Upgrading the firmware on a SunFire T2000

In preparation for installing a newer release of Solaris 10 on a SunFire T2000, we first decided to bring the system to the most recent version of firmware. Here is how we got on …

Personally, I have upgraded firmware on many different types of systems in the past and whilst the technique is invariably the same, there are always minor differences that catch you out. This is also true in this case (hence the reason for this article). We found that many of the articles covering this topic made certain assumptions (without realising) and thus, left out certain key information. This article attempts to address those omitted assumptions.

What is the latest version of firmware and where can I get it?

We found links to all versions of firmware for T2000 systems here. The latest version at the time this article was written was 6.4.4. The firmware is distributed in a ZIP file.

What do I do next?

The best source of information on installing the firmware you have just downloaded is contained in a file called Install.info which can be found inside the ZIP file you just downloaded.

What the Install.info does not tell you

Here is a list of things that I did not know before reading the Install.info but found out during …

  1. There are many references on how to use the System Controller Console (SC) to both determine whether you need an upgrade and also to carry out the upgrade. However, they don’t actually tell you how to get to it. I discovered that:
    • You do not need to shut down your system
    • You must type #. at the system console to get to the SC (that’s a hash followed by a dot).
  2. When you first access the SC, you will be asked to provide a password (for future sessions). However, later on when it comes to authenticating yourself, you are also asked for a username but nowhere do they tell you what this is. The default username is admin but this is not well documented.
  3. Once you have establlished your connection to the SC and determined whether or not you actually need a firmware upgrade, it will be time to use the flashupdate command. When I tried this, it kept telling me that it could not establish an FTP connection to the specified server. Once again, I soon discovered that:
    • The flash update process (via FTP) uses a different network port than the one for normal system operation. So I had to move my network connection on the T2000 to the network port labelled NET MGT. The network ports used for normal system operating are actually powered off at this time.
    • You need to assign an IP address to the NET MGT network port. This can be done using the setupsc command from the SC (click here for a separate article on this). Once this is done you then need to reset the SC (resetsc) after which you will require the username and password referred to earlier to regain access to the SC.
  4. Once you finally get to the stage where you have a proper outbound connection from the SC, there is still one last issue. It concerns the name of the file containing the firmware image that you are passing to the flashupdate command from SC (via the -f parameter). I had assumed that this path was relative to the home directory of the FTP user being used but it turns out it was not. I had to specify an absolute path (e.g. /tmp/abc.bin)


Essentially, the Install.info file is your friend but there were 3 fundamentals that it does not cover:

  1. You need to have a valid network connection to the NET MGT port
  2. Your NET MGT port must have a valid IP address, Mask and Gateway
  3. You must use an absolute path for the image file in the flashupdate command.

Now I fully accept that none of this is rocket science and much of it is indeed documented but if you have not done this before, you will waste time discovering these issues. So hopefully, you will benefit from knowing this and it will save you time some time in the future.

Best of luck!

8 thoughts on “Upgrading the firmware on a SunFire T2000”

  1. That’s ACE! I was pondering a little while as I had to setup 4 T2000’s for a customer but I was given a convoluted idea of connecting the serial port and use tip to get to the net mgt. I’d rather free up the console switch and use the one provided by the T2000.

  2. Sun has made firmware upgrades possible for those that do not have the NET MGT port configured. You can use the sysfwdownload utility without needing to FTP to another machine.

  3. Just upgraded the firmware on a T2000 and found this article extremely helpful. It was a great supplement to the Install.info file that was provided with the firmware patch. Thanks to whomever submitted this!

  4. You definitely do not need to shutdown the system to get to the SC. All you need to do is connect on the SERIAL MGT port and issue the break command, #., or connect on the NET MGT port after you’ve configured it somehow. This is all in the ALOM CMT guide (easily found via Google). Hope this helps someone else!

  5. Thanks Ryan,

    You are correct – you do not need to shut down the system to access the SC prompt. From memory (article is now quite old), I think this was either a typo in the original post, or a misplaced reference to the fact that at some point during the firmware upgrade you do have to shut the system down.

  6. James,

    I’ve stumbled upon this article when I searched the internet on how to do a FW upgrade on a Sun Fire T2000. I was glad to see someone pointed out things, not covered by the official documentation. Thank you for that.

    However in my case the flashupdate wouldn’t work when specifying the full path to the file. Dumping the network traffic on the FTP server, I could see an error: 550 Can’t change directory to
    The flashupdate worked when I specified the relative path to the image.

    I just wanted to point that out.


Leave a Reply