Supermicro Server BIOS Update

Having received my Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T servers for my home lab it’s now time to update the BIOS on each unit. This process can be achieved either through bootable media or if you have the correct license key for the dedicated IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) interface you can update through that.

In my case I don’t have a license so I will create a bootable USB drive using the software tool Rufus.

 


 

Once Rufus is downloaded it’s a simple case of plugging in a USB drive and selecting a few options.

In my case I decided to allow Rufus to check the USB drive for bad blocks as it was a random one I found hidden away in my desk so I wasn’t sure what condition it was in.

Rufus Imaging Tool

 

It goes without saying that any data on the USB drive will be erased as part of this process.

Data Erasure Warning

 

Here we can see Rufus is checking the USB drive for bad blocks.

Rufus Imaging Tool

 

Once the format is complete I copy the Supermicro BIOS update files to the root of the USB drive. In this instance the ‘LOCALE’ folder was created by Rufus and the additional files are from the Supermicro website and contain both the BIOS image itself (X10SDVF6.302) and the supporting files. Note that there are also hidden files which aren’t shown in this screenshot – you can of course enable Windows to show these files if you wish.

Boot Drive File Layout

 

We now have two options – either insert the USB drive into the server itself or mount it as removable media via the IPMI interface. Both procedures are more or less identical so I will demonstrate updating with the USB drive directly connected in this instance.

I used the IPMI controls to remotely power on the server and then boot from the USB drive.

IPMI Power On Server

 

With the server powered on I connected via the remote console and after giving the system a few moments to boot I pressed F11 to bring up the boot menu.

IPMI Screen

 

Select the appropriate boot device from the list, in my case I chose the “JetFlashTranscend 4GB 8.07” option.

IPMI Screen Select Boot Device

 

Give the system some time to finish booting FreeDOS.

IPMI Screen

 

Once booted I ran the flash.bat command followed by the BIOS image file name. Hmm the old not enough memory problem of DOS systems…

FreeDOS Not Enough Memory Available

 

I checked out the autoexec.bat file and noticed some regional settings so decided to remove the entire file along with config.sys. I then tried booting the system again as before – FreeDOS asked me to set some date/time information first.

FreeDOS

 

OK this looks more promising, no more errors about memory and the update process is proceeding.

FreeDOS BIOS Imaging

 

I left the process running for 5 minutes and came back – we’re looking good, the server needs to be shutdown for the new BIOS to take effect.

FreeDOS BIOS Imaging

 

The BIOS is no longer version 1.0c but now 1.1 – the latest current version.

BIOS Version

 

Also notice that the boot screen now displays the IPMI interface IP address.

Success

 


 

The process is pretty simple, it’s certainly not as streamlined as updating say a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) server but it’s not rocket science. Other than the little ‘not enough memory’ blip it all went fine.

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