Despite being an IBMer I have greater experience with HP servers, mainly because my customers have decided to go the HP path. Nothing wrong with that if you keep the hardware happy, which means you need to have the latest and greatest BIOS and device firmware versions applied. Since we don’t use HP SIM, the BIOS and firmware updates are done manually by downloading the latest HP SPP iso file and scan the hosts one-by-one. Once we have the BIOS and firmware up-to-date we usually update the drivers together with the ESXi patching cycling. For this purpose we must have all drivers downloaded and then manually loaded to the VMware Update Manager (VUM). Once we have them loaded we can use the default Critical and Non-critical baselines to apply the latest patches and drivers together. So far so good… but a lot of manual work.
For BIOS and firmware update you can use the HP SIM solution to get some level of automation, if you have that solution implemented to your environment.
For drivers update you can use the VUM repositories updated on a monthly basis by HP. You can find them here:
Selecting one of the months you will see two .xml files which must be loaded to your VMware Update Manager repository.
In the past you had to go and check if there are new drivers released or not, which is annoying, time consuming and very likely to be forgotten. HP finally created a folder named Latest which contains always the latest device drivers. Once you add the .xml files from that location the drivers will be automatically downloaded and you can scan and remediate your hosts without any additional actions.
Using this VUM settings the latest drivers will be downloaded according to your download schedule settings.
Another useful tip for keeping your HP servers happy while running VMware ESXi is to follow the HP Recipe, which you can find here. The file is being updated on a regular basis but the link is always the same. You can find recommendations for firmware and drivers matching for different version of ESXi.
From my personal work experience I can say that if you want to have a smoothly functional environment you have to always consider using the latest BIOS, firmware and drivers and keep them updated.
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