Getting updated firmware for my server: Two cases

We have a lot of servers in our care. From time to time, they need updated firmware for BIOS, remote admin cards, hardware raid, ect. Getting that should be easy right? Just download it from the vendors website. Sure. Here are two cases, where I pretend to be a new user on the site.

When the server was a Dell PowerEdge server: I went to dell.com, and clicked on “Technical Support”. Clicked on “Start Here”. Clicked on “Drivers & Downloads”. Added service tag (may also select a model from a list). Selected the operating system, and the firmware package I wanted. Done.

When the server was an Oracle Sun Fire x41 series server: I went to oracle.com, and clicked on “Support”. Nothing related to my Sun hardware there. I clicked on “Products and Services”. Nothing related to Sun hardware there. Clicked on “Downloads”. Finally, a heading “Servers and Storage systems”, with a link “Firmware”. Looked promising, so I clicked on it. That took me to “Sun Blade Systems – Firmware Downloads”. My servers are not part of a blade system. Back to the front page again. Clicked on “Downloads” and the heading “Servers and Storage Systems”. Got a list of links to software (Enterprise Linux, Oracle VM, Solaris, SunVTS), and a link “Sun Downloads: A-Z Listing”. *sigh*. Clicked on that. Got a large alphabetical list of downloadable software. Hit Ctrl+F and searched for x4150, and found some links (substrings not alphabetically sorted). Clicked at “Sun Fire X4150 & X4250 Server Software 3.3.0″, and was finally able to select Software package and platform. Had to agree to a License agreement. Had to register a login user. Finally I got logged in, and got my download links.

Now, who gave me the best customer experience? Who used the “path of least surprise”? Who has obviously read a book or two on computer interface design.

By the way, logging out of oracle.com took more than six minutes. (I waited six minutes while reading some email, then went for a cup of coffee. It was finished when I came back).

By the way again, in real life, the first time I used oracle.com, I gave up after 45 seconds, and found my updated firmware by Google.

5 Responses to “Getting updated firmware for my server: Two cases”

  1. Tomasz says:

    Dell is hell more convenient: yum install $(bootstrap_firmware)
    Wins hands down.

  2. Michael says:

    Well, I have seen worst, when you have to install the updatE. Last time I had to update a Sun fire V40Z, it was “connect a linux/solaris laptop on the admin card with a ethernet cable, setup the network, setup a nfs server, place the file on the nfs share, allow the admin card to fetch the file from nfs run a java program, connect on the card using ssh, type a command, wait”.

    Comapred to the hp server : “burn the iso, reboot on it, click on update”.

  3. Ciro says:

    Well, right now that last link take you to My Oracle Support, were a support contract ID is required….

  4. Ciro says:

    sorry, s/take/takes/g

  5. ingvar says:

    “Trevor” wrote:

    Hello!

    I was wondering if I can as a small favor. I noticed that you are in charge of Sun servers from a couple of your posts. I have been looking for the Sun X4150 Tools and Drivers CD 3.0 or 3.3.0 for about a week now. My ILOM got corrupted and having purchased it from a third party, cant get support. I was wondering if you had it anywhere that one could possibly download it (the oracle site is paywalled and they want $500 to get around it.). Any help you can give would be GREATLY appreciated as I am a student and was using this server for my certifications.

    Hello, Trevor.

    I agree that Oracle should provide this software without cost – they have charged for the server once already, and should keep their firmware updated as a service for all customers, not only first owners. Their competitors do.

    This type of situations is the main reason I will never ever recommend anybody buying Sun servers from Oracle again. IBM and Dell give firmware updates away without cost, even for very old, outdated models. Choose a less customer-hostile hardware vendor.

    I myself am in no position to offer Oracle’s proriatory code for free, sorry.

    Ingvar

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