Online firmware updates for HP ProLiant servers running VMware ESXi 5.0 and later

HP has silently introduced a new tool which is very handy to reduce downtime and manual labor when updating firmware on HP ProLiant  servers.

Until the release of VMware SmartComponents an administrator needed to shutdown a VMware host to update the firmware of the server. The method used the HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) ISO to update firmware. After the firmware was installed, ESXi could be booted again.

Not anymore using SmartComponents. A SmartComponent is a self-contained HP proprietary package that installs/updates firmware on HP servers and infrastructure. SmartComponents contain everything needed to install the firmware as well as the firmware itself.

These SmartComponents are only supported on an ESXi host running ESXi 5.0 or later.

SmartComponents can be used in two ways to update firmware without bringing down the HP server:

  1. using the vCenter Server with HP Insight Control for vCenter
  2. using the Tech Support Mode on the ESXi host

Prerequisites
To use these SmartComponents, either the indicated version of HP ESXi 5.0 custom image must be installed on the ESXi host, or the versions of HP Insight WBEM Providers and HP Agentless Management need to be installed on the ESXi host running ESXi 5.0 or newer.

Version 7.1.1 of Insight Control for vCenter
Version 5.25 or later of the HP ESXi 5.0 Custom image
Version 1.3.5 or later of the HP Insight WBEM Providers offline bundle
Version 9.2.5 or later of the HP Agentless Management offline bundle

Download the software here.

See the release notes of the December 2012 VMware SmartComponents for Insight Control for vCenter

Derek Seaman has some more information on his blog.

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