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UCS: Unable to communicate with Flexible Flash controller

by on May.28, 2014, under UCS, Vblock, VMware

For all of you who are using Cisco UCS C220 M3 server and Flexible Flash controller with SD card beware that there is a bug in firmware prior to 1.5(3a)

The problem shows up as timeout error for FlexFlash controller. The interesting part is even though there is a problem with the FlexFlash, CIMC still is showing that overall Server Status as good:
Once you log-in into CIMC you will not see that there is a problem:

2

No Errors

but once you click on Storage tab you’ll get error message:

Error: Unable to communicate with Flexible Flash controller: operation ffCardsGet, status ERROR_TIMEOUT

In the logs you’ll see:

BMC:FlexFlash:-: flex.c:1090:ffFirmwareInfoGet: ERROR_TIMEOUT BMC:FlexFlash:-: flex.c:2343:Failed to collect card details ERROR_TIMEOUT

The problem was first noticed not in CIMC but on ESXi host as it lost connectivity to the datastore:

Lost connectivity to the device mpx.vmhba32:C0:T0:L0 backing the boot filesystem

Lost connectivity to the device mpx.vmhba32:C0:T0:L0 backing the boot filesystem

This is a bug on C series servers: CSCuh33982
To fix the issue you need to upgrade the firmware to 1.5(3a) or above.
The workaround is to reset FelxFlash controller but as I found out that only worked for couple weeks. So the best thing is to upgrade.

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