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Surviving microcode upgrades

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Many vendors claim that their microcode updating process is "non-disruptive," but, all too often, these upgrades are far from seamless.

ALL VENDORS TOUT "NON-DISRUPTIVE upgrades," adding new code to hardware or software without interrupting the applications running on the platform or the applications' access to data. But when your vendor says the upgrade to your storage system's microcode is non-disruptive, beware. All too often, installing upgrades is an arduous process. That's why storage managers routinely perform microcode upgrades on weekends or late at night--so they have time to deal with glitches that could cripple production systems.

"As long as I don't expect to apply upgrades in a non-disruptive fashion, I have yet to be disappointed," says Karl Lewis, storage administrator at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering in Ann Arbor, which is an EMC Corp. Clariion CX700 user. "Our standing plan is to no longer use the non-disruptive upgrade path, and to simply schedule a few hours of downtime for it."

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This was first published in March 2006

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