I wrote my last blog on this topic 6 months ago. Meanwhile I have seen several firmware and driver updates from Emulex, usually followed by HP several weeks later. I’m still talking about the ongoing VMQ problems with HP/Emulex 554FLB CNAs in HP BL460c Gen 8 blade servers in c7000 blade enclosures. Meanwhile I have tested several incarnations of this firmware/driver combination in our own Azure Pack cloud environment. I already found out in previous attempts, that a switch to new Emulex firmware and HP/Emulex drivers, including the switch from VMQ disabled to enabled, can be disruptive and hosts and VMs need to be restarted if things turn bad.
And it did turn bad on all four occasions I tried until now. In July 2014 our hopes were raised by Emulex when Mark Jones from Emulex posted the first update on July 23 2014. I tried them out but not until HP released their OEM specific driver for the CNA. It didn’t take me very long to find out that my test guest cluster quickly got disconnected during a live migration with one node being evicted from the cluster during the black-out. First opportunity: failed
On August 4 a special release was issued for non-OEM Emulex branded cards. I decided not to try this out on our HP/Emulex CNAs. I later found out that some people who tried had to call in HP to replace their servers. Second opportunity: Ignored
Just over a month later, another update appeared on the Emulex blog letting us know that HP versions of the firmware/drivers had been made publicly available. Previous versions had been considered but we found a mystery insider in the comments of our blog stating:
Without revealing NDA information, the HP driver released in September is not really a fix, it is also a workaround, with some caveats that don’t appear in the published notes. My understanding is that the fix delivered by Emulex was considered unstable by HP, and a truly “fixed” driver won’t be released until sometime in Q1 2015.
I didn’t have to think long. Third opportunity: Ignored
On October 21st 2014, another update appeared on the Emulex blog. I had become very suspicious of again another update and lacked the time or drive to once more spend many hours testing this version. What changed my mind was when fellow Hyper-V MVP Patrick Lownds sent a message to one of the MVP distribution lists, letting us know that HP had released their OEM version of the HP/Emulex 554FLB firmware and driver. READ MORE »