IBM Storewize and FlashSystem Storage Upgrades


In an Enterprise setting upgrading storage infrastructure is quite different from running updates on your home PC; or at least it should be. While updates expand functionality, simplify interfaces, fix bugs and close vulnerabilities they can also introduce new bugs and vulnerabilities. Sometimes the new bugs are contingent upon factors which exist in your environment and can result in encountering the issue the bug creates. In an Enterprise environment where many users and sometimes customers rely upon the storage infrastructure the impact of an issue caused by an upgrade can be broad and affect business credibility with potentially even legal ramifications. Therefore, having a process to mitigate as many risks as possible is a necessity. The process presented here rests in a general framework with specific steps related to IBM Midrange StoreWize V5000, V7000 and Flash Storage.

High-level Overview

The process described at a high-level here is a good general framework for any shared infrastructure upgrade in an Enterprise environment.

  1. Planning
    • Document current environment cross section from CMDB and/or direct system inquiry.
      (Server Hardware Model, OS and Adapter Model/Firmware/Driver as well as SAN Switch Model/Firmware and current Storage Model/Code Level)
    • Ensure the SAN infrastructure is under vendor support so that code may be downloaded, and support may be engaged if any problems are encountered.
    • Download and Review Release notes for the top 3 recent code releases.
    • Use vendor interoperability documents or web applications to validate supportability in your environment using the information gathered above.
    • Choose the target code level. (Often N-1 is preferred over N, bleeding edge latest releases, unless significant vulnerabilities or incompatibility with your environment exists.)
  2. Preparation
    • Download the target release installation code and any upgrade test utilities provided by the vendor.
    • Upload the target code and test utility and run test utility.
    • Run initial health checks on the storage systems.
    • Gather connectivity information from SAN and Storage devices and verify connection and path redundancy.
    • Initiate a resolution plan before scheduling the upgrade for any identified issues.
    • Submit change control and obtain approval for upgrade.
  3. Upgrade
    • Rerun the upgrade test utility to verify issues are still resolved.
    • Run configuration backup, diagnostic snapshot and list logs to a file downloading each to a central configuration repository.
    • Perform health checks
    • Clear logs and clean diagnostic snapshots
    • Initiate any prerequisite components microcode upgrades (drive firmware, etc) and validate completion.
    • Initiate system update and monitor upgrade process
    • Upon completion validate upgrade, perform health checks and validate the dependent systems connectivity.
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