Brocade Network Advisor – Switch Firmware Upgrade

This guest post is brought to you by Jason Moorhead, if you fancy trying you hand at blogging check out our guest posting opportunities.

This doc will show how to update the fabric operating system (FOS) on a Brocade fibre channel switch using Brocade Network Advisor (BNA). Last I heard, BNA is free for non-Director class switches, and is infinitely easier than using the FTP method to do upgrades. One huge benefit is that you can update multiple switches (like say an entire fabric) at once. If you’re in a large organization that has dual redundant fabrics, you can update dozens of switches at once.

Assuming you have a BNA installation already, the high level steps are as follows:

  1. Download firmware from
  2. Go into Firmware management in BNA and upload firmware file and md5
  3. Select the switches you want to update, and what version you want each one to go to
  4. Click “download”

A couple things to remember here… First off, make sure you save off the md5 file when you download the firmware file. Second, only upgrade one major version at a time. For example you cannot go from 7.0.x directly to 7.4.2c. The upgrade path here is 7.0.x -> 7.1.x -> 7.2.x -> 7.3.x -> 7.4.2c.

Now let’s run through the steps in detail.

1 Download firmware and md5 from

Search for the firmware you require at the Brocade download area

Choosing Brocade FC Switch Firmware

2 Upload firmware into Brocade Network ADVISOR repository

Open up BNA and click on Firmware Management from the configure menu

Brocade Network Advisor Firmware Management

Click on “import” to add the recently downloaded firmware version to the BNA repository

Importing firmware into Brocade Network Advisor

Enter the location for the firmware .zip and .md5 file then hit OK

Entering firmware and MD5 location

You will see the following checks being performed

Firmware management checks

If all goes well you should see the success message below

Successful upload message

3 Choose Brocade switches for firmware update

A list of all switches in BNA is on the left. Highlight the switches you want to upgrade, and click the right arrow to add them to the active list. For each selected switch, choose the firmware version you want to install on the switch, keeping in mind you cannot upgrade more than one major version at a time. If you need to go from 7.2 to 7.4, you would need to run this upgrade twice.

Once everything looks good, click “Download”. BNA will then take care of all the uploading of data, and run through all the various upgrade tasks that often need to be done manually with the FTP method of upgrading switch firmware, including all reboots.

Choosing Brocade FC switches for firmware update

The process will update you in the status window, and eventually tell you the switch has been upgraded. You can then keep the same switches chosen, to do another major version upgrade, or choose a new set of switches.


Brocade SAN Health

Brocade SAN Health is a useful free utility you can download from Brocade to analyse amongst other things the load on your Brocade switches, any errors plus a whole host of other things including a nice Visio diagram showing your topology. This is how you to download, setup and run Brocade SAN Health

1 Download from Brocade

2 Extract the Zip file and run SANHealth.exe. The install wizard is an easy next, next affair. The only screen you may want to change is the location it will store completed health checks in

1 install location

3 The installer will put a SAN health icon on your desktop, just need to double click this to launch and then select New from the top left corner

2 start new

4 Enter all your personnel details in the boxes. Make sure you enter a valid e-mail address as this is where the results will get sent

3 site details

5 Next click the add switches tab and add all the switches in your fabric you wish

4 add switches

6 Move to the Fabric tab and for each Fabric you see listed on the right enter the required detail. It’s in this dialog that you get to choose how long the tests run for, I chose 24 hours.

5 fabric

7 Move to the capture tab and chose start.

6 start

8 When the capture has completed click send diagnostic report file via HTTPS

7 send results

9 When Brocade have processed the results they will e-mail you and inform you. You then access the results from the my home area on


8 chart

So after all that effort you may be wondering what you get back, you will get a nice Visio diagram of your fabric including all the host connections, charts showing the load on each switch as above. Plus a wealth of information displayed in tables including port errors, firmware and driver versions, each item in the tables is colour coded to show if it’s in a healthy state.

9 colour coding

Give it a go its a great free tool!

Other Brocade Blog Posts

Upgrading Brocade Switch Firmware

Brocade clear port stats

Configuring a Brocade switch in access gateway mode

Brocade FC Switch Supportsave

Backing up a Brocade switch



Upgrading Brocade Switch Firmware

This post discusses the process to update a Brocade Fibre Channel switch. You will require an FTP server to complete the process.

Pre-Upgrade Tasks

Before updating the Fabric OS on your Brocade switches complete the following steps:

1 Find the current firmware version and check compatibility. Check the current firmware version by entering at the CLI


Verify the upgrade path from within the Brocade Fabric OS Upgrade Guide which you will find in the Brocade document library. As shown in the table below upgrade between one release is online more than this will require a reboot of the switch.  So check you are happy with your multipathing setup on hosts before continuing.

If you have other switches connected to the switch you are upgrading check for computability in the Brocade Fabric OS Release Notes.


Table showing fabric OS upgrade paths for Brocade switch

2 Backup the Brocade FC switches

3 Run a Brocade supportsave

4 You can also run an errclear to clear all existing stats

5 Check no ports are G ports


Scrteenshot of Brocade switch showing no G ports present

6 Check that no firmware upgrade is already in progress


7 If the switches are in a fabric run the commands below and take a note of the setting.  You will run these commands again after to ensure the fabric is healthy




7 Download the switch firmware from Brocade

8 Extract the Zip file and place it on your FTP server

Upgrading the Brocade switch firmware

1 Connect to the switch with an admin account

2 Enter the command firmwaredownload and follow the prompts.  If you are upgrading from 7.4.x or earlier you will need to use firmwaredownload -s.  firmwaredownload -s just commits the updated firmware to one partition you manually need to commit it to the second.  This can be a useful way of testing an update and reduces the risk of upgrade.  This is the procedure that is covered in this post, once you are happy with the update you will commit to both partitions


3 Follow the prompts:

Enter the IP address of the FTP server

Host IP or Host Name:

Enter a username with access to the FTP server

User Name: anonymous

Enter the location of the firmware upgrade files. In the example below I have copied the upgrade files for v8.1.0 to the root directory of the FTP server

File Name: v8.1.0/v8.1.0c

Select the protocol the FTP server uses

Protocol (ftp | scp | sftp): ftp

Enter the password for the user account you selected


4 You will then see the switch update begin which will take aprox 30mins.

2 switch update progress

You can see all the steps  that were taken taken below

FCSWITCH1:admin> firmwaredownload -s
Server Name or IP Address:
User Name: anonymous
File Name: v8.1.0/v8.1.0c
Network Protocol(1-auto-select, 2-FTP, 3-SCP, 4-SFTP) [1]: 2
Do Auto-Commit after Reboot [Y]: n
Reboot system after download [N]: y
Server IP:, Protocol IPv4
Checking system settings for firmwaredownload...</spanSystem settings check passed.>

Post Upgrade Checks

1 Once the upgrade is running you can check progress using:

 [1]: Tue Aug 15 21:46:28 2017
 Firmware is being downloaded to the switch. This step may take up to 30 minutes.

[2]: Tue Aug 15 21:52:21 2017
 Firmware has been downloaded to the secondary partition of the switch.

2 When the process is finished you can check the switch firmware (Fabric OS) is at the expected version


Appl     Primary/Secondary Versions
FOS       v8.1.0

3 If your switch is in a fabric check the fabric is healthy with the following commands and check against the values you noted earlier




If you ran the firmwaredownload without the -s command, that’s it your done. If not you can let things run for a bit and then you need to commit the firmware to the second partition

Committing the firmware

1 Enter the command below to confirm the primary partition is running the correct level of firmware


2 Next commit the firmware


4 You can view the progress of the update


5 Finally now check that both partitions are running the correct firmware version