Get your latest firmware here
By Rick Cook
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Although host bus adapter cards (HBAs) come with firmware installed and drivers in the box, IBM recommends checking the manufacturer's Web site to make sure you have the latest version of both. The advice is contained in an IBM Redbook, "Introducing hosts to the SAN fabric."
Both HBA software and firmware are frequently updated to fix problems, add features or make the SAN work more efficiently. In most cases it is worth taking a little extra time to get the latest production versions available on the company web site. However unless they address a specific need it is best to avoid pre-release or beta versions.
When getting software or firmware from the web site, be sure to check for release notes or other documentation that might list known issues with the HBA. With SANs composed of hardware and software from multiple vendors it is still not uncommon to find that some combinations either work poorly or not at all. Typically the HBA manufacturer will list all known problems and incompatibilities and suggest workarounds where possible.
The HBA documentation usually includes the URL for getting the latest information on drivers and firmware. For more information:
- IBM Redbooks, such as "Introducing hosts to the SAN fabric," are available on the IBM Storage Web site.
- Web sites for HBA makers include Emulex, JNI and Qlogic.
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.