What Cisco firmware do I recommend for your MDS Switches?
anthonyv 2000004B9K Visits (7024)
Right now I am working on giving a client a recommended version of firmware for their Cisco MDS Fibre Channel switches. For FICON, the recommendations are easy, but for Open Systems there are so many choices. So what am I going to recommend?
FICON Switches and Directors
For FICON switches, sticking to the FICON (IBM Mainframe Fibre Connection) recommended versions (which are determined by the IBM System z Mainframe team), is a very good strategy. The best place to get these is here (standard IBM logon is required). Just look along the right hand column for the release letters.
The SAN-OS and NX-OS release notes found on the Cisco website also show recommended versions for FICON. For instance have at the look at the FICON recommendations table in the releases notes for version 5.2.2a that you can find here. The upgrade path is just below the table I have linked to. This link will get outdated over time (as newer versions come out), but you can list all the release notes here.
If you are using a IBM TS7700 you should also be aware of this page on the IBM Techdocs site.
So based on current versions, if you are running SAN-OS 3.3.1c or below you need to move to 4.2.7b (as per the non-disruptive upgrade path). I strongly recommend you get to at least version 4.2.7b and start planning to move to release 5.2.2 (provided your hardware supports it).
For open systems attached Fibre Channel switches there are a number of versions to choose from. There are five things to consider:
So what this mean is that for open systems as at April 2012, I recommend you install 3.3.5b for Gen1 hardware, 4.2.7e for Gen2 and Gen3 and 5.2.2a for Gen4 hardware.
For more details on when things are going end of life, check the following websites:
End-of-Sale and End-of-Life for the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN-OS Software Release 3.x
Finally it is well worth bookmarking the following links to help you with any updates (the middle links needs a Cisco CCO login):
Cisco Release Notes
And thanks to Glen Routley and Filiph Westman for proof reading this post.