Filed Under (Geekspeak) by Justin on 2009-01-12

There seems to be a lot of interest from the Church IT community about the MD3000i and its new firmware.This is by no means an exhaustive guide and I take no blame or resposibility to anything that happens to your array or the data stored on it in the event you goof something up during the upgrade. As with any major firmware upgrade, take ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS to ensure the safety of your data. I’d suggest purchasing an EqualLogic array from Jason Powell/VR6 Systems to back it all up on. Just kidding. Sorta. Anyway – make sure the data is backed up and then verify your backup! The upgrade was seamless for me, but your mileage may vary! Once you’ve read this post, I’d also advise you to read any Dell documentation you can find and then you can come back here to use the “shortcut” guide to complete the upgrade. To upgrade the MD3000i to the newest 07.xx firmware and gain support for RAID6 and >2TB LUNs, follow these steps:

Download the latest MD3000i Resource CD and run the installer. (Note: The download is an ISO, so you’ll need to burn it to CD, mount it with a utility, or use something like 7-zip to extract the contents.) For some reason, Dell doesn’t list the Resource CD listed under downloads for the MD3000i – stupid, I know. This Resource CD updates the Modular Disk Storage Manager software utility, the Firmware Cross Generation Upgrade Utility needed to perform the upgrade to version 07.xx firmware , new host software, and as of this writing – the very latest 07.xx firmware. If you have any doubts about getting the latest firmware, grab it from the MD3000i downloads page on support.dell.com

Next, I’d suggest making sure your physical hard drives have the latest firmware. Go to the MD3000i Hard Disk Drive Firmware Updates page and grab the archive. The README in the zip file contains excellent instructions on how to do this, so there’s no point in my repeating them here.

Finally, before running the upgrade, your array needs to be ready to go in to OFFLINE mode. Stop all I/O operations by stopping iSCSI initiators on any servers connected to the device or to keep things simple, just completely shut down those servers if possible. For kicks, I ran a “ping -t” against each controller’s management IP while running the firmware update. This let me watch the controllers bounce up and down as the updates were being applied and gives you another way to monitor the status of the upgrade.

Once you’re ready, locate the MD Firmware Cross Generation Upgrade Utility in your Start menu and run that. You’ll need to add your MD3000i controllers to the utility when it starts. If you have dual controllers, be sure you plug in BOTH IP addresses. Once the array is added, you’ll be prompted to authenticate if you have a password set on your array configuration. Click the “Download…” button on the left of the utility and browse to the location where your firmware is selected. You’ll need the NVSRAM upgrade also, so choose Simplex version for single-controller and Duplex version for a dual-controller module. I heard the upgrade takes around 30 minutes and it took almost exactly a half-hour for mine to complete.

If you have any other tips or advice for other MD3000i users, leave them in the comments!

(11) Comments   


Peter Nikolov on 15 January, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

Hello, I’ve just run into troubles trying to update our MD3000i with the latest, 2nd generation firmware… Once the new firmware is uploaded to the controller, it takes 10-15 seconds until an error occurs. Error message says that “activation failed”…
Any suggestions will be extremely appreciated…

Jeremy Good on 20 February, 2009 at 12:10 am #

Thanks for the highlights! Just updated my SAN and it worked as advertised. The longest part was backing up the data! Thanks for blazing the way!

Mark Toomey on 9 April, 2009 at 11:38 am #

Good article – thanks – but the tinyurl pointing to the Resource CD is broken and searching on the Dell site for a Resource CD > July 2009 Rev. A00 is not yielding very good results. 🙁

gk on 13 April, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

Hey, there is a bug in any non-english version of the cross firmware update utility. The new firmware might fail to activate and your targets may become inaccessible. There is a small “NOTICE” on the Dell’s website for that case:
[blockquote]NOTICE: In non-English versions of the MD Firmware Cross Generation Upgrade Utility, it has been observed that the firmware may fail to activate after the download. While pending activation, the RAID Controller Modules will continue to operate at the previous firmware version. To activate the firmware, the following smCLI command must be used: SMcli [IP of Controller A] [IP of Controller B] -c “activate storageArray firmware;” where [IP of Controller A] and [IP of Controller B] are replaced with the actual IP addresses of the RAID Controller Modules.[/blockquote]

Have fun upgrade some firmware 😉

Justin on 18 April, 2009 at 9:06 am #


Yes – Dell has apparently pulled the old AND the new Resource CD. I haven’t been able to locate it recently myself. Let me see if I can get a friend of mine at Dell to help us locate it and I’ll update the links in my post.

Justin on 18 April, 2009 at 9:08 am #


Yikes! I hope your SAN has recovered by now. As I understand it, the dual-controllers are somewhat “self-healing” so that if a firmware upgrade goes bad, they can assist each other in recovering. If your problem still exists, call support immediately!

ktio on 7 July, 2009 at 8:31 am #


Thanks for your info. Very useful for me.

David Szpunar on 23 October, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

Looks like there’s a new Dell Resource CD out, Build 66, version A09, released 10/09/2009. It’s here, at least for now.

Joshua Gregory on 24 March, 2010 at 12:15 am #


Got to this page by Googling “MD3000i firmware version”. Your guide was very helpful in the upgrade we ran tonight. Thanks for taking the time to write it all down here.

See you at church sometime,

Eric Chen on 10 November, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

I used this command to clear this particular error(also you make sure bring all LUN to the preferable path):
C:\Program Files\IBM_DS\client>SMcli.exe 10.20.xx.xx -c -p passw0rd “reset storagesubsystem diagnosticData;”
After all errors are gone,
Then I used DELL MD firmware Cross Generation Upgrade utility version:03.35.G6.17 (time stamp:Oct 13,2008) to upgrade the controller and disks firmware.
Hope it helps.

Leighton on 17 September, 2011 at 4:04 am #

Thanks for the info. Upgraded to version 7.xx today without any problems and again the longest part was the backup. I’m planning on upgrading to vSphere, note that MD3000i does not support ESXi 4.x but ESX 4.x.

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