HPE MSA Firmware Update

by | Jul 14, 2020 | Security

HPE MSA firmware can be tricky to update. Below are a series of notes to help with the process. 

*In any case, make sure backups are good before starting the party* 

Data Collection

  • If you ssh or telnet into the MSA, you can run show configuration and it will dump the firmware and drive models. 
  • This process also gives you serial numbers, IP addresses, volume names and sizes, etc. 
  • You should do this before and after the upgrade. 
  • If you need to call for support on an MSA, they will need the CHASSIS_MIDPLANE Serial Number for reference. 

Controller Bundle

  • You are supposed to be able to flash the MSA bundle online; this updates everything but the drives. The controllers should fail back and forth on their own. 
  • Sometimes HPE will suggest turning off the partner update and have you manually flash one controller at a time.   
  • If you are going to flash them online, I would suggest trying to do it when I/O is lower. 
  • This process can take a while, so plan 2-4 hours to flash these controllers. 
  • The newer models, x04x and up, have been much better at this process.  Older ones sometimes had issues flipping over and controller firmware upgrades has killed controllers at times. 
  • I would recommend opening a ticket with HPE for the SAN and have them bless the system and the planned steps before the upgrade.  This also provides you with a starting point and reference in case you need to call back for any issues. 
  • Be aware that the MSA firmware release numbers are not necessarily logically sequenced, i.e. VL270P003-01 is newer than VL270R001-01, so you need to confirm the current bundle versions.  You can do that here: https://h41111.www4.hpe.com/storage/msafirmware.html 


  • There is separate firmware based on drive model; note that there are a few hundred models.  I have seen MSAs with several models with the same part number in a single shelf due to replacements or expansions over time. Here is a good reference:  https://www.hpe.com/storage/MSADriveFirmware 
  • Per HPE Disk drive upgrades … is an offline process. All host and array I/O must be stopped prior to the upgrade.”  I usually shut down the VMs or anything else active on the SAN.  Sometimes I leave the hosts online to watch the alerts on them, sometimes I just shut them all down.  
  • Drive updates usually go fairly quickly; you should figure 1-2 hours per shelf. 
  • I usually check the drive firmware and if any need to be flashed I plan to do the whole upgrade offline during a dedicated maintenance window. 

 If you would like to contact Peters for assistance during your upgrade email info@peters.com. We are happy to help.