Normally when you do an POWER system firmware update you have the following options for where to install the updates from:
I've always been interested in the "Hard drive" repository option. However, there isn't very much information out there on how to use a "Hard drive repository".
The main question I had when I started looking in to the hard drive repository was: How do I get firmware in to the hard drive repository in the first place? The answer is kind of surprising... To get firmware in to the hard drive repository you need to first update the firmware on a server using one of the other options (FTP, removable media, IBM service web site). When you do the update using any of these methods, the firmware is also placed in to the hard drive repository.
This kind of creates a chicken before the egg situation... If you are interested in doing the "hard drive" repository option, it is likely because the FTP, Removable media, and IBM service web site options are not good options for you. So if the only way to use the hard drive option is to first use one of these other options you might have a problem.
Because of this, I never really used the "hard drive repository" option and other people I have talked to didn't really use it either.
However, I recently found a IBM Technote titled Updating Server Firmware Using a "SSH Repository"
that explained how to copy firmware on to the HMC hard drive using SSH/SCP, and then update the firmware from that hard drive location using the HMC command line interface. The only thing you need to do this is SSH access to the HMC. You don't need any other external connectivity to or from the HMC or removable media. This is an excellent method to update firmware on a server and the Technote has good infromation on how to do it.
Here is an overview of the steps:
You first download the firmware updates from IBM Fix central.
You then copy them to the HMC hard drive. When I did this, I created a new directory in the HMC users home directory, and then copied the files in using "scp". Note that the HMC doesn't support SFTP and some scp clients try to use SFTP which won't work. For example, if using PuTTY's pscp, use the "-scp" option on it to force scp mode. I recommend creating a new directory for each version of firmware that you will store on your HMC. The end result should be a directory that looks something like this with the firmware you downloaded and transferred over:
You can then use the "lslic" command and point to the directory to verify the HMC recognizes the firmware. In this example the "418" level of firmware is confirmed to be available in this directory and is listed as a disruptive update. Note that in this example I am updating within the same release, so "retrievable_release" shows "none".
You can then use the "updlic" command line to actually do the update which will also reboot the server in this case since it is a disruptive update. This will take quite some time and there is no status/progress shown on the screen, so be patient!
The "-o a" means we are doing an update within the same release level.
You would use "-o u" if you were going to do an upgrade to a new release level.
The "-m" specifies the name of the managed system to update ("p520" in this example). The "-t sys" means update the system firmware. The "-l latest" tells it to update to the latest version in the specified directory (again, I recommend keeping only 1 firmware level per directory, so the latest version should be the only version in the directory). "-r mountpoint -d /home/hscroot/01SF240_418_382" specifies the directory where the firmware can be found.
In summary, this is an excellent way to do firmware upgrades on servers without requiring any other connectivity to the HMC other than SSH.