Geeks With Blogs
Robert's Sysadmin Blog Unraveling the datacenter one fibre at a time

Finding and Downloading anything from the IBM site is still a confounding process.
This post, attempts to illustrate some of the issues I encounter, and has also been my mental notepad in this process. This post is also a rant.

We purchased two IBM xSeries 366 servers, with the ServeRAID 8i SAS controller included.
We installed these servers using the latest ServerGuide CD, version 7.3.6, dates 11/25/2005
The OS is Windows Server 2003 SP1

However, once we installed the IBM director Agent, the servers started reporting the following error:

(screenshots from the ServeRAID manager)



Checking the driver tab in Windows cofirms the driver version used, this driver is included on the ServerGuide 7.3.6 CD.


However.. apon checking the ServerGuide CD 7.3.6 itself to confirm the driver version, on the CD,in the location  sguide\w2003drv\$oem$\$1\drv\srsas , there is a readme file, but all it lists is that the version included is 8.15, which seems to be the version number for a ServeRAID CD release. ..  the actual driver version is not mentioned at all in the file
Hoever.. checking the INF file itself, reveals that it is in fact, the correct driver, the one being used by our servers: DriverVer=09/02/2005,



So..  it made sense to go look for an updated version of the ServeRAID firmware, in order to get them all on the same level again, and working correctly with the driver.
However.. finding the correct download proves to be somewhat of a challenge.

Ideally I would want a bootable CD, or a Windows-based Firemware Updater, as any floppy images are pretty useless, as the 366 servers dont have a floppy drive. (ignoring for a moment that I could create a bootable CD with the floppy images, which is a lot of work and something I am not  familiar with)


The Download Methods

There are 5 methods (or pages.. or ‘’ways’’) I have found, that can produce a list of downloads that should be relevant for what you are looking for.

Method 1:
The Multiple-file download page can be found here:

When I use it to look for downloads regarding this controller type, it uses the following page:

These downloads dont seem to be related to the SAS controller..the ServeRAID CD's are not even listed.

Method 2:
If I use the same page as above, to look for downloads specific to our servers type (366), then I get the following page:

Method 3:
If can also search for relevant drivers using the following page:
But under the 'Hardware Only' option, no downloads are displayed for the ServeRAID . I do get to see them when I choose the 'Windows' option:

Method 4:
Another option is to use the Software Download matrix for a server, the link to this matrix is sometimes listed in the support options pages for a server, in this case:

Method 5:
I stubled across this by accident, its the software download matrix for the ServeRAID 8i controller itself, though it is linked no where from any of the other pages:
However, as you can see.. only one of the enties actually works… the Windows drivers are not linked, and firmware is not even mentioned.



The downloads you find


8.20 Support CD

Method 2, 3 and 4 lists the link to the 8.20 ISO downloads, both for the Application CD, and the Support CD, which is the one we want, as it should update the firmware of the controller if we boot from it. The CD is dated

The 8.20 Support CD also includes Windows drivers for the  controller.. these seem to be the latest ones found thusfar: DriverVer=11/17/2005, ,  they are newer than the current ones we are using.

The 8.20 support CD also includes the firmware, as I had hoped. But the included readme file does not list any version number starting with 5.0 ..   it instead speaks of being version “”8.25” .. odd considdering this is the 8.20 CD.. and the only 8.25 CD that is available for download is the Japanse version of the Application CD.. I have not yet seen a 8.25 Support CD, in any language

I have no way of knowing if using this firmware version will solve the problem.


AAC-ServeRAID 8i Device Drivers and Firmware - Servers
Method 2 and 3 also links to what appears to be a seperate download of drivers and firmware:
Now.. hoever this download is called "AAC-ServeRAID 8i Device Drivers and Firmware - Servers", there are in fact, or so it seems, no device drivers included, merely the Firmware update for the controller. Also note that these are floppy-images, and the server in question, the xSeries 366, has no floppy drive!
Also, no where in the readme files are any version numbers mentioned.. only the rather generic "8.20" code, indicating that this firmware is probably also included on the 8.20 support CD.. but it wasn’’t .. remember?


IBM ServeRAID drivers for Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 - IBM eServer xSeries 366

Method 2, 3 and 4 all link to a page that contain a seperate file download for Windows 2003 drivers for the ServeRAID controller.
These seem to be the most recent ones that are seperatly listed on these pages. The download page and the readme file identify the version of the drivers to be, dates March 23, 2005.
This version appears to be first version that supports the ServeRAID 8i SAS controller.
However.. we already know that both the 8.20 support CD, and the 7.3.6 ServeGuide CD contain newer versions and respectively.. why are those not seperately listed and available for download?


(Critical update) IBM ServeRAID Support diskette images for 8i for Microsoft Windows (32-bit) - Servers

Method 2, 3 and 4 also list this download, dated 13 Dec 2005. Method 2 and 3 actually refer to this download as “ServeRAID 8i device drivers and firmware
I can imagine firmware updates to be packaged as bootable floppy images, but Windows device drivers? Whats the point of that?
The download page lists the version as our good old  8.20, however the readme file of the download lists 8.25 as being the version. 
The file name of the download is 40k8697.exe

Apon extrating the floppy image, it turns out indeed to be Windows drivers, version “”8.25” according to the readme, but actually DriverVer=11/17/2005,, same as on the latest ServeGuide CD. 

So why is this download sometimes refered to as ServeRAID 8i device drivers and firmware” ??


IBM ServeRAID Diskette Images for SCSI - Servers

Methods 2 and 3, but not 4, list a rather new download.. the crypticly named IBM ServeRAID Diskette Images for SCSI - Servers , and dated 2006/01/11, so basicly just about a week old, as of this post.

The ‘’version’’ listed is 7.12.07. A strange version number, as it seems to refer to the ServeRAID 7.12 CD …  that must mean it has updates for all ServeRAID versions exept the 8i…  as that is the logic of the ServeRAID cd’s: only the 8:00 version and above contain support for the ServeRAID 8i SAS controller..   so its probably not even relevant for us.

Indeed.. as expected, no Firmware update floppy image is included for the 8i controller..   In fact, they all seem to be for the ServeRAID 7k controller…  but you have to examine the individual files to find this out.


In the end, I can find no newer version of the firmware, than the one included on the 8.20 Support CD.
That should mean that it will update the firmware to “5.0.2” or “8110”, or at least something that should stop the error we are seeing…  right?   I will let you know.

But this post serves first and foremost to illustrate the problems with the IBM website, and with the way IBM has (or rather has not) organised the support of their own products.

They do not seem to have any kind of consistancy in versioning, in naming, or in the format in which they present downloads and supporting software. Their website, and the way it presents downloads and information about them, seems very confused and chaotic, with many useless dead-end pages and a completely ineffective search engine.  I find it very suprising that a company that has been in this business cannot seem to organise its own support in any decent way. 



Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:14 PM Tech , In The Trenches , IBM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Finding Downloads on the IBM Site

# re: Finding Downloads on the IBM Site
Requesting Gravatar...
you have to boot from latest "serveraid support cd". It will upgrade firmware, then install fresh driver from this cd.
Left by ncux on Feb 10, 2006 8:58 PM

# re: Finding Downloads on the IBM Site
Requesting Gravatar...
Yes agree IBM site is tough sometimes. Although you likely have resolved already, according to the serveraid error posted first you need to update the firmware via booting to the 8.20 "support cd" the update the serveraid application on the OS to v 8.25 via the "serveraid application CD." The other option to get you by if you are having trouble would be to downgrade the device driver to 5.0.0 (although not optimal obviously). Good luck.
Left by helpr on Feb 17, 2006 4:09 PM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)

Copyright © Robert Kloosterhuis | Powered by: