Upgrade Drive Firmware on an Isilon Cluster


Occasionally EMC will release new firmware packages for various drives used in Isilon nodes. The process documented here can be used to upgrade the firmware on the drives prior to OneFS version 7.1. The firmware upgrade process prior to OneFS version 7.1 uses the Isilon Drive firmware package.


  • Login to support.emc.com
    • PowerLink account required
  • Search for Isilon Drive Firmware Package
  • Download the latest package (1.9 as of 02/2015)
    • Review the release notes of this package
  • Copy this package onto the Isilon cluster
  • Determine how the firmware upgrade will be applied
    • Serial – This is the recommended method. This requires physical access to each node in the Isilon cluster
    • SSH – This allows the firmware upgrade to performed remotely. Unfortunately in some situations the firmware upgrade process can fail after SSH has been stopped on the node. In those situations the node will remain offline until a reboot is performed via a serial connection. Therefore SSH is not the recommended method.
      • If using SSH then the Infiniband IP address must be used as opposed to the 1Gbe or 10Gbe interface. The Infinband IP(s) for each node can be obtained via the Web GUI by simply clicking on the node number and looking for the IP next to int-a or int-b.



Connect to the Cluster

  • Serial – Connect the cable and using the following settings
    • 115200, 8, 1, None, Xon/Xoff
  • SSH – SSH to a node in the Isilon cluster via it’s 1Gbe or 10Gbe connection. From there type the following command where the IP is the IP address of the int-a or int-b interface that was documented in the prep-steps.


Install the Package (this step does NOT upgrade the firmware)

  • Issue the following command to untar the drive firmware package:

tar -zxvf Drive_Firmware_1.9.tgz

  • Issue the following command to install the firmware package:

isi pkg install Drive_Firmware_1.9.tar

  • Issue the following command and verify the new firmware package is listed:

isi pkg info

Upgrade the Firmware

  • Issue the following command to determine if any drives require a firmware upgrade, if none are listed then the firmware upgrade does not need to be performed. 


  • Issue the following command the determine if there are any Western Digital drives that require firmware upgrades. It may also be beneficial to document the current firmware revisions of the drives.

isi_radish -q

  • Issue the appropriate firmware upgrade command
    • For a node with NO Western Digital drives:

isi_disk_firmware_reboot -p

  • For a node WITH Western Digital drives:

isi_disk_firmware_reboot -sv

  • The node will apply the firmware and reboot
    • If the node returns to a prompt screen before rebooting then simply re-issue the command again. There is a bug where Isilon will fail to stop all services and therefore requires the firmware upgrade command to be issued twice before the node actually reboots.
  • Allow the node to finish rebooting.
  • To verify the new version of the firmware is installed, issue this command:

isi_radish -q

  • To see the health of all of the drives in the node issue this command:

isi devices

  • Repeat these steps on each node that requires disk firmware upgrades. Start from the isi_disk_firmware_reboot step.


  • Drive firmware updates on a node tend to take between 4-8 minutes including the reboot time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.