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.
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.
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.
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!