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How can I update/upgrade/flash the firmware of an HP SAS expander card [468406-B21 a.k.a. 487738-001]?

I used to do this using Windows and a HP P410 Smart Array controller, however that controller is no longer available.

The online ROM flash component is not an option because I don't own HP Smart Array controller. Neither is the HP Service Pack for ProLiant + USB key/stick an option because that requires a ProLiant server.

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Upgrading the HP SAS expander is possible using Linux and a SAS HBA.
Note: Flashing firmware to a SAS expander will likely not work when the expander is connected to a SAS RAID controller because that controller might hide all devices behind it from the OS. An example of a SAS HBA is Supermicro SAS2LP-MV8.

In case you haven't got Linux, you can use a Linux Live CD. You could try the most recent Ubuntu Live CD. A 32-bit download will do. 64-Bit will also work.

1. Prerequisites

  1. Start a Linux terminal
    That is Ctrl+Alt+T using the Ubuntu LiveCD.

  2. Make sure your internet connection is working
    To download and install additional components

  3. Make sure your SAS expander card is detected in Linux
    # lsscsi -g | grep HP
    Should return something like:
    [6:0:0:0] enclosu HP HP SAS EXP Card 2.08 - /dev/sg1
    [6:0:1:0] enclosu HP HP SAS EXP Card 2.10 - /dev/sg2

2. Setup utility

You use sg_write_buffer version ≥ 1.15 to download microcode when the expander is connected to a host bus adapter (HBA). To download and install this utility in 32-bit Ubuntu or Debian, use:

# curl -O http://sg.danny.cz/sg/p/libsgutils2-2_1.39-0.1_i386.deb && 
curl -O http://sg.danny.cz/sg/p/sg3-utils_1.39-0.1_i386.deb && 
dpkg -i *_1.39-0.1_i386.deb

The sg_write_buffer utility version ≥ 1.15 — distributed in sg3_utils version ≥ 1.39 — added a --bpw option to download in small chunks. An expander might require a small chunk size like 4096 bytes.

3. Get and unpack HP firmware image

  1. Get the expander firmware image file, for example version 2.10 (C) — dated 9 Sep 2014:
    # curl -O http://downloads.hpe.com/pub/softlib2/software1/sc-linux-fw-array/p6670438/v96061/CP022989.scexe
    Although they sound like Windows/DOS executables, .scexe files from HP are really Linux executable scripts that you can view in a text editor (at least the first part).

  2. Running a 64-bit Linux and having issues with the next command? Then make sure you can run 32-bit executables. The commands in Ubuntu are:
    # dpkg --add-architecture i386 && apt-get update && apt-get install libstdc++6:i386

  3. To extract the firmware image from this .scexe file:
    # mkdir tmp && chmod +x CP022989.scexe && ./CP022989.scexe --unpack=tmp && mv tmp/PUF21000.bin . && rm -r tmp/

4. Flash SAS expander

When the expander to be upgraded/flashed is named sg1 (check with lsscsi -g | grep HP), use:

# sg_write_buffer --mode=dmc_offs_defer --bpw=4096 --in=PUF21000.bin /dev/sg1
# sg_write_buffer --mode=activate_mc /dev/sg1

Older devices might only support --mode=0x7. Mode 0x7 is also known as dmc_offs_save, which does download microcode with offsets, save and activate.

5. Remove temporary files

# rm PUF21000.bin

You might need to unload (for instance modprobe -r mvsas) and load (f.e. modprobe mvsas) your HBA module again or reboot to reflect the firmware version changes in lsscsi -g output.

  • 2
    +1 for creativity, but this sounds a bit risky. I would just update the firmware before deploying the SAS expander by using an HP server or Smart Array controller. This product is end-of-life, so the incidence of new firmware releases is low. – ewwhite Sep 26 '14 at 18:57
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    @ewwhite I can't weight the involved risks. Though it might be that in the background the HP tools are doing the same thing. Actually this procedure was suggested by Robert Elliott from HP Server Storage (of course without any warranties). Regarding end-of-life, I don't see being EOL mentioned on h10057.www1.hp.com/ecomcat/hpcatalog/specs/provisioner/99/… Having a look at the photo you can even see a new layout PCB design: the external SFF-8088 connector is now made an internal SFF-8087 connector. – Pro Backup Sep 26 '14 at 20:03
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    It's EOL because the expander is not compatible with Gen8 or Gen9 servers. – ewwhite Sep 26 '14 at 20:05
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    I followed this guide today and thought that it did not work because "lsscsi -g" did not reflect any changes to version string for the HP Expander Card despite successful commands, modprobe reset, restart and full shutdowns. It was only after giving up that I noticed that link negotiation now worked properly for full speed. So, even if you don't see any change to version string. It might have worked anyway! – Christian Isaksson Sep 16 '15 at 17:09
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    The updated location to the firmware mentioned is at downloads.hpe.com/pub/softlib2/software1/sc-linux-fw-array/…. – Brian Hasden Dec 12 '16 at 1:16

protected by Sven Nov 29 '14 at 10:56

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