Lifecycle Controller

The 11th generation (and newer) PowerEdge? servers have a built-in system designed to assist with managing firmware updates, hardware diagnostics and OS installs. The Lifecycle Controller (LCC) is built into the mainboard (?). The LCC can be accessed locally via console at boot time, via iDRAC remote console, and also presents a web service interface (via iDRAC) for scripting. The LCC has its own storage and does not rely on system hard drives. The LCC uses an Ethernet device other than the iDRAC for network connections; in our usual system configurations the first Ethernet port on private netwrok can be used with an http proxy to reach dell.com.

Doing a firmware update using local console

The Lifecycle controller provides a simple way to update firmware independent of production OS on the server. This is a viable way to maintain firmware updates on a VMware ESXi server for instance. At boot time, the LCC GUI is started, the network is configured and firmware update is run.

Steps:

  • Reboot server and press F10, after delay Lifecycle controller GUI will start
  • Select "USC Settings" -> "Network Settings"
    • Select system NIC on private network (needs port other than dedicated iDRAC port)
    • Configure for DHCP or static IP depending on system setup
    • Select Finish and return to main page
  • Select "Platform Update" -> "Launch Platform Update"
    • Select FTP Server as source, select Next
    • Enter following for source of updates; FTP server: ftp.dell.com, Proxy Settings: check Proxy, Server: proxy.msulocal, Proxy Port: 3128
    • Click "Test Network Connection", if OK, go to Next screen
    • In a few minutes, the firmware catalog will be downloaded and compared against an inventory of the system
    • Select desired updates (probably all) and click Apply
    • LCC will apply updates rebooting system as needed. Reboots will automatically restart LCC
    • Once all updates are done, select "Exit and Reboot" to get back to normal booting
Notes

The Lifecycle controller isn't updating firmware for Intel x520 NICs. (Not sure how to handle for VMware ESXi hosts.)

-- TomRockwell - 21 Aug 2012
Topic revision: r3 - 22 Aug 2012 - 16:10:23 - TomRockwell
 

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