A VNX Unified upgrade is fairly easy: Unisphere Service Manager (USM) does most of the heavy lifting. A Block only system is the simplest of all: you upload a .ndu software package to the system and wait for the update to complete.
A Unified system is a combined package of a VNX Block system, and a File component consisting of one or two Control Stations and at least 2 datamover blades. In a VNX Unified upgrade, you first need to upgrade the File part of the system and afterwards the Block part. For the File upgrade, you need to select an .upg package. But… you can’t download this from the EMC/VCE website. Now what?
SolVe procedure generator
One step back: always follow the appropriate upgrade procedure for your system, and do not rely on “previous upgrade experiences”. The reason why is that Dell EMC constantly revises the upgrade procedure. People might run into bugs, and you might have to do something special to your system before you can start the upgrade. It could be an intermediate upgrade, or a preemptive reboot, or maybe even something Dell EMC Support needs to check/fix beforehand. So always generate a new procedure using the SolVe procedure generator, and stick to it. And don’t blame me if something goes wrong… 😉
About the order of upgrades: you always upgrade the file component of a VNX Unified first, followed by the block component. This is done because if you upgrade the block component first, your file component might have trouble accessing it due to compatibility issues. Always upgrade downstream components first, so backwards compatibility can ensure you’re still operational during the upgrade process. The other way around could result in some challenges… Also, make sure you do a double check of the interoperability between the file and block versions, especially if you are performing a major upgrade on a system that hasn’t seen maintenance in quite a while. It might be that you have to upgrade in more than one step…
The .upg file is actually a folder
With that out of the way: what if the procedure tells you this:
You’ve downloaded the packages, but Unisphere Service Manager asks you for a .upg file. Please don’t even attempt renaming the files, because that’s not going to work. What you need to do is create a folder in the following format: x.x.x.x.upg. Place the two (or four if you have the checksums) files in the folder, like this:
In this case I’ve created a folder 126.96.36.199.upg and placed the corresponding versions of the version_linux_image_cd1.iso and pkg_version.tar in the folder. If you don’t have the checksums, USM will download these from the support website. You might be able to download a nas_image_cd2.iso, dvd_image.iso and El_DVD_version.iso, but don’t place these in the folder. To date, I haven’t needed those files…
Next, point USM to the folder and click Open. It will scan the folder contents and should display you something like this:Verify the From and To versions. The rest of the upgrade procedure should be self explanatory. If you select to reboot the blades after the upgrade, don’t forget to do so or they will continue to run on the old software version. Also, don’t wait too long in upgrading the block component during the VNX Unified upgrade. In total, this upgrade took roughly 4-5 hours start-to-finish, for file, block and disk firmware. Good luck!