Upgrade MD3000i to new 7.x firmware

There seems to be a lot of interest from the Church IT community about the MD3000i and its new firmware.This is by no means an exhaustive guide and I take no blame or resposibility to anything that happens to your array or the data stored on it in the event you goof something up during the upgrade. As with any major firmware upgrade, take ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS to ensure the safety of your data. I’d suggest purchasing an EqualLogic array from Jason Powell/VR6 Systems to back it all up on. Just kidding. Sorta. Anyway – make sure the data is backed up and then verify your backup! The upgrade was seamless for me, but your mileage may vary! Once you’ve read this post, I’d also advise you to read any Dell documentation you can find and then you can come back here to use the “shortcut” guide to complete the upgrade. To upgrade the MD3000i to the newest 07.xx firmware and gain support for RAID6 and >2TB LUNs, follow these steps:

Download the latest MD3000i Resource CD and run the installer. (Note: The download is an ISO, so you’ll need to burn it to CD, mount it with a utility, or use something like 7-zip to extract the contents.) For some reason, Dell doesn’t list the Resource CD listed under downloads for the MD3000i – stupid, I know. This Resource CD updates the Modular Disk Storage Manager software utility, the Firmware Cross Generation Upgrade Utility needed to perform the upgrade to version 07.xx firmware , new host software, and as of this writing – the very latest 07.xx firmware. If you have any doubts about getting the latest firmware, grab it from the MD3000i downloads page on support.dell.com

Next, I’d suggest making sure your physical hard drives have the latest firmware. Go to the MD3000i Hard Disk Drive Firmware Updates page and grab the archive. The README in the zip file contains excellent instructions on how to do this, so there’s no point in my repeating them here.

Finally, before running the upgrade, your array needs to be ready to go in to OFFLINE mode. Stop all I/O operations by stopping iSCSI initiators on any servers connected to the device or to keep things simple, just completely shut down those servers if possible. For kicks, I ran a “ping -t” against each controller’s management IP while running the firmware update. This let me watch the controllers bounce up and down as the updates were being applied and gives you another way to monitor the status of the upgrade.

Once you’re ready, locate the MD Firmware Cross Generation Upgrade Utility in your Start menu and run that. You’ll need to add your MD3000i controllers to the utility when it starts. If you have dual controllers, be sure you plug in BOTH IP addresses. Once the array is added, you’ll be prompted to authenticate if you have a password set on your array configuration. Click the “Download…” button on the left of the utility and browse to the location where your firmware is selected. You’ll need the NVSRAM upgrade also, so choose Simplex version for single-controller and Duplex version for a dual-controller module. I heard the upgrade takes around 30 minutes and it took almost exactly a half-hour for mine to complete.

If you have any other tips or advice for other MD3000i users, leave them in the comments!