Upgrading Dell ESM firmware on an unsupported OS

I recently received a free Dell Poweredge 1750 from work ( they were having a clearout of old hardware and I grabbed it first ), and naturally the first thing I installed was Funtoo ( essentially it’s an experimental version of Gentoo ) .

Installation worked fine, but the only problem I have is the server is quite loud. Plugging in the second PSU dropped the noise considerably, but I would like it to be quieter. Googling around, I found a few suggestions to upgrade the BIOS and ESM firmware, upgrading the BIOS was simple – download the BIOS .bin file from Dell, chmod +x and run, but the ESM upgrade isn’t as simple.

I attempted downloading the ESM file from Dell , and setting the execute permission on the file, it indicated some dependencies were missing:

./spsetup.sh: Cannot find utilities on the system to execute package.
Make sure the following utilities are in the path:
sed stty cut fmt stat look lockfile tail rm mkdir mktemp chmod ls basename dirname sleep

After satisfying the dependencies ( I had to install app-arch/rpm to satisfy rpm, and mail-filter/procmail to satisfy lockfile ), I re-ran the ESM script, and received this error:

line 123: source: buildVer.sh: file not found

Apparently the reason for this error is because the script from Dell doesn’t work with bash 4 ( in bash and earlier the ‘source’ command looks in the same path as the running script, in bash 4 and later it doesn’t ).  I did try to modify the scripts and fix the bug ( ie replacing source buildVer.sh with source ./buildVer.sh ), which did fix that error, but just raised more.

In the end, I simply downloaded the CentOS-based Dell OSMA live cd. I didn’t have a screen attached to the server, however luckily it runs SSH on boot – the only problem being I didn’t have the password to the live cd. In the end, I pressed ctrl+alt+f1 , then blindly typed:

passwd
testpass
testpass

Which reset the root password, and allowed me to log in via ssh to the server. I then ran:

wget http://downloads.dell.com/esm/PE1750-ESM-LX-A37.bin
chmod +x PE1750-ESM-LX-A37.bin
./PE1750-ESM-LX-A37.bin

After a few minutes the firmware upgrade was successfully installed:

Collecting inventory...
......................................................................................................................
Running validation...

ESM

The version of this Update Package is the same as the currently installed version.
Software application name: Baseboard Management Controller
Package version: 1.84
Installed version: 1.84

The version of this Update Package is the same as the currently installed version.
Software application name: Primary System Backplane
Package version: 1.01
Installed version: 1.01

The version of this Update Package is the same as the currently installed version.
Software application name: Sensor Data Records
Package version: 0.33
Installed version: 0.33

Continue? Y/N:y
Y entered; update was forced by user
Executing update...
WARNING: DO NOT STOP THIS PROCESS OR INSTALL OTHER DELL PRODUCTS WHILE UPDATE IS IN PROGRESS.
THESE ACTIONS MAY CAUSE YOUR SYSTEM TO BECOME UNSTABLE!
..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
The ESM firmware update completed successfully.
Would you like to reboot your system now?
Continue? Y/N:y

After rebooting, the new firmware was installed.

4 thoughts on “Upgrading Dell ESM firmware on an unsupported OS”

  1. Thank you for writing this entry. I’ve been farting around with a Dell PowerEdge 2450, trying to update the original year 2000 RAID card firmware to the latest 2007 firmware, and had been running into essentially the same issues you did.
    You’ve given me the push in the right direction I needed – Thanks! 🙂

  2. Thank you for the information. I am just curious, did the ESM firmware upgrade make the server quieter? From what I can see in the output the existing firmware was already up-to-date.

  3. Hi Paul,

    I think that the output above was from when I re-ran the install so I could note the output in the blog post, when I did the upgrade the first time it did increase a few versions. It did make the machine a bit quieter, but not a lot quieter. The biggest result I had for reducing the noise was vacuuming out the fans and plugging both PSUs in.

    Simon

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