Configure HP ILO directly on ESXi server

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I recently installed the HP drivers on some customers’ server following these two great guides:

Add HP drivers to VMware Update Manager (VUM) from Ivo Beerens

Update your HP drivers with VMware Update Manager from Viktor van den Berg

Those two blog posts are really useful resources to understand how to configure vCenter Update Manager to update your HP servers with their specific drivers.

I’m not going to copy/paste their articles. What I want to show you here, is why these drivers can be useful in managing your ESXi servers and how you can effectively take advantage of them.

First of all, these drivers add further informations to the Hardware Status tab of your servers. The plain ESXi installation does have a great amount of drivers in it, but for obvious reasons it cannot hold all the existing drivers. Even if all the servers in VMware HCL are correctly recognized, not all their hardware information are correctly displayed.
Once I installed the drivers on one of my customer’s HP server (a quite old DL380 G5), the server rebooted and showed us two alert and a warning that were not there before. The two alert were related to the battery status of the embedded P400 raid controller:

since this server was also hosting some VMs in its local datastores, this information was useful for replacing the battery and have again a working situation. How did you find out that error without the HP drivers? Maybe the storage was running without write-cache since months and nobody was able to understand why…

Another alert we got, was about the missing ILO configuration (for those of you not used to HP hardware, it’s the remote console):

Besides the alert, the HP drivers were also helpful to correct the error. Without them, the only solution would have been to reboot the server (shutting down its VMs if its not part of a cluster with vMotion), enter the BIOS and configure ILO.
But, thanks to HP drivers, ILO can be configured directly inside ESXi without the need for a server reboot: going into the command line (locally or via ssh) you can move to /opt/hp/tools, and there you will find the command hponcfg. This tool can be used to configure ILO:

  1. first, write down the actual configuration of ILO. The easiest way to do it is by saving in an XML file:
    /opt/hp/tools # ./hponcfg -w ilo.xml
    HP Lights-Out Online Configuration utility
    Version 4.0-10 (c) Hewlett-Packard Company, 2011
    Firmware Revision = 1.81 Device type = iLO 2 Driver name = hpilo
    Management Processor configuration is successfully written to file "ilo.xml"
  2. then, edit the XML file and configure your desired parameters:
    <!-- HPONCFG VERSION = "4.0-10.0" -->                                                                                                            
    <!-- Generated 8/6/2012 11:11:4 -->                                                                                                              
    <RIBCL VERSION="2.1">                                                                                                                            
     <LOGIN USER_LOGIN="Administrator" PASSWORD="password">                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
      <RIB_INFO MODE="write">                                                                                                                        
        <SPEED_AUTOSELECT VALUE = "Y"/>                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
        <IP_ADDRESS VALUE = ""/>                                                                                                         
        <SUBNET_MASK VALUE = ""/>                                                                                                                                                                                                       
        <DNS_NAME VALUE = "esx-ilo"/>                                                                                                                                                                                                            
        <DHCP_ENABLE VALUE = "N"/>                                                                                                                   
        <DOMAIN_NAME VALUE = "domain.local"/>                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

    Note: you will not need to edit everytime all the parameters, it will be enough to add the lines you want to change. But, you will always have to add the username and password line to authenticate the changes you are doing.

  3. load the new configuration into the ILO, it will take some time to complete:
    /opt/hp/tools # ./hponcfg -f ilo.xml
    HP Lights-Out Online Configuration utility
    Version 4.0-10 (c) Hewlett-Packard Company, 2011
    Firmware Revision = 1.81 Device type = iLO 2 Driver name = hpilo
    <INFORM>Integrated Lights-Out will reset at the end of the script.</INFORM>
    Please wait while the firmware is reset. This might take a minute    
    Script succeeded

Finally, ILO will automatically reset to load the new parameters, and you will be able to reach the ILO via web interface and login into it. Also, ESXi will show you the new ILO configuration:



2 thoughts on “Configure HP ILO directly on ESXi server

  1. Tons of thanks !! Worked great, Luckily my ESXi host already had HP drivers/tools. I just had no idea that ILO config tools are part of it.

    Saved me a long trim to the colo!!!

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