If There's One Feature I Want…

If there’s one feature I want to see added to VMware Virtual Infrastructure it’s the ability to update hardware firmware.

“Hi, I’m VirtualCenter. I noticed you have a Dell PowerEdge 2950 with BIOS 2.3.1. I have a copy of BIOS 2.4.3, let me put that on there for you. Your fibre channel HBA has firmware from the stone age? No big deal, maintenance mode, update, reboot, awesome. BTW, I also set the queue depth on the HBA to the optimal values.”

Perhaps you can speculate what I’ve spent the last few hours doing… several hours of my life I’m never getting back. I can only imagine that VMware has thought of this already, but I wish they’d hurry up. 🙂

13 thoughts on “If There's One Feature I Want…”

  1. How about VMware just exposes some APIs or preferably a framework to the hardware vendors and allow them to automate the process from within VC?

    I can’t see VMware dedicating the time to automate this for all the different manufacturers (Dell, HP, IBM, Sun, etc) there’s just too many servers on the HCL these days; but with the right hooks into VC, it’s definitely something I can see the vendors jumping on board with (along the lines of Dell’s integration with Altiris’ Deployment Solution).

  2. Precisely the reason I’ve been using HP Proliants for ESX almost exclusively. HP has maintained a bootable firmware maintenance CD for years that does auto-detection and installs all selected firmwares in a single cycle. I’ve needled Dell for this for years and all they’ve produced to date is a multi-disc equivalent. Until OpenManage 5.3, you had to boot an ESX host to a DOS floppy (or possibly USB key?) to upgrade its firmware.

    Bob, I know you’re a Dell guy. That’s probably why you have this particular pain. 😉

  3. I don’t understand it. If you don’t like doing your job, find something else to do.

    I’ve been reading your blog for the past month or so, and you seem new. For instance, common problems seem to baffle you, and you then post and whine that “you won’t get those hours back”.

    Sounds like job dissatisfaction to me…

  4. Wow… Hax Or, speaking of being junior…

    I’m not a Systems Engineer because I care to spend my time working on repetitive tasks that trained monkeys can do (such as patching firmware). I do my job because it affords me opportunities to use my brain.

    Do I get caught at times having to work on things cause me to be frustrated with my job? Sure, that’s why I take money as payment.

    However, I don’t think it is out of line to request that a vendor automate things when the technology to do so exists. “Hey, I’m spending a lot of money with you guys…. You know what would add even more value to your product?….”

    Then again, maybe licenses for certain products should come with a Hax Or to be a patch monkey.

  5. Learn programming.

    Automate them yourself like the rest of us.

    LOL. BTW, BIOS Updates? Don’t automate them. You’re going to hose something…

  6. Thanks for the advice, Hax Or. If I could be allowed to give some, perhaps you should actually use the things I’m “whining” about before you bitch about what I’m saying. Like ESXi, where there isn’t a console OS to use to automate things (I have automated most everything else in my environment). With VMware stating that ESXi is the way of the future they’ll need to add something like hardware firmware updating.

    As for BIOS updates, maybe you should use a hardware vendor that actually publishes reliable patches. I bet you’re the kind of guy that builds his own servers, though, because it’s cheaper and cooler. Oh, and for the record I’m not new at any of this, I’m just tired of the elitist bullshit that many sysadmin types pull, just because they think they’re hot shit. I bet you’re the type that’ll spend 40 hours figuring out why one of your desktop network ports is having errors while actual, important problems go unresolved, and then you’ll bitch because your boss (who can see the big picture) will “make” you go fix those other things.

    And as for me whining about hours of my life I’m never getting back, it’s because I could have spent those hours with my girlfriend, my friends, or doing something to advance IT in my organization. Being holed up in a data center doesn’t appeal to me anymore, but apparently it’s right up your alley.

    I’m just glad I don’t work with you. For the sake of the rest of the world please stay in Iowa. And when VMware adds this sort of functionality don’t be a hypocrite and use it. That would just be wrong.

  7. Hax — Have you worked in an environment with more that just a handful of servers that are the same models/specs? VMWare environments can and tend to be in the 100’s of servers. Automation in that case, is key to successful administration.

  8. Scott, thanks for the link. It should be obvious that that solution is nowhere near the practicality and supportability of being able to download a single vendor-supported CD ISO like I can with HP’s FW maintenance CD.

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