Home > C6100, Dell, ESXi, Hardware, Home Lab, PernixData, vSphere > HOWTO: Dell C6100 FRU / UUID Update–FINALLY!

HOWTO: Dell C6100 FRU / UUID Update–FINALLY!

So this post has been a LONG time coming, and I’m pretty sure I’m good to go now.

As you know, the Dell C6100 is a great 4 node in 2U chassis, which works really well for a compact home lab (if you can stand the noise).  vSphere likes it, Hyper-V likes it, what’s to complain about?

Then I tried the beta of PernixData FVP.  It worked as advertised, was a simple installation, did what it was supposed to – kind of.  I noticed that it seemed like only the very last node I rebooted was the one with FVP running on it.  I did some tests, did some more installations, and watched as the next host I rebooted became the only one with the software running. 

So, given it was beta, I reached out to support – and support from PernixData was great.  Given all the troubleshooting I’d done, I gave them all the information I could find: screenshots, logs, processes, steps and sequences.  I’ll be damned if they didn’t come back pretty quickly with a suggestion – I must have duplicate UUID’s on the hosts.  Bullocks I say, ESXi has been happy, no complaints, no worries, whatever do you mean.

Support says “browse to: /mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=hardware%2esystemInfo">https://<host>/mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=hardware%2esystemInfo, and confirm the UUID string is different on each host”.  No problem:

NW-ESXI2:

image

NW-ESXI3:

image

Well I’ll be damned –

uuid string "4c4c4544-0038-5410-8030-b4c04f4d4c31"
On all 4 nodes.  Okay so that IS my problem. 

VMware even has a KB on it – http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1006250.  Not that this is a “Whitebox”, but it certainly is an OEM custom, by definition.  So we’ll go with that. 

See, on a C6100 you have a typical Dell Service Tag – eg: ABC123A for the chassis.  But each ‘sled’ has a .# after it.  So you’ll have ABC123A.1, ABC123A.2, ABC123A.3, and ABC123A.4.  Turns out this makes ESXi assign the same UUID.  Some Googling tells me that this is also apparently an issue for SCVMM and SCSM.  As DCS never really intended these systems to end up in “Enterprise” or “Home Lab” hands, but very large cloud providers, there’s no reason to care.  And fairly enough, it didn’t have any impact on my normal vSphere lab. 

Now.  How the heck do you update it?  The BIOS doesn’t give you an option.  Some posts on the internet suggest you could upload a new BIOS and specify it then, but that didn’t work out.  Dell was no help – and I don’t fault them one bit.  The system is used, off warranty, and used by someone it wasn’t intended to be supported by.  That’s fully on me, I have no complaints.  But I still wanted it fixed. Smile

I spend a lot of time at www.servethehome.com and this is a good place for a wealth of C6100 information.  A thread caught my attention where it noted these issues.  One particular post by TehSuk caught my attention – http://forums.servethehome.com/processors-motherboards/1865-smbios-guid-2.html#post23817.  Apparently you can just run the Windows version of IPMIUTIL.exe with the following options:

ipmiutil.exe fru -s %newassettag%

Reboot, and you’re good to go.  No such luck.  See, the user in question notes that he’s a Windows shop.  No such luck with ESXi.  So I tried making a DTK bootable ISO from Dell using some information they had, but that wasn’t working.  Various issues from the methods being written a while back and not supported on Windows 8 (which took me a bit to figure out that was my issue) to the tools having issues with creating a 32bit ISO on a 64bit system due to environment variables, DLL’s not found, etc.  Nothing the end of the world, but I didn’t like that path. 

Then I remembered that you can use IPMIUTIL.exe across a network.  I had no luck when I tried months ago, so why would it work now?   Other than I’ve now spent more time playing with the utility. 

image

Running:

ipmiutil.exe fru –N <hostname/IP> –U <user> –P <password>

Was able to get me a listing which included “Product Serial Num”.  So could I use the same “fru –s %SERNUM%” suggested by TehSuk? 

ipmiutil.exe fru s AAAAAA3 –N <hostname/IP> –U <user> –P <password>

image

Sure enough, it will change “Product Serial Number” to AAAAAA3.  So let’s reboot and find out what it says.

After updating the first 3 nodes, and checking the MOB link, looks like we have success:

NW-ESXI1:

"4c4c4544-0041-4110-8041-c1c04f414131"

NW-ESXI2:

"4c4c4544-0041-4110-8041-c1c04f414132"

NW-ESXI3:

"4c4c4544-0041-4110-8041-c1c04f414133"

NW-ESXI4:

"4c4c4544-0038-5410-8030-b4c04f4d4c31"

No need to change it – leave it with the original Service Tag, as it no longer conflicts. 

 

So in the end, all you’re going to need is:

http://ipmiutil.sourceforge.net/FILES/ipmiutil-2.9.2-win64.zip

And run the above IPMIUTIL.exe FRU commands, and you should be good to go.  I haven’t checked if PernixData FVP now works better for me yet as it’s late – but here’s hoping it does.  If nothing else, the UUID’s are now different, as they should be!

BTW, please don’t read any of this as though I was disappointed with PernixData FVP – heck, if anything they helped me find this issue, pointed me in the right direction, and I wanted their software to work because my testing showed it made an AMAZING difference.   I’m looking forward to retrying the software across all 4 nodes.

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