Cisco FlexFlash and Lost Connectivity

“UPDATE 20/1/2014 – Cisco have now decided just resetting the card is not enough if you are on 1.5(2) so we fix is to move to 1.53(d), Once FW is upgraded to again reset the card, fingers crossed”

Cisco Servers have a feature called FlexFlash that allows the OS such as ESXi to be installed for booting of a SD card.

Recently I upgraded the firmware (to 1.5(2)) on my Cisco C Server C260 M2 esxi servers and then one morning I received the following error on one host.

Lost Connectivity

Also on the hosts were errors around lost access to bootbank. So ESXi had lost it access to the underlying installation, as ESXi runs in RAM the host was still running. On a reboot the ESXi would start, obviously as it couldn’t find the install code.  Connecting the CIMC showed a error on the FlexFlash

FlexFalsh Error

A quick call to Cisco suggested we reset the FlexFlash, after a reset it all looked a lot more healthy. (Degraded RAM as we only have one SD card installed)

FlexFlash Working

But still the host would not boot, and was trying to boot from PXE. It seems that after the failure the NIC is made the default boot device and the SD card is moved to the bottom of the list so, in the BIOS of the server the boot order had to be updated to make the HDD>HV the first boot device
FlexFlash Bootorder

Cisco have suggested we have been hit with a “bug”

Sever OS/CIMC looses access to Flex Flash Controller

Regular usage, issue occurred ~ 2 weeks after upgrade to 1.5(3d)

Reset Flex Flash controller in CIMC

To reset Flex Flash in CIMC,
1. Log into CIMC
2. Select Inventory
3. Select Storage tab
4. Under Storage Adapters, highlight ³Flexflash² 5. Then click on ³Reset Cisco Flex Flash²

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