Active IQ and AutoSupport Discussions

Firmware and Ontap upgrade advice


I want to upgrade my filers (a pair of 2040s and a pair of 3140s) from 7.3.3 to 8.0.2. I have already upgraded the disk firmware on all the filers. I still need to upgrade the BIOS, BMC and shelf firmware. Having read a number of documents on this site and a few blogs it seems that the upgrade can be done non-disruptively one controller at a time. We have FC and SAS on the 3140 and SAS and SATA on the 2040. I have read that i need to be wary of the SATA shelf upgrade but i cant find much more info than that.

i spoke to some more experienced netapp colleagues and they suggested that i take down our entire envgeironment (all the VMs and all our SQL LUNs) in order to do the upgrades. I cant be sure if they suggested this because of me or because they consider this a good practice.

i wanted to know what more experienced netapp administrators do and recommend.





Upgrading the BIOS requires a reboot of the controller, but should be done simultaneously with the Ontap upgrade as this is a fully automatic process these days.

The BMC can be upgraded online as it is only needed for console access.

Upgrading the ESH2/4 and IOM3 disk shelf modules is non disruptive.

Upgrading AT-FCX can only be done non disruptive under the following conditions:

1. Running Ontap 7.3.2 or later

2. You are already using firmware version 37 or later on the AT-FCX modules

3. The SATA disk shelves are configured for multi path high availability (MPHA).

You will most likely also see that during the reboot after the Ontap 8 upgrade the firmware for the SAS HBA's will be automatically upgraded too. The SAS HBA firmware can't be downloaded separately.


The NVRAM firmware will be upgraded as well. Please be informed that updating to ontap 8.0.2 might differ from upgrading within the 7.3.x release family. You need to do a cf takeover -n and then halt the other node during an ontap 8 upgrade. besides, the software install & download takes over half an hour depending on system size and load.

I have done it non-disuptivly a few times already, it worksfine as long as you are sure what you are doing.


thomas.glodde wrote:

The NVRAM firmware will be upgraded as well.

I knew I forgot one.

And I agree that if you have a cluster you should definitely do it non disruptive, because otherwise you encounter very long down time for the firmware updates and subsequent extra reboots.You can use the upgrade advisor on the myautosupport site to get the necessary steps.

Also be aware that updating to Ontap 8 (software update command) will take a very long time. I have seen up to 45 minutes!


One thing to note is that the BIOS is not versioned...meaning the last thing to write the bios to flash wins.  Unlike disk and shelf which are versioned, the bios is written to flash and used on boot if a newer version on flash than the motherboard.  For example, there is a 7.1.2 for 6200 but the ONTAP build has 7.1.0.  If you push the bios then push ontap before takeover/giveback, then 7.1.0 is on flash... so I push the bios as the very last step so that 7.1.2 (or equivalent for other platforms) is on flash after download -d and on the takeover/giveback the latest bios is pushed to the motherboard.  If you install a patch release of ontap soon after then the older 7.1.0 may (or may not depending on when the ontap bundle was built) be written to flash but it doesn't matter since the motherboard already has a newer version and won't install the older version after reboot.  For disk, shelf this isn't an issue and I always push latest versions before the ontap upgrade regardless if ontap has the latest firmware or not for disk and shelf.