Very quietly HP has released a product called VMware SmartComponents for Insight Control for vCenter. What is that you may ask? Very good question, as I had no idea either and I try to keep up with HP firmware as much as possible. In short, given the right supported environment, you can now directly execute HP firmware update packages from the ESXi command prompt or by using the Insight Control for vCenter, 7.1.1. Now you no longer have to use the offline method with the HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) ISO. You can check out the full PDF description here. For more detailed instructions on how to use Insight Control for vCenter and push firmware updates, read this document.
In short, what you need is:
- ESXi 5.0 U1 (or later, including 5.1)
- HP Insight Control for vCenter 7.1.1
- HP Insight WBEM Providers v 1.3.5 or later
- HP Agentless Management v9.2.5 or later
If you load HP servers with their custom ISOs, you need version 5.25 or later. Or, if you use stock or older versions, make sure the two updates above have been installed on the server. No need to re-load servers to get the proper baseline.
Included in the SmartComponents package are firmware for System ROM (G7/Gen8), iLO 3/4, SmartArray, and variety of HDs.
You can check out the revamped HP Online Depot (Vibsdepot) here, where there are additional links, release notes, and download links to the SmartComponents bundle. Note that at this time the bundle is not designed to be used with HP SUM, so this is a totally distinct way to update firmware on your ESXi 5.x servers. G6 and older servers seem not to be covered, so you may still need to use the Service Pack for ProLiant to get all of your firmware updated.
Hopefully HP is working on a fully integrated online firmware update method, and integration with HP SUM. So stay tuned and see what HP comes up with to make firmware management even easier.