SAS Drive Firmware mismatch

Posted on 2011-04-25
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Greetings all

I have 6 Seagate Cheetah's all with model number ST3300655SS. I want to use these in a single RAID 10 array, however 3 of them have a firmware of S527 and 3 of them with firmware S513. So the drives are the exact same model and size, just different firmware.

I have seen RAID array's built before with firmware mismatches but I wanted to know if this is not recommended and for what reason.

Thanks all!
Question by:EagleMed-IT
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    The only person who can tell you for sure is the author of the firmware via the release notes.  in your case, you are running OEM firmware, not the plain seagate firmware, so you have to go to whomever sold you the disks to get the answer.

    But Yes, I have seen situations where certain firmware releases when used with certain other firmware releases can result in controller lockups. Conversely, I have seen situations where they played nice and the revised firmware addresses issues that don't affect  your particular HW.

    So you must consult your hardware vendor to get the answer. No other way to answer with definitive Y or N w/o seeing release notes.
    LVL 55

    Assisted Solution

    I can't see why you aren't upgrading them all to the latest firmware before you start seeing as both are out of date. It's a stepped process in that you may have to apply a few intermediate updates but it still shouldn't take that long.

    Author Closing Comment

    In the end built the raid 10 array with 6 drives 2 sets of differing firmware. At this point there has been no issue.
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    You should still take the time to read release notes on the firmware.   I can't (won't) tell you how many times I see SEV-1 bugs in HDD firmware releases that address data loss when such-and-such happens.   Even releasing a firmware update, any update costs a manufacturer well over $50,000 in engineering & tests costs, plus you can more than double that for your subsystem OEM if they take the time to re-release a vanity version.

    Granted, many times the revised firmware fixes an issue that only manifests itself on configurations you don't use, but you have no way of knowing.  I've seen seagate updates that fix anything from incorrect data getting retrieved from read cache depending on cache parameters; to disks locking up on certain errors; even disks refusing to spin up after a power cycle.   Ask yourself if they are spending $100,000 + to get an update out that isn't probably important.
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    I agree, bad decision not to start off with a clean sheet with the latest firmware everywhere, and bad decision to give us a C grade :(

    Sure a firmware update could knock something out of sync, but that's all the more reason to get it out of the way now before putting the kit into production.

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