Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recommended BIOS Settings on HP ProLiant DL580 G7 for VMware vSphere

The HP Proliant DL580 G7 has several important BIOS Settings which need to be set.

The default options are in Italic while the non-default (recommended) options are in Bold.

Options which are not relevant are left out.

You might need to change options if you have a specific configuration or specific needs.  This list is only a general guideline for most of the settings tuned for vSphere.




System Options


–Serial Port Options


—-Embedded Serial Port

COM 1; IRQ4; IO: 3F8h-3FFh

The onboard Serial Port is left enabled in case Serial-Line logging at the server is needed.

—-Virtual Serial Port

COM 2; IRQ3; IO: 2F8h-2FFh

The Virtual Serial Port is needed to do Serial-Line logging through iLO 3.

–Embedded NICs


—-Embedded NIC Boot Options


If you don't PXE boot the server, set it to disabled.  Otherwise, leave it enabled.  Setting it to disabled saves you 2 seconds when booting the server :-)

–Advanced Memory Protection

Advanced ECC Support

Depending on your needs, you might want to select improved Memory Protection

–USB Options


—-USB Control

USB Enabled

Allows the use of Keyboard and Mouse during vSphere setup.

—-USB 2.0 Controller


Allows USB 2.0 high speed transfers.

—-Removable Flash Media Boot Sequence

External DriveKeys First

Allows the host to boot from external USB keys (and iLO). Necessary for firmware updates, …

–Processor Options


—-No-Execute Memory Protection


Needed for vSphere

—-Intel® Virtualization Technology


Needed for vSphere

—-Intel® Hyperthreading Options


Divides each core in 2 logical CPU's, improving the vSphere CPU schedulers possibilities.

—-Processor Core Disable

All Cores Enabled

No reason to disable cores.

—-Intel® Turbo Boost Technology


When not all cores are used, ESX will park those cores and over clock the other ones. When an ESX host is not using all its cores, the active cores will run faster resulting in faster VM speeds.

—-Intel® VT-d


Needed for vSphere (VMDirectIO, …)

–NUMLOCK Power-On State


In most server rooms or when using a laptop to access the server console, a numeric keypad is not available.

Power Management Options


–HP Power Profile


Allows to enable custom Power settings specific for vSphere

–HP Power Regulator

OS Control Mode

Hands over the Power Management to vSphere. The other options give this control to the server itself.

–Redundant Power Supply Mode

High Efficiency Mode (Auto)

By default (Balanced Mode), the server uses all installed PSU's. This might look like the most efficient use, but the more power is drawn from a PSU, the more efficient it operates. The less power you draw from a PSU, the more gets lost to keep the PSU working. Thus, it is best to use the minimum amount of PSU's so they deliver the highest possible output. The remaining PSU's are placed in standby. This settings does not affect redundancy as the standby PSU's jump in as soon as an active one fails. By using the 'Auto' mode, the active PSU's are chosen based on the server's serial number (odd or even number = odd or even PSU numbers). This makes sure that all power circuits in the racks are evenly used.

–Advanced Power Management Options


—-Minimum Processor Idle Power State

C3 State

Needed for vSphere DPM. Allows vSphere to halt unneeded cores.

—-Maximum Memory Bus Frequency


Memory only runs at 1 speed in these servers -> 800 MHz

—-PCI Express Generation 2.0 Support


Server will detect PCIe Generation itself. Forcing it to PCIe 2.0 will make all PCIe 1.0 cards unusable.

—-Dynamic Power Savings Mode Response


Switch faster between processor states.

—-Collaborative Power Control


Allows vSphere to control the PCC Interface

—-DIMM Idle Power Saving Mode


DIMMs can put themselves into Low Power mode when not used. This will save some power if not all memory is used on the host.

Server Availability


–ASR Status


ASR monitors an agent running in the Service Console. When this does not respond within 10 minutes, the host is rebooted. However, if the agent fails or the Service Console becomes sluggish (even though the VM's are perfectly fine), ASR will detect this as a system hang and will reboot the server. Furthermore, in case of a PSOD, ASR will reboot the server as well. This reboot might cause a loss of some logfiles.

–ASR Timeout

10 Minutes

This has no effect since ASR is disabled.

–Thermal Shutdown


To protect your server, it will be shutdown in case it gets too hot.

–Wake-On LAN


vSphere DPM uses Wake-On LAN to power on servers (it uses iLO first, but falls back on Wake-On LAN)

–POST F1 Prompt


The system boots if critical components fail.

–Power Button


Power Button behaves like it should

–Automatic Power-On


If set to enabled, the server will power-on as soon as AC Power is available. When set to disabled, power is restored to its previous state when AC Power is available.

–Power-On Delay

No Delay

When AC Power is restored, all systems will come online at the same time causing a power spike. If the power system is unable to handle this, a random delay will solve this problem.

BIOS Serial Console & EMS


–BIOS Serial Console Port



–BIOS Serial Console Baud Rate



–EMS Console



–BIOS Interface Mode



Advanced Options


–Advanced System ROM Options


—-Option ROM Loading Sequence

Load Embedded Devices First

Embedded devices should be loaded first so PXE boot from onboard NICs is always possible.

—-MPS Table Mode

Full Table APIC

vSphere needs this set to Full Table APIC

—-ROM Selection

Use Current ROM

Backup ROM is only needed when a firmware flash was unsuccessful.

—-NMI Debug Button


Can be used to generate a NMI through the button on the system board.

—-Virtual Install Disk


This Virtual Install Disk only contains drivers for Microsoft Windows Operating system.

—-PCI Bus Padding Options


Disabling this option is only necessary for certain older expansion cards.

—-Power-On Logo


Disabling has no improvements on boot-times.

–Video Options

Optional Video Primary, Embedded Video Disabled

Default setting.

–Power Supply Requirements Override

Default Power Supply Requirements

PSU requirements will be calculated depending on server power requirements.

–Thermal Configuration

Optimal Cooling

Fans will run at their minimum speed for adequate cooling.  Saves some power since they don't run at full speed (less noise as well)

–Advanced Performance Tuning Options


—-HW Prefetcher


In previous CPU generations, disabling this options gave better performance. With the Nahalem architecture, it does provide benefits (better caching)

—-Adjacent Sector Prefetch


Similar to HW Prefetcher.

—-Hemisphere Mode


Hemisphere will be enabled if your memory configuration allows it (see HP QuickSpecs for optimal Hemisphere modes)

—-Node Interleaving


Since vSphere utilizes NUMA nodes, there is no need to disable NUMA (= enable Node Interleaving)

–Drive Write Cache


Only the DVD-ROM drive is attached to the onboard SATA controller. Writes are not possible to this device thus it can be left disabled. This setting has NO effect on the Smart Array Controller settings.

–Asset Tag Protection




No comments: