The Data ONTAP 8 Simulator *is* technically upgradable, but there currently is no image on NOW that can be used to upgrade it. When you try to download a new Data ONTAP image from NOW, the first step is to select the controller for which you're downloading the software (e.g., FAS2040, FAS3170, etc.). The simulator virtual machine is a platform, just like the different types of hardware platforms NetApp offers. So when you try to upgrade the simulator using using the image.tgz file from a different platform, the type checking might pass (it shouldn't and should tell you that the platform is incompatible), but the image itself isn't going to boot. There are too many platform-dependent drivers, optimizations, etc. for the same image to boot across such different platforms.
The NetApp simulator team is discussing what it would take to add the simulator as a platform selection for Data ONTAP image download. Working through the process is always more complicated than one would think or imagine When we figure it out, we're unlikely to provide images for any older releases of Data ONTAP. For new version of Data ONTAP posted to NOW we should be able to include the simulator as a selectable platform. That said, I explicitly want to set the expectation that at this time there is no particular date or Data ONTAP release when this is going to happen. We're just starting to work on it NOW (pun intended).
It is a separate vsim image and I have done it. The standard q image on downloads will hang after reboot as the original post mentions. I don't have access but netapp VPN users seem to ....so mayne could get from a netapp SE maybe. It is a vsim specific build that works for the upgrade. We did that for our cpoc labs instead of having to recreate each vsim.
I wish the vsim or download page allowed access for partners. Then we can software update. I know it exists.
7.x was updated by installing new version and updating root volume without download. I wonder if it's possible to just replace DataONTAP-cf.vmdk (which should contain the binaries). This should have the same effect as reimaging boot device on real system?
Not sure if that will take care of it but would be interesting to try. Probably won't without a download to disk too. Would be like head swapping 8.1 to an 8.0 set of disks. Could work. I know when 8.0 was swapped on top of 7.3 without downloading 7.3 it caused issues. Download likely needed for major releases. But 8.1rc1 to 8.1rc3 there probably is a good chance it works with the vmdk boot image.
Seems to work (8.1RC3 => 8.1). One must be careful to record serial and sysid and adjust before first boot, as they are different in new image. Otherwise no "software install" seems necessary - looking at DOT archive content it contains only CF stuff which gets extracted during first boot (mroot and pmroot/pmroot_late).
gets extracted during first boot (mroot and pmroot/pmroot_late).
A word of caution. It appears that some settings are not migrated during this process. So timezone was reset, sshd key changed, diag user got locked again and possibly something else I did not yet notice. So this procedure is indeed quite dangerous on real system as effects are unpredictable.