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FAQ: NVMe Flash Cache module firmware update

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Applies to

  • FAS9000
  • FAS8700
  • FAS8300
  • FAS8200
  • FAS2750
  • FAS2720
  • FAS2650
  • FAS2620

Answer

The above-listed FAS platforms use a Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) SSD Flash Cache module.

Unlike previous iterations of Flash Cache where FW was available with system firmware, the NVMe Flash Cache FW is available on the NetApp Support Site Drive Firmware Page as part of the  All FW package or as individual downloads.

These FAQs should help address any questions specific to upgrading NVMe Flash Cache firmware.

How do I update the firmware for NVMe Flash Cache?
Follow the functional instructions that are found as part of the firmware download. These instructions ultimately deploy the firmware files to a directory where they will be detected by ONTAP and updated automatically.

Is NVMe Flash Cache module firmware included in the All Drive Firmware package?  
Yes, it is. If the intent is to only update specific drive firmware for storage drives or NVMe Flash Cache modules, then download the firmware individually.

How long does the NVMe Flash Cache firmware update take? 
It takes less than 1 minute. There is a background process in ONTAP that scans for new Flash Cache firmware every 10 minutes. 

Is firmware update of the NVMe flash cache module disruptive?   
No. The firmware is updated to the NVMe Flash Cache module in the background. Then, a PCI reset is invoked to activate the new firmware. During the PCI reset, any inflight I/O operations will be sent to persistent storage and any queued operations will be restarted after the reset.      

Is there performance impact when the NVMe Flash Cache module firmware is updated?  
Inflight operations will be sent to persistent storage during the reset. This might temporarily impact read performance.

Are there any log messages associated with the NVMe Flash Cache module firmware update?
Unlike storage HDD or SSD firmware, there are no messages indicating that "firmware will now be updated". However, there are three EMS events that are logged in ONTAP 9.1 or later that track completion of the firmware update:

  • nvme.successfully.activate.complete: This Notice severity message occurs when new firmware has been successfully activated on the drive and is running normally.
  • nvme.fw.activate.failed: An Error severity message that occurs when there was an issue while activating the new firmware on the NVMe drive via PCI reset after it has been successfully downloaded. The caching module will continue normal operation with obsolete firmware.
  • nvme.fw.program.failed:  An Error severity message that occurs when there was an issue while downloading the new firmware to the NVMe drive.

If background disk firmware update is disabled, will the update for NVMe firmware still be updated automatically when loaded to my cluster?
Yes.

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