While the procedure for upgrading your 6100 series FIs to 6200s can be daunting, it is quite straightforward when well planned. At High Availability, Inc. we start this planning process by gaining an in-depth understanding of your FI configurations and redundancy, host OS redundancy, and storage connectivity, and develop an accurate port map of the FIs. Although an outage window is not required, we highly recommended one. Please consult High Availability, Inc. to perform this upgrade and minimize downtime.  

To get a better understanding of the process, let’s go through the steps taken to upgrade the 6100 series to 6200 series, as well as upgrading 6248s to 6296s. This article is intended to provide an overview of what High Availability, Inc. will do when upgrading your FIs, and is not intended to guide implementation without our assistance.

Here is the high-level procedure that H.A. will follow when performing this upgrade:

    1.    Analyze your UCS infrastructure to determine if there are any single points of failure, and take steps to remediate them
        a.    Some of the areas we analyze during this stage:
            i.    Storage connectivity
            ii.    Network connectivity
            iii.    Host OS configuration
    2.    Take backups of the existing UCS configuration
    3.    Upgrade your UCS firmware to the latest stable release. (OUTAGE WINDOW PREFERRED)
        a.    Consult the UCS HCL to ensure you are moving to a release that supports your hardware, OS, etc.
    4.    Build a port map of your current FIs for future configuration of the new FIs
    5.    Rack the replacement FIs close to your existing FIs
        a.    Run new cables runs as required if mounting the new FIs close to the existing isn’t possible
    6.    Upgrade the replacement FIs to the same code as the existing FIs
        a.    This is done before the new FIs are introduced into the existing UCS domain
        b.    The new FIs should be powered off before being physically connected to the existing FIs in any way
    7.    Subsequent steps should be performed during an outage window as well:
        a.    Disable server ports on the existing subordinate FI
        b.    Disconnect the existing subordinate FI from power
        c.    Move existing subordinate FI connections to the replacement subordinate FI on the same ports
            i.    IOM connections
            ii.    Mgmt
            iii.    L1 and L2
            iv.    Console
            v.    Ethernet uplinks
            vi.    FC connections
        d.    Power on the new subordinate FI 
        e.    Allow time for the replacement subordinate FI to sync its config with the existing primary FI
        f.     Enable all the server ports that you’ve moved to the replacement subordinate FI
        i.    These should be the same server ports that were used on the older FIs if possible
        g.    Change the cluster lead to be the newly added subordinate FI
        h.    Perform all the steps from 7a to 12 on the new primary FI
        i.    Make the newly added primary FI the cluster lead
            i.    Typically, this will be FI-A

We have performed countless UCS upgrades with great success, and look forward to the opportunity of completing yours as well.

James Prendergast
CCIE #51060