Dell C6100 XS23-TY3 2U 4-Node (8 CPU) Cloud Server

ascareg

New Member
Jul 10, 2013
13
2
3
Portland, OR
Has anyone posted a guide on how to upgrade firmware on these boxes? I see there is BIOS, BMC, and FCB firmware to be loaded
There are a few references in these forums about flashing BIOS, BMC, and FCB.

For me, FCB didn't work because I have the PIC16 instead of PIC18, but BIOS and BMC worked with a bit of trying and googling. I found this link to be very helpful: Re: Dell C6100 BMC / BIOS HELP - Cloud Services - Forum - Cloud Services - Dell Community

The useful bit for me was this:
2. From Dell website downloaded Floppy ESM firmware v 1.28. (ESM - Embedded Server management - BMC)

3. Copied it to a bootable DOS Floppy .IMG image file and attached it as remote media through BMC console.



There are two folders KCSFlash and SOCFlash in that floppy. I used firmware from SOCFlash.

I do not remember exactly, but I think I flashed it with SOCFlash/dos/flash8.bat

At this poing BMC resets and its NIC has to be set to SHARED mode and IP address configured again.



4. Than power cycle the whole chassis. (After each firmware flash, the BMC has to be powered off or it will be unstable)

5. Now downloaded the Floppy BIOS v1.69, copied it to the same bootable DOS image file and attached it again as remote media.

The FBIOS.BAT would not work. Error: Incompatible ROM ID (or something like that)

You have to execute the following command: afudos 6100v169.ROM /p /b /n /c /x

The /x switch tells it to skip ROM ID compatibility check.

The BIOS flashed successfully and BMC
I used ESM/BMC firmware 1.29 and BIOS 1.69. There are newer available. Dell PowerEdge C | Latest Firmware
 

idea

Member
May 19, 2011
86
5
8
There are a few references in these forums about flashing BIOS, BMC, and FCB.

For me, FCB didn't work because I have the PIC16 instead of PIC18, but BIOS and BMC worked with a bit of trying and googling. I found this link to be very helpful: Re: Dell C6100 BMC / BIOS HELP - Cloud Services - Forum - Cloud Services - Dell Community

The useful bit for me was this:


I used ESM/BMC firmware 1.29 and BIOS 1.69. There are newer available. Dell PowerEdge C | Latest Firmware
Thanks that is very helpful. How did you do step #3? I'm not sure how to create a bootable floppy .IMG
 

idea

Member
May 19, 2011
86
5
8
I would just make a CD image.
I'm embarrassed to tell you how much time I've spent tonight trying to upgrade firmware. Does anyone have a fool proof plan? I guess I need a bootable ISO, and a way to add the firmware files to it?
 

gtallan

New Member
Apr 25, 2013
12
0
1
Minnesota
Something must be wrong. I put the cover back on and they still run at full speed. Gonna have to fix that cause it's really annoying. I haven't seen any ideas on google yet
I have similar experience (PIC16 FCB), though not really related to removing the cover, but although the FCB speeds the fans up over time, it never seems to ramp them down again without some kind of significant event happening (like rebooting a node).
 

alex1002

Member
Apr 9, 2013
519
19
18
Sorry to kick in, are these work with VMWARE Esxi? are they seem as single "Unit" or each node its like its own server?
 

Rain

Active Member
May 13, 2013
266
104
43
Sorry to kick in, are these work with VMWARE Esxi? are they seem as single "Unit" or each node its like its own server?
ESXi runs great on c6100 nodes! Each node is a completely different system, so to answer your question: No, one ESXi installation does not see all of the RAM and CPUs, only the RAM/CPU on that specific node. To effectively use all of the CPU horsepower and RAM installed in all of the nodes at once, you need to install ESXi on each node. Then, ether manually load-balance your VMs across the nodes or use vCenter+vMotion to manage everything.
 

benso37

New Member
Jun 25, 2013
18
0
1
Has anyone run into this error during startup? "Error: BMC not responding, F1 to continue". I just started using one of the nodes last night and found this error message. The error doesn't seem to be affecting anything though. I was able to install server 2012 without any issues. The server stayed up all night without rebooting but I would like to figure out what's causing that error. I haven't touched the IPMI settings yet.
 

shindo

New Member
May 7, 2013
26
0
1
WI, USA
Has anyone run into this error during startup? "Error: BMC not responding, F1 to continue". I just started using one of the nodes last night and found this error message. The error doesn't seem to be affecting anything though. I was able to install server 2012 without any issues. The server stayed up all night without rebooting but I would like to figure out what's causing that error. I haven't touched the IPMI settings yet.
I had this on one node. I was unable to configure IPMI on it, as the node would lock up after trying to change settings; so you may want to see if you can apply IPMI changes. Shortly after, the node started rebooting randomly. It was suggested to try to update the firmware, as I was a revision behind, but it rebooted too frequently to do so. The seller ended up sending me a new barebones node, which has worked fine since throwing in the old CPUs/RAM. I would definitely recommend troubleshooting this before any warranty/guarantee runs out.

Shindo
 

benso37

New Member
Jun 25, 2013
18
0
1
Also, I'm reading about people running into issues after setting up the IPMI through the BIOS so what is the best way to configure IPMI and remote management?
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
3,089
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I don't know about the "best" way, but I do know this:

- the reports of trouble with the C6100 IPMI all seem to be related to setting static IP configurations for IPMI
- AFAIK, there have been no reports of trouble when using DHCP or using the dedicated (vs shared) Ethernet port for IPMI.

YMMV, but my practice has been:
- set IPMI to DHCP (this is default)
- set IPMI to use the dedicated Ethernet port
- set up my DHCP server to use "reservation" based assignment to simulate static.

Using DHCP reservations has the same effect as using static IP. It works by having DHCP always assign a pre-defined IP for a given MAC address (and never assigning that same IP to any other MAC). Not all simple home routers will do it, but most of the better ones will. Almost all dedicated DHCP devices will do it.

In fact - I rarely use static IP setup at all anymore. My entrance router is static (subnet-dot-1). My primary managed switch is static (subnet-do-2). And one of my WiFi APs is static (subnet-dot-3). Everything else that needs to be "static" is managed using DHCP reservations in the DHCP server. It actually makes managing the network MUCH easier since any changes that need to be made can all be made in one place. No need run around logging into this machine and that machine to set their addresses. Life's good.

*** OK - little white lie there - I do have one really cheap IP camera that misbehaves when using DHCP. Its static too.
 
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benso37

New Member
Jun 25, 2013
18
0
1
So, the only way to get rid of this error is to flash the firmware?



I don't know about the "best" way, but I do know this:

- the reports of trouble with the C6100 IPMI all seem to be related to setting static IP configurations for IPMI
- AFAIK, there have been no reports of trouble when using DHCP or using the dedicated (vs shared) Ethernet port for IPMI.

YMMV, but my practice has been:
- set IPMI to DHCP (this is default)
- set IPMI to use the dedicated Ethernet port
- set up my DHCP server to use "reservation" based assignment to simulate static.

Using DHCP reservations has the same effect as using static IP. It works by having DHCP always assign a pre-defined IP for a given MAC address (and never assigning that same IP to any other MAC). Not all simple home routers will do it, but most of the better ones will. Almost all dedicated DHCP devices will do it.

In fact - I rarely use static IP setup at all anymore. My entrance router is static (subnet-dot-1). My primary managed switch is static (subnet-do-2). And one of my WiFi APs is static (subnet-dot-3). Everything else that needs to be "static" is managed using DHCP reservations in the DHCP server. It actually makes managing the network MUCH easier since any changes that need to be made can all be made in one place. No need run around logging into this machine and that machine to set their addresses. Life's good.

*** OK - little white lie there - I do have one really cheap IP camera that misbehaves when using DHCP. Its static too.
 

benso37

New Member
Jun 25, 2013
18
0
1
Well, I tried reflashing the BMC with the socflash tool and it looks like I bricked the board itself. I'm not getting any video or power LED but I hear the fans spin up when I push the power button. I can't find anything online on how to revive the board so I'll be looking for a new board on ebay.
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
3,089
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Did you check the service tag against Dell's warranty site? Some of the C6100s have been found with remaining warranty and Dell's warranty is transferable. Long shot - but its at least worth a look.
 

benso37

New Member
Jun 25, 2013
18
0
1
Unfortunately, mine tells me "Warranty information for this product is not available." Thanks for your help.
 

shindo

New Member
May 7, 2013
26
0
1
WI, USA
I would suggest contacting whoever sold you the machine. I would think that a board with a bad component would be covered under a short term guarantee.
 

benso37

New Member
Jun 25, 2013
18
0
1
My 30 day warranty ended 5 days ago. Has anyone heard of recovery a dead board using bootstrap? I'm doing some more research on this but it looks like the C1100 can be recovered with this undocumented feature. Hopefully, the same can be done for the C6100.
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
3,089
1,403
113
My 30 day warranty ended 5 days ago. Has anyone heard of recovery a dead board using bootstrap? I'm doing some more research on this but it looks like the C1100 can be recovered with this undocumented feature. Hopefully, the same can be done for the C6100.
At 35 days most reputable sellers will still honor it. You should contact them...