Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

HP iLo Very Slow for Installing an OS


A bit of a disappointment; we’re trying to do a WinPE 2.0 CD/DVD based installation for our Windows 2003/2008 standard blade servers in an HP c7000 enclosure.

Installing from a .ISO image presented to the iLo via the virtual media applet is dog-slow (5-10 times slower than from a physical CD/DVD- why is this? – surely its technically possible to make this access run faster and GigE chipsets are cheap-as these days. I’ve been through every combination of switching/duplex/port config and even via a cable directly into the Blade OA.

The same issue seems to manifest itself on traditional rack mount HP servers – the iLo just isn’t fast enough to make this a workable solution, unless you are really patient.

I know we could use the RDP and do it as a PXE type installation over the network to each blade, but this doesn’t really achieve what I want…

Most customers maintain an OoB (Out of Band) network to which all of the management interfaces  (iLo, DRAC, etc.) are connected to. the reasoning for this is obvious; if you loose your main core switching network you can get access via a totally different physical network and path to assist in troubleshooting.

For this same reasoning I would like to use this method to build servers from a master boot CD/DVD image, you can present a .ISO image to a server via the virtual media applet on the iLo. We have a fully end-end build process that sets up the HP array controllers, flashes BIOS and installs the OS and drivers etc. from a CD/DVD.

We just update the boot CD .ISO file as required and its flexible and it doesn’t rely on any deployment infrastructure (PXE server, RDP server etc.) so we can port it between customers and data centres, VM’s and physical machines and do a bare-metal builds without requiring any build/network infrastructure in place.

This isn’t just limited to a Windows OS – I tried the same with an ESX installation; took over an hour (compared to 5-10 mins from a local CD)

22 responses to “HP iLo Very Slow for Installing an OS

  1. Aaron Delp February 27, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Hey! I just had this same thing a few weeks ago on a c7000. What kind of network switches are you using and what is the config on the ports?

    For us we were using the 3020’s and it turns out the ports from the blade to the switch were in trunk mode instead of access mode. It was taking FOREVER to lead the OS remotely over virtual media and the iLO. Checked the settings, put the ports in access mode… problem solved. Hope it helps…


  2. vinf February 27, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Interesting, we’ve tried a couple of different ways;
    laptop plugged directly into the OA still took 3 hours or so to serve a Win2003r2 .iso file (compared to maybe 40 mins from DVD)

    Patched into an external GigE switch – duplex all looks to be correct @100/full and still slow.

    What virtual media applet did you use? – I find the integrated console is slightly faster (but won’t work properly from a Vista workstation) than the Java one.

  3. vinf February 27, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    What sort of install times are you seeing via virtual media? are my expectations of under an hour end-end realistic… based on what I’m reading around the web maybe not?

  4. Aaron Delp February 28, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Now you’re testing me… 😉

    I don’t know your answers for sure because this was all relayed to me from the customer.

    The customer said iLO Virtual Media was unusable because it was so slow. They looked into it and as I was researching everything, they called back and said that putting the on board network ports on the blade into access mode at the switch fixed them and they were off and running. I didn’t see it first hand. If you think about it, I’m not sure how much sense it makes because they were making changes to the network ports for the ethernet on the blades, not the port the OA was on.

    According to them, they were using the integrated remote console (from IE on an XP desktop). The CD was a physical CD in the desktop drive, not an ISO. I can’t comment if it was slow compared to hooking a drive to the machine directly, but they were happy with the performance and loaded 12 blades with windows that way.

    I’ll be in meetings with some really smart HP blade people tomorrow. I’ll ask them on a break and let you know.

  5. Aaron Delp February 28, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Me again – I just heard back from the customer (late night e-mail FTW!) and I was incorrect. They had trunk mode set up between the uplink switch and all of the external ports on the Cisco switches in the chassis and also on the OA uplink ports.

    They switched the port setting on the uplink switch the OA was plugged into from trunk mode to access mode and this improved their performance. Since you were plugged right into the port with a laptop this probably won’t apply to you.

    Sorry for all the confusion!

  6. Steve March 11, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Can someone send the exact procedure to either check the port state or change to access. I have the same setup as described here (hp proliant bl465 blade with cisco 3020 switches) and also have the slow iso transfer speed during esx install.

    Thanks very much.

  7. Simon March 11, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Hi all,

    This poor performance seems to be something of a common problem.

    Our OA’s are showing the network speed being set to ‘Auto’ when viewing this setting via the web interface. Any attempt to change it (ie: to 100/Full), after refreshing see’s it reverting back to ‘Auto’.

    Interestingly when I use the command-line HP ILO utlity HPONCFG.EXE to perform a dump to an XML file of the current ILO settings, the NIC speed on an individual blade shows as only being set to 10 Half. Even when I reapply the ILO settings to that Blade via HPONCFG.EXE setting the speed to 100 Full this new setting still doesn’t seem to take.

    Is anyone else also experiencing this issue with ILO port speeds on the C class blades (via the OA)?



  8. Agnimitra Shekhar March 17, 2008 at 9:18 am

    The HP blade virtual media just does not work for me. It really sucks. It tries to access the drive but never boots from it, does not mater what you use (iso or physical cd drive).

  9. vinf March 17, 2008 at 9:39 am


    I’ve experienced similar…

    if you use IE7 on Vista, don’t use the “Integrated Remote Console” and map/mount the media that way – it just doesn’t seem to work reliably.

    I went back to using the other remote console options and mounting the virtual media via the iLo’s web browser interface, that works 100%.

    If you use IE6 or IE7 from an XP/2003 machine integrated remtoe console seems to work ok.

  10. S.Hussain May 29, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I’m experiancing the same issue right now while installing ESX via the iLO into a BL460C. Daman Slow guys.

  11. karim August 20, 2008 at 12:03 am

    To improve performance do the following. (you will need ILO advanced licenses and ILO 1.43+)

    1. Build a webserver on IIS 5.0+ and host your windows images in .ISO format on a virtual directory

    2. SSH into the IP address of the ILO interface of the Blade or Rackmount server

    3. You need to change to the following path using the cd command >
    /map1/oemhp_vm1/cddr1 (use cd /map1, cd /oemhp_vm1.. etc)

    4. Then >
    set oemhp_image=”http://ipaddress.of.webserver/iso/windows2003.iso”

    set oemhp_boot=connect


    5. Type >
    power reset

    6 The blade/server will then restart and boot off of the image via the webserver..

    This is considerably faster than using virtual media applet.


  12. Kosch April 2, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Just tried to mount a iso via http with a class C blade and its a no go as its complains it doesnt have an advanced licence which I guess is true as you get advanced ilo for free with the blades just not via a licence doh!

  13. PTCruiserGT January 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    If HP provided a way to disable SSL encryption, iLO2 would be much faster. If you have network that is already encrypted (VPN or other network encryption), then SSL for iLO is redundant. This is becoming very common at many customers. Hopefully HP will recognize this.

  14. Pingback: HP Blade iLo – it’s 2010 and disappointingly still using a 100Mb NIC? « Virtualization, Windows, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

  15. Micheal Black June 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I have a c7000 blade enclosure filled with BL460 blades. I use the 416003-001 cable to connect an external DVD player directly to the blade for ESX installs and copy .iso files to the SAN for VM OS installs. This is the direct management cable which has a video connector, a serial port and 2 USB ports and connects directly to the port on the front of the blade. If I need to do an update or ESX patches I just connect it an mount the DVD and go. It is MUCH faster than dealing with other methods.

    • Paul Cruiser July 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      We also have a c7000 blade chassis, but it and our other servers are located several hundred miles away in a remote data center. With the pathetic speed of iLO2 virtual media, it might be faster to drive there, but the whole point of iLO is to be able to do things remotely, and, more importantly, *efficiently*. Furthermore, there is simply no reason iLO2 should be slower than original iLO. Encryption of virtual media should be optional, not forced.

  16. samuel keating (@__s_a_m_u_e_l) December 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    to second karim’s comment.
    things are definitely faster when mounting the iso over http from the ilo command line.

  17. Dag Wieers September 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    We are using the python hpilo interface to mount a custom-made ISO over http and issue a reboot, and we noticed that iLO is _very_ slow in booting the ISO because it makes 626 requests of 64kB to the HTTP server. These requests happen in a span of 2 minutes for 37MB ISO image. I can reduce the size of the ISO some more, but it shouldn’t take 2 minutes to download a 37MB ISO.

    I suspect this is the link speed configuration which is set to Automatic, and I am pretty sure it should have been set to fixed 100Mb/FD…

  18. Joe November 28, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Dont’ force 100Mb/FD unless you also force it on the switch side… generally always leave it auto/auto or you will get midx miss match and the switch will go half duplex on you.

  19. Joe November 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Also… I am experiencing the same issue. Just loaded Win2008 R2 on Gen 8 blade, of course no drivers are pre-installed (have to make a new image me thinks) and then decided to load the latest SPP ISO via virtual media but copy rate is ~150KB/sec …. We have underutilized 10Gbit core between me and the 100mbit ilo port… face palm.

  20. dagwieers February 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Ok, after updating using the latest firmware DVD (v10.10), the speed increased to 12x 64kB per sec (768kB/sec) which makes a very big improvement in boot speed (in this particular case x12). This is close to the USBv1 limit so I don’t think we can expect a large improvement over this speed.

    iLO2 firmware was updated as part of the firmware DVD, now at v2.09 (11/04/2012), and the System ROM was updated to I24 (05/05/2011). Yes, this one is also called I24 ?!?

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