How to change Dell’s BIOS settings from a Linux command-line

To be able to change BIOS settings from the command-line on a Dell Poweredge, you need the syscfg utility. It’s very useful when you want to change a configuration on, for example, 32 nodes at once, without having to plug screen, plug keyboard, reboot, change setting, reboot 32 times. Here is how I installed it on the CentOS 5 distribution :

# cd ; wget -q -O – | bash
# yum install srvadmin-hapi
# wget
# mkdir dtk
# mount -o loop dtk_2.5_80_Linux.iso dtk/
# cd dtk/isolinux/
# cp  SA.2 ~/SA.2.gz
# cd; gunzip SA.2.gz
# mkdir stage2
# cd stage2
# cpio -i < ../SA.2
# cd lofs
# mkdir dell
# mount -o loop dell.cramfs dell/
# mkdir -p /usr/local/sbin ; cp dell/toolkit/bin/syscfg /usr/local/sbin/
# umount dell
# cd
# umount dtk

And voilà! You can now use syscfg:

# /usr/local/sbin/syscfg –biosver
# /usr/local/sbin/syscfg –virtualization=enable

I’d have preferred an easier way, but couldn’t find syscfg’s RPM.

When deploying that to a lot of nodes, you probably don’t want to go through all the associated network downloads of the first phase (wget of the yum repository, yum, and wget of the 230MB iso), so you can take shortcuts:

# for node in $(list_of_nodes); do scp /usr/local/sbin/syscfg /var/cache/yum/dell-hardware-auto/packages/srvadmin-*.rpm $node: ; ssh $node « mkdir -p /usr/local/sbin; mv syscfg /usr/local/sbin; rpm -ivh srvadmin-*.rpm »; done;