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

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: HP

HP ML115 G5 fans noisy following firmware upgrade


As part of my UK VMUG tour preparation I am rebuilding the vTARDIS to the GA build of vSphere, part of this required updating the firmware of my ML115 G5 server.

You can download the latest BIOS upgrade here (I had to use the USB key method) as I don’t have a compatible OS installed to allow the online ROM flash process.



Now if you do just this the fans will stay at 100% and it’s very noisy!

To fix this you need to install the following BMC (Baseboard Management Controller) upgrade

Upgrade BMC firmware


And that should sort it out

Confused by HP Flex10 Design for vSphere

HP have a very clever 10Gb Ethernet technology called Flex10, which is an evolution of the previous Virtual Connect modules, it allows you to carve a single 10Gb NIC into multiple FlexNICs of varying capacities; this is especially useful if you are looking to deploy vSphere on HP blades.

it can be tricky to visualise Flex10 without some pictures and simple explanations of how it’s put into practice, and I know I struggled with this when I first implemented it as well as various firmware/driver update issues -  luckily Julian Wood (also in the UK) has an excellent set of posts on just this very subject – check out his blog here

Julian has some specific posts around Flex10 as below;

my HP, EVA, c-series blade resources can be found here and my original How does Virtual Connect Work? guide (now very out of date) is here

As an aside just before the Christmas break I did some work with a customer implementing the next-generation of Flex10 blade hardware which is called FlexFabric, essentially using the on-board 10Gb NICs in G7 HP blades as a converged network adapter (CNA) to do FCoE and Ethernet in a single device, it’s clever but I’ve seen a significant number of driver and firmware issues so some of the kinks are still being worked out in ESX/HP integration but it looks like they are getting there now.

Matching an HP FlexNIC in ESXi to Chassis Flex10 Bay and Port Number at Install Time.


When you are setting up an HP blade with ESXi you’ll want to ensure the administration interface is setup on the correct FlexNICs so you can add it to vCenter and continue the configuration – this can be confusing as there can be a large number of NICs presented. Up to 4 per Flex10 module, and in this case we have 2 Flex10 modules in the chassis, giving a maximum of 8 FlexNICs per blade.

At this stage I found that the Easiest way to match up which FlexNICs you have mapped on the Virtual Connect administrator to how they show up in the ESXi (as vmnicX)  is as follows;

iLo to the ESXi installation, Hit F2/Configure Management Network/Network Adapters

Compare this with the Port mapping feature via the OA (shown below) and you can map the MAC addresses for each vmnic against the FlexNIC LOM:x-y entry so it quickly becomes obvious which is which.


You can also look in the server profile assigned to the blade if you need more information about which VLAN a FlexNIC maps to.


HP Blade iLo – it’s 2010 and disappointingly still using a 100Mb NIC?

I wrote this original post over 2 years ago when I first had to build a set of HP blades in a c7000 chassis, having just taken delivery of another c7000 I had hoped that technology in the onboard administrator (OA) modules had progressed a bit further than it has.

For some reason they still only have 100Mb/s on board NICs, despite all other parts of this chassis using the all-singing and dancing Flex10 10Gb technology.

iLo/OA NIC Settings


Blade Chassis Interconnect Bays – high speed goodness


Whilst I realise PXE and Altiris etc. are the preferred method for building out large numbers of blades, it doesn’t work for everyone and particularly when it’s the 1st chassis in a Greenfield environment you need to get an OS on a blade before you can even start to setup a PXE server – Windows 2003 over iLo takes about 4 hours to install, 2008 is even worse – or have someone use a USB attached CD to install the 1st blade an OS physically in the DC.

I accept that the iLo is for out of band, emergency type access where the blade OS isn’t accessible – but in my experience there are a large number of scenarios where you need to use tools that boot from DVD/CD .ISO images in a hurry like data recovery, forensic analysis, bare-metal OS restore tools, P2V tools etc. and 100Mb/s just doesn’t cut it these days.

Also if you work in a secured environment then getting clearance to run great and useful tools like DHCP/PXE on networks that could be routed to/from outside the DC is hard, sometimes virtual .ISO media over an isolated and secured OoB network or a person on-site in the DC with physical media is the only acceptable method for moving data.

Gigabit networking is such a ubiquitous technology these days, and with the OA modules for a blade chassis costing around £1k GBP each (2 generally required for redundancy) you would think there is enough budget to go for Gigabit on-board and make the excellent virtual media features really usable in all scenarios


On the plus-side, they have a fancy new BIOS splash screen 🙂


…or is it just me?

HP ML115 G5 Cheap Lab Servers going, going, going…


Just got this from ServersPlus – if you are thinking of building your own vTARDIS I would suggest you get in quick, I would assume the newer G6’es are coming but seem to be much more expensive and less ESX compatible based on Techhead’s view of the ML110 G6

Good morning,
I just wanted to let you know the latest info on the ever popular HP ML115 tower server which has landed back in stock with us today. The product has now been announced as end of life and will no longer be available after this last batch which HP have produced.
As a result, HP have also increased the cost price on the final shipments meaning that the lowest price we can offer them at is £249.95. Whilst I appreciate that this is quite a jump from the previous price, it is still by far the cheapest tower server available for its specification, and we still expect the final units to sell through quickly.
HP have announced that the ML115 will be replaced but cannot confirm any specs, prices or ETAs at this stage. Therefore, if you are interested in securing any of the last of the current model, I’d ask you to get in touch so that I can put them aside for you.


Ben Voce

Senior Account Manager

01977 739 014



Get them whilst they are hot!

Latest HP Firmware Maintenance CD v9


I can never seem to find these via the page, and Google eventually manages to find the best link so I have blogged this as much for my own reference as your use.

HP, how about it shows up properly in the site search?

Here are the details, hot of the {.ISO} press.. 🙂

Firmware – CD-ROM

Current version
Size (MB)
Estimated download time
Previous version

Download here
12 Apr 2010
56K: >8h
512K: 3h
22 Jan 2010

Resources for HP c-class blade and EVA Design for vSphere 4


I am currently working on a design for a vSphere 4  platform on HP’s EVA SAN and c-class blade chassis. In order to provide flexible network connectivity we are leveraging the new Flex 10 Virtual Connect Modules as well as VC Fibre Channel modules to simplify administration

Because finding things on the HP site can sometimes be a bit hit & miss, this post serves as a bookmark to the more useful resources I found.

Hardware Configurator – Generate Bill of Materials (BoM)

HP eConfigurator online tool to configure and cost blades and chassis options and produce a validated bill of materials – be sure to select your country to ensure you get the correct power options and list prices



Virtual Connect

HP Virtual Connect cookbook – updated for Flex 10 (Feb 2010)

Virtual Connect Webinar series

How does a Virtual Connect FC Module work? (warning – old and outdated with current firmware)


Flex10 Links

Virtualised Reality (Barry Coombs)


EVA Storage

HP EVA User Guide

Best Practices for HP Storageworks EVA with vSphere [Whitepaper]

Best Practices for HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array with VMware vSphere 4 [WEBINAR]


vSphere Installation

HP-Specific ESXi Installable Download (HP Passport Account Required)



HP Power Calculator Spreadsheets (BL, DL, PL, EVA) in .xls format (Office 2010 users need to “Enable Editing” to take it out of protected mode in order for the links to work

image image

HP Blade Power Sizing Utility (can be a bit buggy and slow – but works) – and can export in a number of different formats including Word (Example Doc)



Firmware Maintenance CD Download

Links Updated & Section reorganised 23rd Feb 2011

HP Virtual Connect Technical Webinar Series


HP are running a free series of technical webinars around their virtual connect technology, if like me you are trying to get your head around the VC technology, this is for you.

Visit the following URL and sign-up, there are a range of free local dial-in numbers for the audio – note, I couldn’t get it to work in Firefox so you may need to use IE like I did.

Seems that there was a timezone/daylight saving problem between the US and Europe for the 1st in the series which is being repeated now.

The sessions are being recorded and will be available online to replay at

A quick peek at the Flex-10 session is shown below, I’ve not seen a marketing/RoI slide yet so looks good to me 🙂


Problems with HP EliteBook and built-in un2400 3G Modem


I recently got a new laptop, an HP EliteBook 8530p; it’s quite a powerful machine and importantly for me has 8Gb of RAM and dual HDD’s which is very useful for the increasing number of VMs I have to carry around and run.

HP EliteBook 8530p - Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz - 15.4 " - 2 GB Ram - 250 GB HDD

Rather usefully it comes with a built in HP un2400 3G modem behind the battery, this is a really useful feature and is better than the USB dongles you usually get as there is no chance of dropping the laptop and snapping it off or breaking the USB port.

Unfortunately I had several problems with the x64 Vista OEM build the machine was supplied with, after resuming from sleep it was unable to find the 3G modem and would stoically refuse to recognise that it had one installed or work at all after the 1st connection.

imageSome posts on the web indicate this was fixed with an updated version of the HP Wireless Connection Assistant so I installed v3.5 from this page and the updated HP Connection Manager 2.0 (default build had v1.1) that seemed to sort of fix the sleep/resume problem but it still wasn’t working 100%. A forum post led me to turn off this option in the HP connection manager application, but still no joy

I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality of the drivers so went on a hunt (as you do) for newer ones.

Oddly if you look at the normal HP driver download page for this laptop it only lists a driver from June 2009 which doesn’t work, after some investigation with the HP RomPaq download tool it seems there is a newer driver on their FTP site, just it’s not listed on the web page – this driver is the most recent one version – 3.0 (details here) (sp45888 driver download here)

On 1st attempt just running the .exe it still didn’t work properly and didn’t install the driver, I had to extract the sp45888.exe file and run the C:\SWSetup\SP45888\Qualcomm\QCUSBDriver\setup.exe file rather than the setup.exe in the root of the SP45888 directory as you would normally do.

This setup app gives you a UI and lets you choose the carrier and contract type.

Once this was installed it worked ok. not the best quality control HP! – hope this post helps someone else with the same problem.


image As a side note – HP do you really need to have this many 3rd party apps, tools and drivers installed (and requiring updates) in the OEM build!?

sure there is an updater utility… but that’s a lot of build maintenance for people running lots of these machines?

HP ML115 G5 Autopsy (Motherboard Swap)

Following on from my iSCSI problems the other weekend one of my cheap vSphere hosts died and wouldn’t respond following a reboot.

After some investigation and disassembling it would power-up and spin the fans but switch off after about 15 seconds, as everything is integrated onto the motherboard it wasn’t looking too repairable, one of the clips holding on this heatsink had broken; which I assume leads to overheating at boot time and had cooked the chip underneath.


Luckily it was still under warranty from HP; so a quick call to HP support in the UK (well the number is in the UK anyway :))  and a call was logged for a replacement motherboard and PSU (just incase); they did offer to send an engineer but I said I was ok fitting it myself and they shipped the parts next-day via courier.

Just incase you ever need to do the same here is a step by step for replacing the motherboard.

1st step is to remove the case – which is just a case of undoing the thumbscrew on the back and sliding the cover off.

2nd step, remove the front bezel by pressing the tabs below – you will need to move the hard drive to remove the board


3rd step – remove the front of the drive cage by undoing the screw and removing the panel.


4th step lift the latch and slid the drive out of the way (you don’t need to totally remove it)

image image

5th step, undo all the cables to the motherboard – try to remember where they came from


Be careful with the case temperature sensor – it’s quite tricky to get to without tweezers unless you remove the CPU 1st.


6th step – remove the CPU and fan/heatsink assembly by undoing the screws below – you’ll need a long torx or small flat head screwdriver to get at the screws

image image

7th step – once undone, the motherboard screws (marked MHnn) can be removed and the motherboard lifted out.

8th step – heatsink/fan assembly is stuck to the CPU itself with heat paste and it should come off with a gentle pull.


The re-assembly is just the same process in reverse – the replacement motherboard kit should have a syringe of heat paste to re-apply to the heatsink/CPU.

New motherboard fitted and server has been returned to service.