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.


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




2040 firmware version check

HPE MSA Upgrade

Today we have a guest post covering the HPE MSA firmware upgrade process in excellent detail. If you fancy writing a guest post check out this post.


Hi Guys,

First, let me introduce myself:

My name is Armin Kerl, I have been a HPE Master ASE for 20 years in Server & Storage starting at 1992 with Compaq Server Technology. I’m living with my Wife and Son in Germany and working for the last 15 Years for SWS Computersysteme AG (Member of ACP Group). In 2014, I got a nomination to the “HPE Partner Ambassador Program”. My primary focus is HPE Storage and Server as Senior Consultant. After Years of HP EVA Systems, today I am installing and managing around 50 3PAR Systems at 20 customer Sites. You can learn more about me by connecting on LinkedIn.

HPE MSA Upgrade Background

Now let me share some tips for updating your HPE MSA & P2000 Storage Systems. HPE has released a new Microsite for “HPE MSA Storage Firmware & Release Notes” Well done HPE, I wish we could of had this for the last 20 Years. From here you can find and download all the necessary firmware for the MSA.

Before starting the Update, remember, it is always a good Idea to have a Backup. I have had issues where multiple drives have a malfunctioned after the update and data was put at risk. In addition, you should have a support contract if the system production, best is 4h response Time. I have had experience of where one controller goes down during a firmware update.

All the Issues I have had were with P2000 systems, until now I have seen no firmware update problem with MSA204x or MSA205x Systems and have read that the newer MSA Storages HPE updates are improved.

As today, you have still search and download for every Drive Type the Firmware Version. If you scroll down the new MicroSite you can find the “HPE MSA Hard Disk Drives – Hard Drive Model Number Matrix”.

For the P2000 Systems HPE Support told, that is best practice to have no IOs (or minimum IOs) during the Update. Even if Online Update is supported. I have had many Issus by Updating and always shut down all Systems, if in Production.

For MSA204x and MSA205x, I decide not to Shut Down all Systems, but shutdown databases (Exchange, SQL, Oracle,…) and doing it to Low IO Times. So long, I have no trouble.

Now here is my Action Plan:

1 Prepare the System

Connect via putty:

1a Check if System is OK

#show version

#show network

#show system

System Information


System Name: P2k05

System Contact: xxxxxxxxx

System Location: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

System Information: P2000 G3

Midplane Serial Number: xxxxxxxxxxxx

Vendor Name: HP StorageWorks

Product ID: P2000 G3 FC

Product Brand: MSA Storage

SCSI Vendor ID: HP

SCSI Product ID: P2000 G3 FC

Enclosure Count: 2

Health: OK

Note health shows as OK

1b Check if all VDisks are “Fault Tolerance Online” (FOTL) and have no Job:

Output from vdisk FTOL commandIf Disk Scrub (VRSC) active, then abort

#abort scrub vdisk BKRSDS1_RG2-0

Info: Scrub was aborted on vdisk BKRSDS1_RG2-0. (BKRSDS1_RG2-0)

Success: Command completed successfully. (2014-10-15 09:53:46)

Another example

vdisk is initalising

This Disk is Initializing:

If other jobs active or volumes are not FTOL than, cancel update and schedule new, if system is OK then continue

1c Check if disks are OK:

show disks output

Example:This disk is initializing:

1d     Check if unwritten Data is in Cache

# show unwritable-cache

Percent not written Cache in Controller A: 0

Percent not written Cache in Controller  B: 0

If there is:

# clear cache volume (Name)

1e Disable Partner Firmware Update

# set advanced-settings partner-firmware-upgrade off

1f you powered off hosts and check, there are no IOPS. Below we can see IOPs are still present, we would like to see this at zero

This is all the pre-upgrade steps

2 Firmware Update Controller

Download ” Online ROM Flash Component for Windows – HP P2000 / MSA 1040/2040 Storage Arrays”.

Always use the Windows EXE for Firmware Update; this is using special Script’s.

The Firmware Update Tool connects to the Controller over IP and takes aprox 30 min. per Controller.

Running the Windows online ROM flash component for MSA firmware update

3 After Update check if it is OK

After the Update login to the Web GUI go to Tools > Firmware Update. Check, if both Controllers have identical Firmware versions.Often on P2000 Systems with older firmware sometimes, parts of Firmware were not updated.

This is P2000 with c2 GUI:

Checking firmware versions, post upgrade

checking firmware version for the MSA controller

And here in the newer v3 GUI:

MSA2040 update firmware

2040 firmware version check

4 Firmware Update Disk Shelf

Download the ” Online ROM Flash Component for Windows – HP MSA 2040/P2000 Dual I/O LFF or SFF Drive Enclosure”.

This Process is only OFFLINE supported; meaning no IOPS. Each IO Module need around 15 minutes.

update expansion modules

5       Firmware Update Disks

Login to the Web GUI and go to Tools > Firmware Update

Look at the Disk Types, than download the „Firmware Flash Component for Windows – HP MSA 1040/2040, P2000 G3 and MSA2000 …..”, if there is some newer.The Disk Firmware Update Tool connects over the IP to the Controller and does an update of the disk.

If different Disk Types are installed, than repeat this for every type. Per Disk it will need about 5 Minutes

6  Check if Disk Update is OK

update disk drives firmware