Array Setup and Networking

Tips & Tricks - Remember Your Disks Have Firmware Too!

Valued Contributor

Tips & Tricks - Remember Your Disks Have Firmware Too!

Hey all,

I thought I'd post this quick tip for two reasons;

1 - Who doesn't want their own helicopter drone!?!?

2 - I'm feeling the pain induced by bad disk firmware...yes...lots of pain...

In any storage system, whether it be local DAS, iSCSI, NAS or FC storage, all disk drives contain firmware. As such these need updating from time to time in order to fix software bugs, etc.

In some scenarios, these can be critical bug fixes and may not always be overly obvious to the end user, such as on-going minor performance issues. In my case we had a number of disks showing higher than normal SCSI aborts causing high latencies, creating congestion at the array level, and these errors were only uncovered after logging a support case with the vendor.

So, a small piece of advice from me is to keep up to date with your disk firmware and be extra careful with storage products that don't include disk firmware as part of their array updates! (As far as I know Nimble include disk firmware with their OS updates but happy to be corrected!). In my case I had to go digging for the firmware update specific to the disk model which could not be deployed online via the array management software (no this was not a Nimble array ) - this ain't easy when you have almost 500 disks of varying models and firmware revs across multiple arrays.

Finally, I'd also recommend keeping a record of your firmware revisions in a spreadsheet or similar. If you have a large number of arrays (I have almost 30) managing firmware revisions, etc, can be very tedious and it's easy to miss something.

On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to have some Nimbles, then managing firmware becomes dead easy as there is only one update to apply

Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there, it certainly would have made me check our disk firmware much sooner!