There are 2 ways you can update host / boot firmware in openPOWER machines
a) Via BMC console
b) Via BMC REST API
In this post we will see the steps for updating the host firmware via BMC console:
Step1: Get to the BMC console (via ssh)
ssh root@<openBMC IP>
Step2: Now we want to make sure host power is off
Step3: Get the host flash binary into /tmp location on BMC
wget <link to host firmware>
Step4: Start flashing the new firmware using ‘pflash’ utility. Once you know for sure host power is off ( you can check it via <obmcutil state>)
pflash -E -f -p <flash-binary-name>.pnor
Step5: Once you see the flash progress reach 100% and complete, try to get the power on
Step6: Check the console , if your host is booting successfully
Above steps (specifically the pflash command above) completely wipe out your flash chip (including boot preferences) and replace it with new host firmware. If you, instead wanted to save boot preferences then you need to back up the NVRAM partition using the flow below:
pflash -P NVRAM -r nvram
pflash -E -f -p <flash-binary-name>.pnor
pflash -e -P NVRAM -p nvram
rm -rf nvram
Before we go on to look at optimizing the CPU frequency on Power systems, it is important to know what frequency you are running at. For this make sure you have powerpc-utils package installed.
dnf install powerpc-utils
yum install powerpc-utils
apt-get install powerpc-utils
Once you install this package, you can run the following command to know the frequency your CPU can run at:
sudo ppc64_cpu --frequency
STEP 1 of Optimization:
To optimize CPU frequency for OpenPOWER distributions for ppc64le we first need install the kernel module specific to POWER-PC Architecture and then change the governor to “performance” enhancing mode.
On Fedora and some other openPOWER distributions this kernel module is not installed by default. For example: On Barreleye server, because of absence of this module on Fedora 23, Kernel doesn’t have enough info to scale the CPU very well. And hence puts CPU at a defensive “2.0 Ghz” instead of full “3.5 Ghz”.
Here is how you load the kernel module specific to PPC64LE to make sure CPU scales.
Good number of openPOWER servers run openBMC. OpenBMC as of today does NOT support network IPMI but it does support host-BMC IPMI. We can use this to set static IP on BMC using standard IPMI tool commands
Set openBMC to static IP from Host / Petitboot:
To set the BMC running openBMC to static address, run following ipmitool commands from petitboot / host.
ipmitool lan set 1 ipsrc static
ipmitool lan set 1 ipaddr 10.127.xx.xx
ipmitool lan set 1 netmask 255.255.252.0
ipmitool lan set 1 defgw ipaddr 10.127.xx.xx
ipmitool raw 0x06 0x40
You can print lan credentials using:
ipmitool lan print
Remember default credentials of BMC is root and 0penBmc
Set openBMC to get static IP from openBMC linux shell:
You can use standard linux “ip” command to set the IP address to static
ip link set eth0 down
To force eth0 up
ip addr add 192.168.1.1 dev eth0
To set up routing:
ip route add 192.168.1.0/24 via 192.168.1.1 dev eth0
OpenPOWER servers have Petitboot bootloader to manage the bootup options / preferences.
Since petitboot is relatively new I am putting together this guide to help walk through on how to set up devices to boot from any device (network or disk).
Power on the server and wait for Petitboot to come up via the VGA console (or OOB)
Select and click “system configuration” using the key-board arrows and enter key.
You will find below menu to customize the boot up options. In order to boot from any device, select and press enter on ” Clear and boot Any” option as below
Once you finish step 3, you will see that Boot Order in the first line of the screen short below changes to “(0) Any Device”
Now let’s save this boot config. For saving the boot order we have to go all the way down to the boot menu with down arrow key and select and press enter on “OK”
At this point you will be returned to petitboot menu and you have successfully set to boot from any device. From your next power on your server will automatically boot into an image that it finds first.
Power-off, Unrack and rack your server (or hard reboot) to test that “boot from any device” preference is working. When you un-rack and re-rack your server, you will have to wait few minutes (for BMC orange light to go off) before you press the host power on button.