BMC. If you need that management software I think I can upload it.
Did you ever resolve your CPU at 50% issue?
No, I didn’t spend much time on it though and I suspect it would have been fruitless effort anyway. I think it’s something to do with VMWare itself. I don’t think it did this with VMWare 5.1 on it. If you can live with having 5.1 on the server just run with that. The ONLY reason to upgrade is so you can install new OS’s like Winderps 10 – if your newer OS’s can install on 5.1 then I say milk it for all it’s worth. I think these were commodity data center servers used in clusters with an OS on them (no virtualization). That’s the best way to use these servers. I was dabbling at the time with VMWare and have since gotten an R620 or something with whatever newer version of VMWare. I spent a bit of money BUT if you’re on a shoe string budget I’d look to the refurb market at a Dell R series you could throw some upgrades at like RAM or disks that aren’t too expensive. The SC24’s really aren’t built for virtualization from what I can tell.
I’ve updated the BIOS on the SC24, and now it no longer see’s the hard drive. I tried restoring back to the backup BIOS (it was running version 3A09), but it still doesn’t show the hard drives. Any ideas?
Never mind, it simply required a hard power down, then it worked fine. Sigh.