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Dell PowerEdge : Update Server Firmware for Optimal Performance

Summary: What is a firmware, the benefits of updating a PowerEdge Server and what are the different methods available.

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Article Content


HOW10160_en_US__1icon Note: This article is part of the Server Tutorials: Support Tools, available here.


Increasing uptime and avoid potential security risks is a high priority for PowerEdge server customers. Ensuring that each server is running the latest drivers, patches, and operating system updates helps to establish this. However, many customers are unaware that updating the server’s System ROM and the firmware of other hardware components in the configuration is also essential for optimal system performance and system stability.

This article explains what is a firmware, the benefits of updating a PowerEdge Server and what are the different methods available.

Table of content

  1. Why should I update Server's firmware?
  2. What is a firmware?
  3. What is a Driver?
  4. What are the different methods to update a server
  5. How do I know if a new firmware or driver is available?
  6. Firmware and drivers update order

1. Why should I update my Server's firmware?

In order to ensure system reliability and overall performance, it’s important to keep firmware up to date on your PowerEdge server. Typically, firmware is made available to improve performance / stability or increase the number of features on your system; however, in some cases, firmware may fix critical issues before they cause downtime in your environment. When a firmware importance is marked "Urgent," Dell highly recommends applying this update as soon as possible. You can reference the descriptions and importance for firmware on in the driver and downloads section for your respective platform.

Dell offers many convenient ways for customers to update firmware as referenced in this article

Dell also offers notifications so you can be alerted when new firmware is available. Click here to see how to sign up for notifications.


HOW10160_en_US__1icon Note: Most of the server issues that result in hardware replacement are preventable or correctable with a firmware and/or a driver update. Dell Support recommends checking for an update before engaging Dell technical support. Server downtime and time spent to replace the hardware may be avoided if an attempt had been made to flash the firmware during the troubleshooting process.


2. What is a Firmware?

The firmware is a software program permanently etched into a hardware device such as keyboards, hard drive, BIOS, or video cards. It is programmed to give permanent instructions to communicate with other devices and perform functions like basic input/output tasks. Firmware is typically stored in the flash ROM (read-only memory) of a hardware device.

It can be erased and rewritten. Keep a server up to date is important to have the best interoperability between OS and server, and avoid issues. To better understand the changes and improvements introduced by a firmware, it is advised to read the Release Note associated.


3. What is a Driver?

A device driver is a particular form of a software application that is designed to enable interaction with hardware devices.

Without the required device driver, the corresponding hardware device fails to work. Device drivers are operating system-specific and hardware-dependent. It acts as a translator between the hardware device and the programs or operating systems that use it.


4. What are the different methods to update a server

Dell PowerEdge components can be updated locally and remotely

Locally: A physical presence is required in front of the server (except when using a KVM - Keyboard, Video, Mouse switch).
Remotely: The server can be updated from a remote site using the network.

The different methods are listed in this article


5. How can I know if a new firmware or drive is available?

The best way to be informed of new updates is to subscribe for Update Notifications on the Dell Support site. This article explains how to proceed.
2 other options are available in the article.


6. Firmware and drivers update order

Typically the firmware would be applied in this order due to both practical reasons and system compatibility reasons. The most important updates are marked in Bold:

  1. iDRAC Firmware
  2. PERC Drivers
  3. PERC Firmware
  4. HBA Drivers
  5. HBA Firmware
  6. NIC Driver
  7. NIC Firmware
  8. BIOS Firmware
  9. Power Supply Firmware
  10. Hard Disk Drive Firmware
  11. LifeCycle Controller Firmware
  12. Chipset Drivers/Firmware

If you have an issue and there is a Critical update available, applying this update should be your first step.
Recommended updates can help with certain issues seen, and improve stability. Dell recommends you update these at your next scheduled maintenance window.
The optional updates are smaller and could introduce new features or other small tweaks. These updates are as it says, optional

For a description of what the updates addresses, see the driver description and/or release notes at our support site.


Article Properties

Affected Product


Last Published Date

27 Sep 2021



Article Type

How To