If you’ve been following my blog, you know that last year our project acquired a 3PAR T400 Fibre Channel array. One of the features which really sold us on 3PAR was its ease of use and the ability for our technical staff to perform all aspects of maintenance including major upgrades without any on-site professional services.
In the last few weeks 3PAR released a major software upgrade for their arrays which enables a boatload of new features, including enhanced thin provisioning, autonomic provisioning, and RAID-MP. Today I performed the upgrade to Inform OS 2.3.1, and it went without a hitch and was quite easy. Unlike high-end arrays from Hitachi, EMC, and IBM, the upgrade process is not complex and took no more than an hour of time.
Basic upgrade process was as follows:
1. Upgrade the service processor (a Linux-based management appliance that does NOT sit in the data path) to the latest OS. Insert a CD, run a couple of menu commands, then come back 20 minutes later.
2. Perform a health check of the array to ensure it can do an online update. Again, just a couple of menu options and review the output.
3. Execute the controller upgrades by executing a menu command, then come back 20 minutes later after the rolling (and non-disruptive) upgrade completes.
4. Perform another health check to verify the upgrade went as planned. Run a final command to upgrade the disk cage and disk drive firmware. Again, non-disruptive.
5. Upgrade the Windows-based management tools to the latest version and call it a day!
The entire process requires no downtime for attached hosts, and I/Os continue to be serviced throughout the entire process. This was our first major upgrade, and I must say the ease of use really paid off.