Navigating the IBM web site for HMC and firmware updates
AnthonyEnglish 270000RKFN Visits (7924)
Recently some clients asked me to help them upgrade their HMC and system firmware. I was coming on site but I asked them to download the firmware updates ahead of time. They found them a little difficult to find. This post shows where (at the time of writing) you can get hold of HMC and firmware updates. This doesn't look at how to upgrade (or update) the HMC or system firmware. All I'm showing here is how to get hold of the firmware you're after.
Incidentally, if you prefer to upgrade your HMC over the network rather than burning it onto physical media and heading to a chilly data centre, join the club. You can skip this post and jump straight to Rob McNelly's AIXchange post on Remote HMC Upgrades. If you're not into remote network upgrades, or you want to upgrade system or device firmware as well, stay with us.
For those who are left behind
First, you'll need to log onto your HMC and check its version. You can see this in the HMC GUI or via the HMC command line using:
You'll find it helpful to have a valid managed system model number (the Power system or system p server model), even if you're not upgrading the managed system's firmware. You can do that by running the ptrconf command from any LPAR running AIX on a system which is managed by the HMC.
prtconf | more
If you want to update your managed system firmware, you'll need to find your current firmware version. Once again, from any AIX LPAR on the managed system, the command is
Getting down to business
Armed with this info, we're ready to scroll through a few IBM Support pages to find the way to the HMC firmware. If you want to skip the nice and fluffy intro, jump right ahead to the IBM Fix Central page, or scroll down below to the tour bypass for old and grumpy sys admins. If you're not that battle-scarred yet, stick with me for the scenic tour.
Tour through IBM support
First, we can go to the IBM web site:
Now dynamic organisations like IBM have a habit of changing and improving their web sites. These links are valid at the time of writing, but caveat emptor and all that.
Select Support & downloads and you can enter your list of products.
"What list of products?"
Thought you'd ask. If you type in "HMC" here, you're going to get a discouraging message:
When the support page asks for "products" it's really after a machine type or model number. You'll see I entered 9117-MMA, which is known in the business as the Power6 570. You'll need to enter your own.
You can get your managed System's model number in a few ways:
Did you note the Firmware and HMC updates link which I have conveniently circled? Click on it.
tour bypass for old and grumpy sysadmins:
IBM Fix Central
Welcome back to the scenic tour
Once you get to here, you still need to select your machine type. That's not the HMC. It's the managed system that the HMC manages - the server, if you like to call it that.
First you select your Product Group. If your managed system is a Power6 or Power7, select Systems then Power. If you're on something older than that, scroll further down in the drop down box to System p. I'm going to go with Power here, because I'm updating the HMC for a Power6 server.
Now you can choose from a few items, but the most common ones you'll need when you're on this web site are probably these:
Now it's time to select your machine type-model. Remember, you got this when you ran the AIX ptrconf command.
As I've selected Power as the Product Group, the choices are all Power6 or Power7 servers. If you don't see your model number here, you may have to go back to the Product Group and make a different selection.
Once I select the model - in my case 8203-E4A (the p6-520), and hit Continue I'm given a choice of
This next question is merely a test of your resolve:
They just want to see who's going to blink first.
You already ran the lsmcode -c and you know the version of firmware you're currently on. Mine was EL350_039, but yours may not start with EL.
Here you have to say the Installed lsmcode, in other words, the version of firmware that you are currently running:
If your managed system is an IVM and not managed by an HMC, then all firmwre updates are disruptive (system shutdown, I'm afraid). If your system firmware is jumping a major release, e.g. from EL340 something to EL350 something, that is also a disruptive update. But if you're going up within the same major release, and the managed system is managed by an HMC, this is a concurrent firmware update. No outage required.
Since the firmware can be installed concurrently, that's how I'd like to do it. At this point I download the system firmware and make it accessible for the HMC, for example on an FTP server which the HMC can access. There are other ways of doing this, such as getting the HMC to download the firmware updates directly from IBM. Now that you know where to get hold of the system firmware, you can install it from wherever you want.
and it's an update (within the same release), not an upgrade to a new release.
Back to the HMC
At last, we've got a list of System Firmware, HMC updates and Devices. There's the latest package - in this case EL350_085 and then there's the receommended package which is a little earlier: EL350_071. I'm actually more interested in the HMC updates, which, to my dismay, are V7R3.5.0M2. That's commonly known as 7.3.5 service pack 2, and I know I want to go to the latest HMC update, which is (as at 1 Feb 2011) V7R7.2.0M1 or 7.7.2 Service Pack 1.
I'll actually track back a few pages to where we were offered all firmware components. Instead, I'll just go for the HMC Firmware, which may show me some more recent HMC levels.
Now we can see some HMC firmware release levels. Unlike the lsmcode we saw before, this shows the levels available which I may want to install. It's not asking you what HMC level you're at.
And here we are:
You can see there is a Recovery Image and a Release Update Package. The recovery image description file explains:
HMC, System firmware, device firmware, OS
There is a helpful advisory page on determining if your server firmware level and HMC machine code level are compatible. It gives this warning: