Friday, 24 January 2014

The importance of BIOS Updates

I regularly answer questions on it.toolbox and also find it an invaluable source of information. Yesterday somebody was complaining that they could not see the NPIV virtual adapters in AIX, and this reminded me of a similar problem I had recently with a new Ethernet card in a p710+

When the machine was delivered from IBM it came with almost the latest system BIOS but the required level of HMC/VIOS was not yet available so I had to go through an unbelievable route of downloading endless versions of VIOS and HMC, and then had to patch them in a particular order before everything would play nicely together. That eventually meant that I could do anything I wanted with the system and cards at the hardware level, but once I tried to configure my highly available SEA in VIOS, things quickly went pear-shaped.

After a lot more research I download the latest BIOS/firmware for the actual card and manually added it to my VIOS, et-voila the card was correctly recognised and worked as expected. I then tried to build a NIM server to push out my OS images, and the same problem re-occurred. Again the only way to see the card was to patch AIX to the very latest tech-level, and then to apply the firmware update again.

Finally everything worked as expected!

The thing I wanted to stress is that you must keep your BIOS an Tech-Levels up to date, otherwise when you try to install new hardware it may not work at all.

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