IBM M1015 9220-8i cross-flashed to LSI 9211-8i IT mode

Flashing a raid card to a different firmware takes about five minutes, however if you have never done it before, the research process can be an order of magnitude higher. I spent about a day parsing all the blogs, forum posts, and subreddits that discuss flashing the LSI9211 HBA firmware to IT mode on compatible cards.

The process is simple:

BIOS Mode:

megarec -writesbr 0 sbrempty.bin
megarec -cleanflash 0

sas2flsh -o -f 2118it.bin -b mptsas2.rom 
sas2flsh -o -sasadd 500605B0xxxxxxxx (x = numbers for SAS address)

UEFI Mode:

efi_shell> fs0:
fs0:\> sas2lash.efi -o -e 6 
fs0:\> sas2flash.efi -o -f 211it.bin -b mptsas2.rom 
fs0:\> exit
efi_shell> quit

In a nutshell:

  1. Create FreeDOS boot disk
  2. Boot to BIOS/UEFI mode
  3. Erase SBR (Fusion Mode)
  4. Erase firmware (backup old)
  5. Load new firmware + BIOS
  6. Reboot

My r710 mobo does not play well with cross flashing so I used my mining rig which has an MSI Z270 SLI Plus Motherboard — It worked!

I got the FreeDOS image from here.

A lot of guides fail to mention that you have to do the following after you create the bootable usb.

1. Create a directory called: efi and sub-directory called boot.
2. Place the Shell_Full.efi file in the boot directory and rename it to bootx64.efi

BIOS or UEFI alone didn’t work for me I had to use a combination of both.

I wiped the firmware in BIOS mode with FreeDOS using the two megarec commands and then did a UEFI boot and flashed the firmware.

I have read so many cries for help because of errors such as:

“Failed to initialize PAL”

Which the consensus answer is to boot using UEFI. This worked for me, but there’s more.

When I tried to flash in UEFI mode I got a less frequent error:

“No LSI SAS adapters found”

This forum post pulled me out of deep water. Wait, there’s more.

After I was done flashing and having a proud moment, I noticed my firmware version:

“15.00.00.00”

The most recommended version was p16 however, at the time of this post it is currently p20. (20.00.07.00).

I re-flashed and all was well again. FreeNAS detected all my drives and I went on to do the burn-in process.

A quick note for r710 owners. If you have the PERC 6i Raid Card you will have to get SFF-8087 reverse breakout cables and make sure they have the 90 degree bend.

All of this was done so I can finish building out my r710 as an ESXi Server with FreeNAS, which I’ll document and share in a future blog post(s) for anyone else considering the same setup

Thanks for reading.

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