SR-IOV firmware upgrade via the HMC Enhanced GUI

Today, I want to share my experience with the upgrade an SR-IOV adapter firmware (EN0H) configured in shared mode. The update was so simple and so straight forward that I decided to share this positive message with you.If a SR-IOV adapter runs in shared mode then the card does not belong to a specific lpar, but it belongs to the PHYP. Due  to this fact, it is possible to allocate ‘a slice’ of a physical port to an LPAR. That is why the upgrade can’t be performed from an LPAR (regardless if it runs AIX, IBM i, VIOS). If you would like to get more details about SR-IOV, check the Redbook (which I had pleasure to write back in 2014).

  • In order to perform the firmware upgrade. Open the Enhanced HMC GUI, and double click on a server where the adapter is installed.
  • Next, roll over menu System Action and Updates, as shown below
  • hmc_firmware
  • Finally, click on SR-IOV Firmware Update
  • New window pops up where the SR-IOV card/s are listed. Also, the current firmware level is listed and availability of newer firmware
  • Once you select the adapter, proceed with update clicking Start Firmware Update > Update Adapter Driver Firmware or Update Adapter Driver and Adapter Firmware
  • beforeupdate
  • The update takes couple of minutes, and some pockets might be lost. Once it is done, following screen should be visible
  • sriov-update_sucess

There were few things which impressed me. The firmware package was somehow downloaded by the HMC. I didn’t have to download from a Fix central or upload from any other repository to the HMC. Everything was done automatically by the console. It works in the same way as IBM Systems Director does, but  a way better and faster. This is huge improvement from what we have seen from IBM in the past.

The second positive message is, that everything was seamless, no human intervention needed. In the past if a firmware update was performed on an adapter where a port has been used in the SEA, it was necessary to release this port by re-configuring or destroying the SEA configuration. For SR-IOV update, I did nothing.

There were some messages triggered in the errlog, but once the process completed, the traffic keeps going via the interface.


If the Enhanced GUI brings more functionality like this, I’m more than happy to say ‘bye bye’ to the classic one.


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