update_flash - manage system and service processor firmware
/usr/sbin/update_flash [-v|-n] -f firmware.img
script is used to validate, update and manage firmware
on an IBM Power Systems servers.
When used with the -v option, the script will ONLY perform validation
of the image file. Regardless of the outcome of the validation, no actual
flash will occur. This option is only useful on machines that support
validation of firmware images.
When used with only the -f option and an image file name, the script
will attempt to update the system firmware with the given image. If the
machine has the ability to pre-validate the image, this will be done
automatically before the flash. If the machine is not capable of
pre-validation, or if validation passes, this script will upload the
firmware image into the kernel and will perform a shutdown -r now
which will reboot the system. The flash will occur at the end of the
WARNING: The system WILL be rebooted! Wait until the flash process
has completed. This can be anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 minutes (or more)
depending on the system. The control panel display will show that the
system is flashing. Failure to wait may render a system inoperable.
NOTE: If machine supports two firmware image areas, update is always
applied to the temporary image area. The -c option is the normal
means by which a temporary image is committed to the permanent side (see
MANAGEMENT). However, if a platform is running from a temporary image when
an update is to be applied, then the platform may automatically commit the
current temporary image to the permanent side to allow the new image to be
updated to the temporary image area. The -v option can be used to
determine what would result from an attempt to update a flash image.
The -n option will prevent the automatic overwrite of the permanent
image area and abandon the update entirely.
To apply an update to the temporary image area without overwriting the
permanent image area, the system must first be running with the permanent
image. The temporary image can then be rejected (see MANAGEMENT).
Subsequently, the update can be applied.
When used with the -c option, the script will commit the temporary
image to the permanent side. In order to use this, the machine must be
running on the temporary image. This option is only useful on machines
supporting two firmware image areas.
When used with the -r option, the script will reject the temporary
image. In order to use this, the machine must be running on the permanent
image. To switch from the temporary image to the permanent image, you must
reboot from the permanent image -- for example, using the ASMI or HMC.
This option is only useful on machines supporting two firmware image
- Print the usage message and exit.
- -f filename
- Supply the filename to flash (required).
- Validate ONLY with specified image file.
- Do not overwrite permanent side image automatically.
- Commit temporary image to permanent side.
- Reject temporary image.
- Determine if partition has access to perform flash image
To determine if partition has authority to flash image:
# update_flash -s
For a typical firmware update (this may commit temporary to permanent):
# update_flash -f 01AL740_100_042.img
To update only if permanent side will not be overwritten:
# update_flash -n -f 01AL740_100_042.img
To validate an image:
# update_flash -v -f 01AL740_100_042.img
To commit temporary image to permanent (note that the system must be running on
# update_flash -c
To reject temporary image, and copy to permanent to temporary (note that the
system must be running on permanent image):
# update_flash -r
3 - Usage error
4 - Permission error
6 - Unexpected problem with /proc filesystem access
7 - Error loading module
8 - RTAS(pSeries)/OPAL(PowerNV) call failed
9 - User aborted operation
Determine if partition has authority to manage image (-s):
0 - Flash image management is supported
1 - Flash image management is not supported on this system
0 - Validation successful
Update ([-n] -f):
5 - Image file error 10 - Auto overwrite permanent side image 15 - Update
Access Key Expired
0 - Temporary image commit/reject successful
rtas_flash kernel module
/proc/ppc64/rtas/firmware_flash (provided by kernel module)
Firmware may be downloaded from the IBM website. Instructions for downloading
and installing the firmware image are also there, and information there will
be more up-to-date than this page.
Various conditions can lead to a firmware update failure. If you receive an
authentication-related error, such as:
update_flash: RTAS: validate() Partition does not have authority
update_flash: System does not have authority to perform firmware update.
This can reflect either 1) That the permission is not set (correctable through
the ASM interface, System -> Firmware Update Policy, or through an HMC if
2) Firmware still believes an HMC is attached. This can be corrected by
following the steps outlined here:
For older "AIX format" images, the file will have a .BIN extension.
This zip file happens to be an AIX binary, but it can be extracted with the
unzip command (with password from the web page):
This should produce a file with a .img extension. This image file is what should