FreeNAS Storage Server 2017- Part 3 Intel Firmware Updates

Good Morning Everyone!

I technically did this step when I first received the server, but from a logical layout of the project it makes sense to make it Part 3. Updating the firmware of Intel Server Systems is one of the easiest things to do. I checked the firmware of the this system when I got it and it hasn’t been updated since 2012… So it’s definitely time for an update. Lets get started.

How to update intel server systems

  1. Go to DownloadCenter.Intel.com and download the EFI firmware packages for your components.
    • Similar to all the other vendors they do have the firmware updates available for Windows/Linux/etc but the easiest and fastest way to do it through efi shell.
  2. Extract the files and place on flash drive
    • Now that the files have been downloaded, extracted them to your USB flash drive. If have a Intel Server System (instead of just the motherboard or something) you can extract the files to the root of the USB flash drive. Then when you boot into the EFI Shell, the EFI interface will automatically find the startup.nsh and start the update process.
    • If you have multiple components you are going to update then I would suggest that you organize them into folders on the USB drive. Some components like raid cards don’t use the startup.nsh script. Instead it will be RAIDcardmodel.nsh to start the update process.
  3. Plug flash drive into server and power on
  4. Boot into the EFI Shell

Press F6 to get the boot menu on the post screen

Once the Boot Menus is displayed, select “Internal EFI Shell”

5. In the Internal EFI Shell there is a couple of devices listed.

On the device menu screen, fs0 is your flash drive (assuming you only have 1 plugged in). If you have extracted the files on the root of the drive then you can wait the 10 seconds and the update process will start automatically.

type fs0: to select device to use. You will see the Prompt go from Shell:> to fs0:>

6. Change directorys and list the files to find the startup.nsh (if needed)

You will see startup.nsh, this script runs through and updates all the server system components expect add on cards(Raid cards, Nic cards, etc).

Type startup.nsh to start the update process.

If you only want to run an individual component you can run the corresponding .nsh file for that component.

When you use Intel Server Parts you have 2 options:

1. Buy in Intel Server System then add CPU, Memory, HD, and add on cards.

2. Buy all the individual components and assemble all of it yourself.

When you buy a Intel Server System the update process detects that it is a Server System and will automatically update 95% of the settings for you without needing your input. If you buy the individual components and assemble it yourself, you will be prompted for information like “Which Chassis are you using?” also you’ll have to manually set your thermal settings as well so in the long run it is easier to buy the Intel Server System.

You’ll be able to watch the update process.

Intel server system automated process starts with a Bios and BMC updates and then moves on to the ME firmware and the FRU/SDR information. If you are using the Intel Remote Management Card to connect to the system you connection will be dropped after updating the ME Firmware. You will have to restart the session

The FRU/SDR section is for 2 functions. 1 allows you to update Server information like serial numbers and support numbers from an OEM point of view. And the second part is fan and termal controls.

Keep the following options in mind:

  • Select “option 3” to update both this controls fans and put information into the bios
  • If  your using an intel server chassis it will auto find all the thermal Settings
    • If you’re using a 3rd party chassis with a common fan layout then you can specific medium fan settings for all the connected fans.
  • Select “no” to most of the server info configurations.
  1. Once the update process is done you’ll be placed back at your original prompt. At this point you can reboot the server and start using it or you can navigate to a different folder and update other components.

I hope this guide makes updating your servers easier! as always you can follow the progress of this build with the links below.

-TDSheridan

Part 1- The Plan
Part 2- The Build
Part 3- Firmware Updates
Part 4- Install FreeNAS
Part 5- Configure FreeNAS
Part 6- VMWare

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