Updating firmware etc on a Dell R720

See also: Updating firmware etc on a Dell R730

I started writing this blog about a month ago. Last night, I did the firmware upgrade completely forgetting I had this draft post in my blog.

Instead of reading this, I wound up doing something very similar, and pretty much lived tweeted it.

After upgrading the IDRAC to the latest, I then went into the LifeCycle Controller and upgraded nearly all the things. However, these things failed to upgrade:

  1. Enterprise UEFI Diagnostics
  2. OS Drivers Pack
  3. Power Supply.Slot.1
  4. Power Supply.Slot.2
  5. System CPLD

I’m pretty sure all those are OK, and I can live without them. I saved a full list of what was upgraded.

Of note: the remote console did not work before I did the upgrade. Afterwards, it did. This makes me want to upgrade the iDRAC on my R710. As I typed that, I realized the R720 is replacing the R710.

[Sep 05 11:39]  <dvl>	I was looking on homelab wiki for Dell firmware upgrade instructions.  Failing.
[Sep 05 11:42]  <dvl>	ahh https://old.reddit.com/r/homelab/wiki/hardware/dellr720
[Sep 05 12:06]  <LeoTh3o>	dvl: what are you trying to upgrade specifically?
[Sep 05 12:37]  <dvl>	LeoTh3o: 'firmware and such' <=== said my coworker.
[Sep 05 12:37]  <LeoTh3o>	you'll want to update the iDRAC and LC firmware first
[Sep 05 12:37]  <LeoTh3o>	if you are on a firmware lower than 1.66.67, then be sure to update to that specific version first
[Sep 05 12:37]  <LeoTh3o>	and then to the latest, else you'll brick the iDRAC
[Sep 05 12:38]  <LeoTh3o>	...actually, add another step
[Sep 05 12:38]  <LeoTh3o>	< v1.66.67 -> v1.66.67 -> v2.0.* (whatever was the first 2.x release) -> latest
[Sep 05 12:39]  <LeoTh3o>	you can't upgrade anything else if you haven't manually upgraded the iDRAC, because Dell broke it by bumping up the TLS version used
[Sep 05 12:39]  <LeoTh3o>	once you are on the latest v2.63-something, you'll be able to use the lifecycle controller to bring everything up to date
[Sep 05 13:11]  <dvl>	LeoTh3o: I am adding this to an upcoming blog post.  Is it OK to include your nick in this?
[Sep 05 13:12]  <LeoTh3o>	sure
[Sep 05 13:12]  <LeoTh3o>	I mean, I don't really care either way
[Sep 05 13:14]  <LeoTh3o>	the reason for the iDRAC firmware stepping is that 1.x and 2.x codetrains use a different partition scheme, and straight upgrades to the latest end up with a bricked iDRAC, since the extra scripts to handle the transition have been removed from later 2.x versions
[Sep 05 13:15]  <LeoTh3o>	to recover from that you'd need to attach via UART serial and provide the update via TFTP, which is kind of a pain, so best to avoid it
[Sep 05 13:17]  <LeoTh3o>	For the manual update procedure, support.dell.com provides all the packages needed. You can pull the .exe package for windows, unpack it with 7z and get the "firmimg.d7" in the payload directory, and push that via the iDRAC's web GUI under Update and Rollback
[Sep 05 13:18]  <LeoTh3o>	the iDRAC will process it and take about 5 minutes to reboot - the server power status won't change
[Sep 05 13:19]  <LeoTh3o>	you could theoretically push .exes directly, but that requires the server to power cycle, and brings up the lifecycle controller to install them. Tends to hang in my experience waiting to do that on boot, so using firmimg.d7 is more straightforward
[Sep 05 13:23]  <LeoTh3o>	if you ever find yourself in the need to recover from a bricked iDRAC, you can look at https://github.com/Fohdeesha/idrac-7-8-reverse-engineering
[Sep 05 13:23]  <LeoTh3o>	note that in some cases the EMMC containing the filesystem and kernel is simply worn out, and short of replacing it and doing reflow you can't fix it
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