On this fine Friday afternoon, I thought I’d have a little fun comparing and contrasting the firmware upgrade process on two different storage solutions. We recently bought some Nutanix 8035 nodes to replace the existing storage platform. While I wouldn’t necessarily call Nutanix “just” a storage platform, the topic of this discussion will be the storage side of the house. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call our existing storage platform the “CME XNV 0035”.
One of the biggest factors in choosing the Nutanix platform for our new compute and storage solution was “ease of use”. And there’s a reason for that – the amount of administrative effort required to care and feed the “CME XNV 0035” was far too high, in my opinion. Even a “simple” firmware upgrade took days or weeks of pre-planning/scheduling and 8 hours to complete in our maintenance window. Now that I’ve been through the firmware upgrade on our Nutanix platform, I thought a compare and contrast was in order.
First, let me take you through the firmware upgrade on the “CME XNV 0035”
- Reach out to CME Support, open a ticket, and request a firmware update. They might have reached out to you proactively if there was a major bug/stability issue found. (Their product support structure is methodical and thorough, I will give them that) 30 minutes
- An upgrade engineer was scheduled to do the “pre upgrade health check” at a later date.
- The “pre upgrade health check” occurs, logs and support data are gathered for later analysis. Eventually it occurred frequently enough I’d just go ahead and gather and upload this data on my own and attach it to the ticket. 1 hour
- A few hours to a few days later, we’d get the green light from the support analysis that we were “go for upgrade”. In the mean time, the actual upgrade was scheduled with an upgrade engineer for a later date during our maintenance window…typically a week or so after the “pre upgrade health check” happened.
- Day of the upgrade – hop on a Webex with the upgrade engineer, and begin the upgrade process. Logs were gathered again and reviewed. This was a “unified” XNV 0035, though we weren’t using the file side…..I’m…..not sure why file was even bought at all, but I digress….which meant we still had to upgrade the data movers and THEN move onto the block side. One storage processor was upgraded and rebooted…took about an hour, and then the other storage processor was upgraded and rebooted…took another hour. Support logs were gathered again, reviewed by the upgrade engineer, and as long as there were no outstanding issues, the “green light” was given. 6-8 hours
Whew……7.5 – 9 hours of my life down the drain…
Now, let’s review the firmware upgrade process on the Nutanix cluster
- Log into Prism, click “Upgrade Software” 10 seconds
- Click “Download” if it hasn’t done it automatically 1 minute (longer if you’re still on dial up)
- Click “Upgrade”, then click the “Yes, I really really do want to upgrade” button (I paraphrase) 5 seconds
- Play “2048”, drink a beer or coffee, etc. 30 minutes
- Run a “Nutanix Cluster Check (NCC)”
There you have it, 31 minutes and 15 seconds later, you’re running on the latest firmware. Nutanix touts “One click upgrades”, but I counted four, technically. I can live with that.
Yes, this post is rather tongue in cheek, but it is reflective of the actual upgrade process for each solution. Aside from the initial “four clicks”, Nutanix handles everything else for you and the firmware upgrade occurs completely non-disruptively.