HP DL380Gen9 installing on SD Card using UEFI

Intro

Recently we purchased a few HP DL380 GEN9 servers to test our installations for ESXi, Windows and Linux.

Normally we install our ESXi environment on a SD Card, which worked fine on the G7 and Gen8 series.

Now the new Gen9 series start default with UEFI boot, tried the normal install, but huh that failed.

Switched to “Legacy Boot” which worked fine, I still wanted to see if we can get it to work with UEFI so started browsing the internet and I found the following posts which already refer to this issue.

The problem seems to be the PXE boot environment which isn’t UEFI Compatible.

Bootloader / PXE

The problem seems to be the bootloader, originally the “Legacy bootloader” is configured default on many PXE boot environments, so we need to prepare them for the future and support UEFI also.

PXE Bootloader

PXE Bootloader

See the article below which explains how it works and what needs to be done on Windows/RedHat PXE boot environments.

http://h20564.www2.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=c04565930

VMWare says you cannot use it now according to this article. (It will work when you install and use local disks etc. The only thing that isn’t supported is Networkprovisioning/PXE boot)

https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.install.doc%2FGUID-DEB8086A-306B-4239-BF76-E354679202FC.html

You cannot provision EFI hosts with Auto Deploy unless you switch the EFI system to BIOS compatibility mode.

Network boot of VMware ESXi or provisioning with VMware Auto Deploy requires the legacy BIOS firmware and is not available with UEFI.

This probably will probably be fixed in newer versions of the Auto Deploy environment.

SD Card problem?

There also can be problems when using the SD-CARD on a HP DL380 Gen9 which can be solved by 2 solutions

1) ILO Bug, according to this post there has been a ILO bug which causes the server not detecting the SD-CARD

http://v-strange.de/index.php/hardware/190-installing-vmware-esxi-on-sd-card-on-hp-proliant-gen9

The scope of servers which have this problem could be any HP ProLiant Gen8 or ProLiant Gen9 server with HP Integrated Lights-Out 4 (iLO 4) Firmware Version 1.51 through 2.02 and a Secure Digital (SD) card installed.

This can be solved by an ILO firmware update :

http://h20566.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=c04555714&jumpid=em_alerts_us-us_Feb15_xbu_all_all_2311152_208935_proliantserversstorageoptionsandaccessories_recommended_006_0

If your firmware is up to date you should get to the next step

2) According to this post you should disable USB3.0, after a little search I found the article below which describes how to turn it off.

Use this option is set the USB 3.0 Mode.

  1. From the System Utilities screen, select System ConfigurationBIOS/Platform Configuration (RBSU)System OptionsUSB OptionsUSB 3.0 Mode and press Enter.

  2. Select a setting and press Enter:

    • Auto (default)—USB 3.0-capable devices operate at USB 2.0 speeds in the pre-boot environment and during boot. When a USB 3.0 capable OS USB driver loads, USB 3.0 devices transition to USB 3.0 speeds. This mode is compatible with operating systems that do not support USB 3.0 while still allowing USB 3.0 devices to operate at USB 3.0 speeds with modern operating systems.

    • Enabled—USB 3.0-capable devices operate at USB 3.0 speeds at all times (including the pre-boot environment) when in UEFI Boot Mode. Do not use this mode with operating systems that do not support USB 3.0. When operating in Legacy BIOS Boot Mode, the USB 3.0 ports do not function in the pre-boot environment and are not bootable.

    • Disabled—USB 3.0-capable devices function at USB 2.0 speeds at all times.

  3. Press F10 to save your selection.

What I found remarkable is the fact that you shouldn’t enable it unless you know for sure the OS supports USB3.0

Reference : http://h17007.www1.hp.com/docs/iss/proliant_uefi/s_Accessing_USB_Options_201310290123.html#s_USB_30_mode

I keep this post up to date if I have more information.

 

Everything  I tried so far didn’t let me boot from Network in UEFI mode or doesn’t see the SD-Card even with a manual install.

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