Before you upgrade the firmware for any endpoint in a Cisco UCS instance, consider the following guidelines and cautions:
Determine Appropriate Type of Firmware Upgrade for Each Endpoint
Some endpoints, such as adapters and the server CIMC, can be upgraded through either a direct firmware upgrade or a firmware package included in a service profile. The configuration of a Cisco UCS instance determines how you upgrade these endpoints. If the service profiles associated with the servers include a host firmware package, upgrade the adapters for those servers through the firmware package. In the same way, if the service profiles associated with the servers include a management firmware package, upgrade the CIMC for those servers through the firmware package.
Upgrades of a CIMC through a management firmware package or an adapter through a firmware package in the service profile associated with the server take precedence over direct firmware upgrades. You cannot directly upgrade an endpoint if the service profile associated with the server includes a firmware package. To perform a direct upgrade, you must remove the firmware package from the service profile.
Always Upgrade Cisco UCS Gen-2 Adapters through a Host Firmware Package
You cannot upgrade Cisco UCS Gen-2 adapters directly at the endpoints. You must upgrade the firmware on those adapters through a host firmware package.
No Server or Chassis Maintenance
Do not remove the hardware that contains the endpoint or perform any maintenance on it until the update process has completed. If the hardware is removed or otherwise unavailable due to maintenance, the firmware update fails. This failure may corrupt the backup partition. You cannot update the firmware on an endpoint with a corrupted backup partition.
Number of Fabric Interconnects
For a cluster configuration with two fabric interconnects, you can take advantage of the failover between the fabric interconnects and perform a direct firmware upgrade of the endpoints without disrupting data traffic. However, you cannot avoid disrupting data traffic for those endpoints which must be upgraded through a host or management firmware package.
For a standalone configuration with a single fabric interconnect, you can minimize the disruption to data traffic when you perform a direct firmware upgrade of the endpoints. However, you must reboot the fabric interconnect to complete the upgrade and, therefore, cannot avoid disrupting traffic.
Do Not Activate All Endpoints Simultaneously in Cisco UCS Manager GUI
If you use Cisco UCS Manager GUI to update the firmware, do not select ALL from the Filter drop-down list in the Activate Firmware dialog box to activate all endpoints simultaneously. Many firmware releases and patches have dependencies that require the endpoints to be activated in a specific order for the firmware update to succeed. This order can change depending upon the contents of the release or patch. Activating all endpoints does not guarantee that the updates occur in the required order and can disrupt communications between the endpoints and the fabric interconnects and Cisco UCS Manager. For information about the dependencies in a specific release or patch, see the release notes provided with that release or patch.
Impact of Activation for Adapters and I/O Modules
During a direct upgrade, you should configure Set Startup Version Only for an adapter. With this setting, the activated firmware moves into the pending-next-boot state, and the server is not immediately rebooted. The activated firmware does not become the running version of firmware on the adapter until the server is rebooted. You cannot configure Set Startup Version Only for an adapter in the host firmware package.
If a server is not associated with a service profile, the activated firmware moves into the pending-next-boot state. Cisco UCS Manager does not reboot the endpoints or activate the firmware until the server is associated with a service profile. If necessary, you can manually reboot an unassociated server to activate the firmware.
When you configure Set Startup Version Only for an I/O module, the I/O module is rebooted when the fabric interconnect in its data path is rebooted. If you do not configure Set Startup Version Only for an I/O module, the I/O module reboots and disrupts traffic. In addition, if Cisco UCS Manager detects a protocol and firmware version mismatch between the fabric interconnect and the I/O module, Cisco UCS Manager automatically updates the I/O module with the firmware version that matches the firmware in the fabric interconnect and then activates the firmware and reboots the I/O module again.
Avoid Replacing RAID-Configured Hard Disks Prior to Upgrade
Under the following circumstances, Cisco UCS Manager may scrub all data on a hard disk as part of the RAID synchronization process during an upgrade of the server firmware:
The hard disks in the server are configured for RAID.
One or more of the RAID-configured hard disks in the server are removed.
The hard disk or disks are replaced with hard disks that are configured with a pre-existing RAID and the local disk configuration policy included in the service profile on the server is not used to configure those hard disks.
The server firmware is upgraded, causing the server to reboot and Cisco UCS Manager to begin the RAID synchronization process.
If the original hard disks contained vital data that needs to preserved, avoid inserting new hard disks that are already configured for RAID.
VLAN 4048 is Reserved in Releases 1.4(1) and Higher
As of Release 1.4(1), VLAN 4048 is a reserved VLAN. If your Cisco UCS instances is configured to use VLAN 4048, you must reconfigure that VLAN to use a different ID before you upgrade.
Impact of Upgrade to Release 1.3(1i) or Higher
An upgrade from an earlier Cisco UCS firmware release to release 1.3(1i) or higher has the following impact on the Protect Configuration property of the local disk configuration policy the first time servers are associated with service profiles after the upgrade:
After you upgrade the Cisco UCS instance, the initial server association proceeds without configuration errors whether or not the local disk configuration policy matches the server hardware. Even if you enable the Protect Configuration property, Cisco UCS does not protect the user data on the server if there are configuration mismatches between the local disk configuration policy on the previous service profile and the policy in the new service profile.
If you enable the Protect Configuration property and the local disk configuration policy encounters mismatches between the previous service profile and the new service profile, all subsequent service profile associations with the server are blocked.
Any servers that are already associated with service profiles do not reboot after the upgrade. Cisco UCS Manager does not report any configuration errors if there is a mismatch between the local disk configuration policy and the server hardware.
When a service profile is disassociated from a server and a new service profile associated, the setting for the Protect Configuration property in the new service profile takes precedence and overwrites the setting in the previous service profile.
Disable Call Home before Upgrading to Avoid Unecessary Alerts (Optional)
When you upgrade a Cisco UCS instance, Cisco UCS Manager restarts the components to complete the upgrade process. This restart causes events that are identical to service disruptions and component failures that trigger Call Home alerts to be sent. If you do not disable Call Home before you begin the upgrade, you can ignore the alerts generated by the upgrade-related component restarts.
Cannot Upgrade Cisco UCS 82598KR-CI 10-Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
The firmware on the Cisco UCS 82598KR-CI 10-Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (N20-AI0002), Intel-based adapter card, is burned into the hardware at manufacture. You cannot upgrade the firmware on this adapter.