IBM SAN switch upgrade method

Upgrading firmware for IBM SAN switches

In storage area network (SAN) environments, we need SAN switches with different hardware and firmware levels. Most of the time, we face requirements for upgrading or downgrading SAN switch firmware. This tutorial explains both the graphical and command-line interface (CLI) methods to perform this task.


Ganesh Kudale (, IT Specialist, IBM

GaneshGanesh Kudale is working as an IT Specialist with IBM and has around five years of experience. He has experience in Linux administration, IBM storage boxes and storage/OS virtualization technologies along with entire automation techniques. He is working as an Automation Engineer for ISL SVC Tester Team and working on Loadstone libraries. Ganesh is a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and an AIX Certified Engineer. He has also conducted international workshops on network virtualizations and Linux security.

Nitin Thorve (, Senior Associate IT Specialist - UNIX, IBM

Photo of NitinNitin Thorve is a Senior Associate IT Specialist, with more than three years of experience in IBM India. He has experience in IBM, NetApp Storage administration, IBM AIX including IBM Power hardware and IBM cluster technologies, such as IBM General Parallel File System (IBM GPFS™) and IBM HACMP. Till date, he has published three international papers and journals. Nitin is an SNIA certified Storage professional and holds other certifications from Brocade and IBM in related technologies.

15 July 2013


There are two ways by which you can upgrade SAN switches. First is the graphical method and other is the CLI method. To implement it by the graphical method, you need the SAN switch management tool. And, to implement it through CLI, you need to use the command prompt. This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on both these methods.

Method 1 – Graphical

  1. Log in to SAN switch GUI using root credentials. You will get the graphical interaction with the switch. In the Manage panel, click Switch Admin.
Figure 1.
  1. The Switch Admin option helps in providing details about package download, such as the path, IP address, mode of package transfer, and system credentials from where you can download the firmware package. It also validates your inputs.

Now, first check the current firmware version from the current version frame as shown in the following figure.

Figure 2.

Note : Make sure that you have the earlier firmware version to take fall back if the upgrade operation fails. Go ahead and provide the required details to download the firmware package from the remote system. Here, we are upgrading the SAN switch firmware version from 6.2.2f to 6.3.2e.

After providing all the details, firmware package download begins and installs it to the switch.

Figure 3.
  1. You can verify the upgraded package version (same as mentioned in step 2), after the commit operation has been successfully completed. While the switch upgrade occurs, you might get warning messages, such as loose network or disruption in other devices. You can ignore those warning messages unless you are upgrading to a proper version for proper SAN switch.
  1. After successfully completion of the commit operation, you can verify whether the upgraded package version is the same as that mentioned in step 2.

Method 2 – CLI

  1. Log in to the SAN switch from a remote system that is in the SAN network.
  1. Use the help command to get all the SAN switch commands.
  1. Use the version command to check the current firmware version. A sample output of the command is shown in the following figure.
Figure 4.
  1. Use the firmwaredownload command and provide all the details, as required in Method 1. This command prompts for remote system details and its credentials, path of the firmware package, and the mode of package transfer. Here, we are upgrading the SAN switch firmware version from 6.3.2e to 6.4.3c.
Figure 5.
  1. After successful download of the package it automatically upgrades the SAN firmware to the new release. After the commit operation of the firmware changes, the switch reboots and this causes network disruption for a while which is negligible. Now again, check the firmware version using the version command.
Figure 6.

Now, you have upgraded the firmware successfully.



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