Drive firmware upgrades

Drive firmware controls the low-level operating characteristics of a drive. Periodically, the drive manufacturers release updates to drive firmware to add new features, improve performance, and fix defects.

Online and offline drive firmware upgrades

There are two types of drive firmware upgrade methods: online and offline.

Online

During an online upgrade, drives are upgraded sequentially, one at a time. The storage array continues processing I/O while the upgrade occurs. You do not have to stop I/O. If a drive can do an online upgrade, the online method is used automatically.

Drives that can do an online upgrade include the following:

Doing an online drive firmware upgrade can take several hours exposing the storage array to potential volume failures. Volume failure could occur in these cases:

Offline (parallel)

During an offline upgrade, all drives of the same drive type are upgraded at the same time. This method requires stopping I/O activity to the volumes associated with the selected drives. Because multiple drives can be upgraded concurrently (in parallel), the overall downtime is significantly reduced. If a drive can do only an offline upgrade, the offline method is used automatically.

The following drives MUST use the offline method:

Compatibility

Each drive firmware file contains information about the drive type on which the firmware runs. You can download the specified firmware file only to a compatible drive. System Manager automatically checks compatibility during the upgrade process.