Dell M610 BIOS Update on ESXi 4.1

I recently needed to update the BIOS on a Dell PowerEdge M610 blade running ESXi 4.1 offsite. The server had an iDRAC Enterprise, giving me access to the local console and virtual media — however, the only BIOS update I could find from Dell was for Windows or DOS. This is usually fine, as you can copy the BIOS files directly to the floppy boot disk, boot the machine with that virtual media and run your update. The bad news was this update rang in at 1.542MB, slightly larger than my 1.38MB free space on a floppy disk.

  • Using a Windows XP virtual machine, I created a virtual floppy image and attached it as A:
  • In the Windows XP virtual machine, I formatted the disk as a system disk.
  • Using WinImage I selected Disk > Use floppy A: and then Disk > Read disk
  • Once I had all of my system files in the display, I selected Image > Change format… to create a 2.88MB floppy disk
  • I then copied my M610 firmware to the image
  • Finally, I saved the image as a .flp file and attached it to the iDRAC as a virtual floppy.

Not as easy and straight forward as I would have hoped, but it worked in the end.  If anyone has a better suggestion on how to make this easier please post a comment and let us (me) know.

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4 Responses to Dell M610 BIOS Update on ESXi 4.1

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks! This was much simpler than anything else I tried.

  2. Betrai says:

    Hi, I’ve using the WEB for my works so it’s time to give something back.
    this is how we do it:
    1. download the nonpackage firmware from DELL site. the file name is PEM10-xxxxx.exe where xxxx will change with the version available. eg. version 3.0.0 is PEM610-030000C.EXE
    2. download diagnostic tool. eg. DELL_32-BIT-DIAGNOSTICS_5118-3_R212797.exe. again. the verison numbe will change from time to time
    3. Launch the tool and accept the default folder
    4. copy the firmware file in step 1 to the DIAGS folder of the step 2
    5. in the GUI of step 3, select create a bootable CD option. do not tick the the burning option. it will create an ISO image. Name it to whatever you’d like to call it
    6. iDRac to your ESX server
    7. Connect your virtual media to the iso image created in step 5
    8. reboot the server. when it finish booting up with the menu, choose option 4 to quit
    9. change to C: drive
    10. do the DIR and ensure that the PEM601~1.exe does exit
    11. just run PEM610~1.exe and it will complete the firmware upgrade to the. During the upgrad session, it will ask you to confirm the firmware version as you go thru. it is all straight forward from there.

  3. Betrai says:

    sorry, I forgot to say when the server reboot, select F11 and then select the Virtual CD

  4. Larry says:

    How to update Firmware on PowerEdge Blade Servers that have VMware ESX/ESXi

    1) Download the latest SUU DVD ISO and burn to DVD. These contents are used as input by SBUU. Download the latest SBUU DVD ISO and burn.

    2) Connect an external USB CD/DVD ROM to blade (ESXi host) and boot to the SBUU CD. Select the “Dell Systems Build and Update Utility” option.*By default the correct option is already highlighted and after a few seconds will automatically launch.

    3) The next screen will give you the option of selecting preferred language and License Agreement. Select English and Accept agreement.

    4) On the System Build and Update Utility Home Page under System Deployment Options, select Configure in the Firmware Update column.

    5) This will bring you to the Firmware Update Configuration page. Select the CD/DVD ROM radio button and click Continue.

    6) You will get a pop-up window saying “Unable to find Server Update Utility (SUU) repository, please insert the correct media”. The SBUU CD will automatically eject. Put in the latest SUU CD and click OK on pop-on window. This will start the inventory process in which you can monitor progress.

    7) When the inventory process is complete it will bring you to the Comparison Report. This will show you what firmware is up-to-date (green check) and what needs to be updated (blue up arrow). By default all the updatable items are checked. You can uncheck an item if you do not want it updated. Click the System Build and Update Utility Home button.

    8) At the System Development Options section you will notice that the Action column now shows View/Edit/Reset under the Firmware Update. Click the Apply/Export Configuration button.

    9) This brings you to the Dell Systems Build and Utility screen where the firmware update process is underway. When the firmware updates are complete the server will reboot. Note: If reboots are required after each firmware deployment step a reboot button will appear at the bottom of the screen. You will need to repeat steps 2 – 9 until all firmware updates are completed.

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