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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Storage | 10 comments

Updating LSI Firmware VSAN

Just to catch you up to the point on why I’m even discussing this, let’s jog down how I arrived to this point:

  • On March 2014, I decided to run VSAN 5.5 using the Dell’s H310 I/O controller.  Under the hood this controller is a LSI 2008 (B2).
  • Dell’s stock firmware throttles this down to a queue depth to a pathetic 25.  Where a LSI 2008 should have a queue depth of 600.
  • After following Vladan Seget’s blog on  How-to Flash Dell Perc H310 with IT Firmware To Change Queue Depth from 25 to 600 I used the LSI-9211-8i firmware to turn this card from the laughing stock of I/O controllers to something respectable.
  • On Feb 2015, I installed vSphere 6.0 and upgrade to VSAN 6.0.  Holy cow, it sure took a long time to boot up vSphere.  I could tell during the boot up that the famous “mptsas2” was what was to blame.
  • I ran across Dunan’s blog on Updating LSI firmware through the ESXi commandline where he was upgrading his LSI 2308 card and decided to try this on the Dell H310 I/O controllers that are running the LSI 9211 8i firmware.

1. Grab your files.  There are 3 files you will need to complete this upgrade.  Download the zip files and grab the following files from http://www.avagotech.com/products/server-storage/host-bus-adapters/sas-9211-8i#

  • 9211_8i_Package_P20_IR_IT_Firmware_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows (92118ir.bin)
  • Installer_P20_for_Vmware_ESX50 (mptsas2.rom)
  • Installer_P20_for_Vmware_ESX50 (vmware-esx-sas2flash.vib)

2. SCP those 3 files to your /tmp directory of the host you are upgrading

 

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2. Place the server in maintenance mode from vCenter or via the CLI:

esxcli system maintenanceMode set -e yes

3. Install the vib

esxcli software vib install –force -v /tmp/vmware-esx-sas2flash.vib

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4. Verify version 20 has been installed

sxcli software vib list | grep sas2flash

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5. Upgrade the LSI 92118-IR firmware

/opt/lsi/bin/sas2flash -o -f /tmp/92118ir.bin -b /tmp/mptsas2.rom

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6. Verify the 20.0 was installed

/opt/lsi/bin/sas2flash -list

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7. Reboot the host

esxcli system shutdown reboot -r “Update firmware for LSI”

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You should now notice that the vSphere startup time has greatly improved!

 

 

10 Comments

  1. So another article I read was that the original IR firmware with a queue depth of 25 is not supported by vsphere 6.0 but the newer IT firmware is, which sets the queue depth to 600 like you mention. However the IT firmware doesn’t allow RAID. I NEED to run a RAID 1 for the system drive and a RAID 10 for the storage array. Will vsphere 6.0 support the newer IR firmware and will the newer IR firmware set the queue depth to 600? Also, do you know if the h310 can handle two separate RAID arrays at once the RAID 1 and the RAID 10? Thanks!

    • Patrick –

      Not supported by vSphere or supported by VSAN? I have not seen firmware with the H310 that can support multiple RAID types. However, why not boot off a USB or SD card instead of a RAID 1 array?

      • What do you mean by ESXi 6.0 does not support this? I am running ESXi 6.0 on the top of DELL T620 (with H310), RAID 0.

        Write speed is super awesome!!! :)) is just about less than 15 MB/s.

        I was wondering if I flash this new firmware do I lose my RAID0 ??? Do I get any better write rate?

        • “What do you mean by ESXi 6.0 does not support this? I am running ESXi 6.0 on the top of DELL T620 (with H310), RAID 0.”

          This was a question to Patrick if he was asking about VSAN or vSphere support.

  2. What do you mean by ESXi 6.0 does not support this? I am running ESXi 6.0 on the top of DELL T620 (with H310), RAID 0.

    Write speed is super awesome!!! :)) is just about less than 15 MB/s.

    I was wondering if I flash this new firmware do I lose my RAID0 ??? Do I get any better write rate?

  3. 15 MB/s?
    That is less then crappy USB2 stick…

    • Thanks @sebus. Link updated!

  4. Hello,

    Just an hardware question: how do you manage to use an H310 card on a C6100 server ?
    Even with a Right Angled sas cable, I didn’t find not enough space between the cpu heat sink and PCI card !

    Regards,

    Jeremy

    • It is tight but fits. Are you using a Dell SATA cable?

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