Networking

Dell Switch OS10 and ONIE Firmware Update

Not long ago, I posted about basic Dell EMC OS10 network switch configuration and how to get a basic configuration on the open network platform switches. Part of setting up new network switches is checking for new firmware available for them. The process to update the Dell EMC OS10 network switches is a bit different especially if you are used to updating standard network switches. It also depends on what version of the firmware your switches come with out of the box as to the process. This post will detail my experience with Dell Switch OS10 and ONIE firmware update to see what steps you need to take to properly upgrade your Dell OS10 switch.

Update files needed

I want to detail where I am coming from with my switc upgrade. The switches received had an old version of OS10 installed from Dell. These were the 10.4.x version. The newest at the time of this writing is 10.5.2.2. This is quite a major jump.

Dell has changed a few things since 10.4.x and 10.5.x. One of which is a change in how the ONIE update works. What is ONIE? It is the Open Network Install Environment. It is what Dell is using on their OS10 switches to handle upgrades, installs, etc.

To upgrade ONIE in the 10.4.x family, you have to boot into ONIE to upgrade the ONIE updater and firmware. However, in 10.5.x, ONIE can be updated from within OS10 itself. The process shown, will be the process coming from OS10 10.4.x going to 10.5.x, so will show booting into ONIE for the updates to ONIE.

You will want to have a USB drive formatted with FAT32. You can use TFTP but it is much slower than using the USB file attached to the USB port on the front of the Dell S5200 series switch running OS10. The three files that you will need come from the Dell digital locker.

You will need to be entitled to the switch files with a licensed OS10 switch. You can download these at The ONIE and CPLD updates can be found at www.support.dell.com 

Your USB key will need (generic filenames listed below):

  • ONIE updater.bin
  • ONIE firmware.bin
  • OS10 firmware update.bin

Dell Switch OS10 and ONIE Firmware Update

Before updating the firmware on your Dell OS10 switch, make sure you backup your configuration. I like to backup both the .XML and the traditional startup config file. First, let’s backup the startup.xml file. You can take a look at the startup XML config name by using:

dir config
Viewing switch xml file configuration for dell os10
Viewing switch xml file configuration for dell os10

To backup the startup.xml file to your USB drive, plugged into the front of the switch:

copy config://startup.xml usb://<your file name>.xml
Copying the startup.xml to usb for backup purposes
Copying the startup.xml to usb for backup purposes

You can make sure the file made it to the USB drive:

dir usb
View files contained on the usb drive
View files contained on the usb drive

Now, let’s copy the running configuration to the USB drive. We first have to copy it to the home directory and then to the USB drive.

copy running-configuration home://<running config name>
copy home://<what you named the file> usb://<file name>
Copying the config using manual config file to usb
Copying the config using manual config file to usb

Next, let’s write memory and reboot the switch:

write memory
reload
Writing memory and reloading the switch
Writing memory and reloading the switch

Now, when the switch reboots, you have a couple of seconds to choose ONIE.

Boot into onie to start updating onie firmware
Boot into onie to start updating onie firmware

Next, choose ONIE: Rescue.

Enter onie rescue mode
Enter onie rescue mode

Now, mount the USB drive and then use the onie-self-update command to update the updater and then the firmware.

mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usb
onie-self-update /mnt/usb/<onie-updater filename>
Run the onie self update command
Run the onie self update command

The onie-updater update does not take too long at all. The switch will automatically reboot once it applies the updater image. Reboot back into the Onie Rescue menu, mount the USB drive, then apply the onie-firmware file.

mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usb
onie-self-update /mnt/usb/<onie-firmware file>
Run the onie self update firmware image
Run the onie self update firmware image

The firmware file for ONIE will take a few minutes.

The onie firmware update takes a few minutes
The onie firmware update takes a few minutes

Now, to update the OS10 image, use the following command:

image install usb://<OS10 image file.bin>
Installing the os10 image update to the dell switch
Installing the os10 image update to the dell switch

To view the status of the update, use the show image status command.

Show image status after kicking off the image update
Show image status after kicking off the image update

This update will take several minutes. You will need to keep looking at the show image status command to check to see if the update has finished. You will eventually see the Completed: Success message.

Image update completes successfully
Image update completes successfully

After you see the successful message, you will want to issue the following commands:

boot system standby
reload
yes
Setting the boot system and reloading the switch
Setting the boot system and reloading the switch

Once the switch reboots from applying the OS10 update, you can use the:

show version

to verify the update to the latest version of OS10 is installed.

Troubleshooting

Hopefully, your Dell Switch OS10 and ONIE firmware update will be smooth sailing. One weird thing I saw happen was self-inflicted. I selected ONIE Install on the menu prompt on a reload of the switch. After I selected this once, it was as if the switch was in a boot loop where I could not see the menu to allow booting the OS10 operating system.

However, I found a thread here that described the issue I was seeing. To get out of the boot loop of the ONIE menu, you hit “c” and then type “exit.” Afterward, you will need to go into the System setup screen by hitting the Delete Key just like you would an x86 box to get to the BIOS. Once into the BIOS, change the Startup order to have OS10 as the first to boot.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at Virtualizationhowto.com and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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