How to Flash HP779-793-B21 546SFP+ 10gbe NIC Card with new HP Firmware without an HP server (MCX312B-XCCT)
Here is a guide for how to flash the updated HP firmware from 2021 onto the HP779-793-B21 10 gig 546SFP+ NIC without having to own an HP server.
You will need a laptop for accessing ESXI
A PC or Server for temporary use to install the HP card and flash the firmware
A USB stick 16GB or under
A spare Hard Drive anything will do (to create a datastore in ESXI for the image uploads)
This can be done using ESXI 6.5. We don't need a licence as it will run a trial for 60 days.
I did this on my DELL R220 as I didn't have an HP server with ILO. Should also work on a PC as long as ESXI will boot with the hardware from the drive. If installing using your PC you will need to unplug your OS and storage drives from the SATA ports to be safe. We can put them back again when we have finished. We are just using the PC as a donor to install the firmware on the HP card.
Plug in your HP card into a PCIE x8 or x16 slot on your Donor PC or Server.
Plug in your SATA HDD that you are going to use (ESXI will format it and destroy data so use and old spare)
Make sure if you are using a Dell server etc that you format the drive in the BIOS as NON-RAID or ESXI won't see it as a datastore without a raid card. ( I say this as the DELL R210-220 only has 1 PCI E slot so you can't use a raid card and a 10 gig NIC at the same time.
If you are using your PC as the donor PC then PLEASE unplug your OS drives and storage drives from the motherboard.
Using your laptop
Download the ESXI 6.5 iso from Dell support website (search Dell R220).
Download Rufus or a USB bootable image writer https://rufus.ie/en/
Install the ESXI image using RUFUS onto a USB drive, any USB2 16GB or under will do as some older servers won't boot on anything higher than 16GB.
Insert the USB stick into your Server or PC and boot from the USB and Install ESXI. ESXI will let you choose the installation media as the USB you are installing from (I like this). This saves you messing around with extra drives for the installation.
Once installed reboot your Server or PC.
You will need to connect your Server or PC to your LAN (network)
When ESXI boots it should be set to DHCP and give you a management IP address to login.
From your laptop using a browser login to the IP address.
You now need to create a datastore.
Click on Storage>New Datastore in the menu
Add a new datastore using the HDD you installed for temporary storage. Call it whatever you want. I called it "test". I then created a folder in "test" called "images".
Now you can download the following ZIP files from the links below onto your laptop.
Download the firmware for the this particular HP NIC from the link here
You will also need to download the flashing software which is supported by HP and uses Mellanox software. Listed in the link below. We need this to install onto ESXI so it can flash the card.
Drivers & software
- RECOMMENDED * Mellanox net-mst Kernel Driver Component for VMware ESXi 6.5 and 6.7
We now need to upload the zip files from our Laptop to the ESXI Server.
Extract the zip file cp038662.zip on your laptop
You are looking for this .VIB file
This is the only file you need ESXI to install the flash software.
Log back into ESXI using your browser using the management IP address.
Select your >Datastore>test and then click the green arrow Upload the .VIB file
Ok now we need upload the .zip file of the firmware images from the HP link.
Click on upload again
This time upload your new firmware image
You should now have both files uploaded and showing in your datastore on your ESXI server.
We now need to install the flash software onto ESXI
Go to Host>manage>Packages
click on install update with the green arrow.
ok, now it will ask for the upload url
my url looked like this
"test" being the name of the datastore and "images" being the folder I created to upload the images to.
Add the URL "/vmfs/volumes/test/images/MEL_bootbank_nmst_188.8.131.52-1OEM.6184.108.40.20698673.vib" into the popup window and click upload.
ESXI will now install the .VIB.
Now reboot the ESXI host using
Wait for ESXI to reboot
Log back into ESXI from your laptop using your browser.
Now you can login to ESXI form your laptop using SSH, so use PUTTY from windows or terminal if you use LINUX Laptop.
Ok we need to login using
and whatever password you used when creating the install of ESXI
Now we need to navigate to the Storage folder we have just uploaded our files to.
in the command line type
you should be in root folder
I've done the above to break it down to make it easier to read.
Ok, now we should be able to type
now you should see your .zip file CP045193.zip
you need to extract it, type
give permission to execute using, type
chmod +x ./CP045193.vmexe
the software will run and update your HP NIC with the new firmware image.
Reboot the ESXI host and let it run.
Now log out
Your card is flashed.
Take out your HP NIC and HDD from your server or PC and install your OS drives and hardware back as before. Don't forget to remove the USB boot drive.
I know this is looks a lot and maybe a long way around and can probably be done in LINUX but I had ESXI already on a stick and my hardware was all I had available at the time.
I hope this helps and that my English wasn't too bad.