The purpose of this guide is to provide clarity on the process of updating the Storage Center Operating System (SCOS) on Dell Compellent Storage Center SANs.
This guide focuses on updating the Dell SCOS by using the Dell Storage Center Update Utility (SCUU). None of the work should be performed without an active Dell service contract. Performing this work without Dell support/contract may put your SAN at risk if you are unable to recover or restore functionality.
If this is a production device, make sure to schedule a 2-8 hour maintenance window. Allocate more time than needed incase you require troubleshooting and support from Dell.
My instructions have been based on my experience of performing three large updates to bring an outdated SAN up to the most recent SCOS version. I am not responsible/liable for any work that viewers of this article perform or follow. Everything is done at your own risk. If you choose to follow this guide, you are taking your own risk and I do not provide any support on this matter.
With that out of the way, today we will be working with a Dell Compellent Storage Center SCV2020 which contains two controllers and 24 disks. My unit has an active support contract with Dell and I’ve performed a few of these upgrades in the past with the guidance of a Dell Storage Engineer.
Usually performing updates on Dell Compellent SANs can be done via the Actions Menu within the Dell Storage Manager (DSM) client and the Check for Updates option. Seen Below.
From my experience, a Dell SAN that is far out of date will not offer you these updates. Usually Dell Support needs to ‘allow’ them to be pushed out to your SAN via SupportAssist but I believe that really outdated units need to be manually updated with the Dell SCUU tool in order to bring them up to a specific version. This may be due to the size of updates or the risk of going from unsupported and outdated version to the latest. I’m not sure and I don’t have an answer so take this with a grain of salt.
SANs like many other infrastructure devices do require system updates for device compatibility, bug fixes and security patches. Often these updates will include potential firmware updates for the SAN controllers and drives and are critical for smooth functionality and computability within a SAN.
With the Dell Storage Centers, if they haven’t been updated for a while, they cannot be managed by more recent versions of Dell Storage Managers (DSM). You will receive a message indicating that the OS of the SAN is outdated. As of this writing (April 2023), the latest DSM is at 2020 R1.10 Release, dated Aug 19, 2022.
Here is an example of that. I have Dell Storage Manager (DSM) 2018 R1.20 installed but the SCOS version is 188.8.131.52. The application is newer than the SCOS version and it does not allow me to manage the SAN. This is due to the DSM application being far too new and not compatible with the 184.108.40.206 SCOS version.
The solution? Try to find a 2016 version of DSM, such this 2016 R3.20 Release.
Within my environment, I use DSM to manage the a few Compellent SANs within one DSM interface. Having all of the SANs on the same SCOS compatibility version as the DSM allows for this to happen.
The SCV2020 that I’m working on initially was at SCOS version 220.127.116.11.6. The most current SCOS version is 18.104.22.168.1. To upgrade the SAN, I’ve had to fumble my way through different Dell DSM versions and SCOS updates.
For example, while going through a few updates, I ran into this message.
Basically I was trying to apply SCOS update 22.214.171.124.2 by using DSM 2018 R1.20. DSM allows upgrades to certain levels of SCOS. Newer versions of SCOS that supersede the DSM version is not allowed. You need to always be ahead with DSM but not too far ahead. This is the problem with not being on top of updates with Dell Compellent SANs.
Now you may ask, If I have a Dell Support Contract, why won’t I just reach out to them? Great question! This unit is overseas and requires me to contact Dell International Support. The international support line has had me redirected to Desktop support a few times despite me selecting enterprise storage, so I decided to tackle this unit on my own.
If something would have come up that requires immediate support, I would have gone through the phone channels and escalation to get support.
With all of that out of the way, lets perform the final update for my Dell SCV2020 from SCOS version 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52.1 by using DSM 2018 R1.20.
Although I’ve mentioned it earlier about the incorrect DSM version, I will try to update to the latest Dell SCOS version with the DSM 2018 R1.20. This will not work but I wanted to show you everything I’ve encountered with these manual updates.
First, you need to obtain the following files:
- Dell Storage Center Operating System (SCOS) version you want to upgrade to
- Usually you need to get this from Dells FTP, which is provided with a username and password from Dell support
- Dell Storage Center Update Utility (SCUU), found here.
- SCUU guide if you need it, here.
- Dell Storage Manager (DSM) client
In my case after installing DSM (2018), SCUU and I have my SCOS images, we are going to launch the SCUU tool.
A few things to keep in mind. The workstation that you are working on will be the endpoint IP. This is the IP and the port (9005) that the Compellent will use to connect to your device to perform updates. This is required as we will be turning off SupportAssist to allow the updates to be handled locally and not from Dell.
Click on the Distro Directory button and select the extracted Dell SCOS update you are running. In my case, I’ve extracted the R07.05.10.012.01 zip and pointed the directory to the folder. You can review other options in the Tools menu but the defaults have worked fine for me.
Click on the green Start button. This will begin to validate and prepare the SCOS update to be provided to the SAN. We have yet to configure the Compellent to search for the available update.
At this time, nothing should update at all from my experience. We are only preparing the update on a plate for the SAN to eat it once we bring it out to its table.
Now, launch your DSM version. For me, I am launching the DSM 2018 R1.20 version.
With DSM logged into the SAN, click on the Edit Settings menu and select SupportAssist on the bottom left side.
Click on the Turn off Support Assist option. This will enable the DSM application to point to a different Update Utility Host.
Put a checkmark into the Enabled box for the Configure Update Utility option.
The Update Utility Host or IP address should be the IP that the Dell SCUU tool with the SCOS is waiting on. Make sure the port is 9005 (default).
Once done, click Apply and OK.
Now we will have the DSM application search for the available update. Click on the Actions option then select System and then Check for Update.
Once DSM detects the available update presented by SCUU, you will see something along these lines.
Confirm that the current and new Storage Center versions are what you expect.
You can select the option to download now and install or download now and install later. I will use the first option.
For installation type, as my SAN is not technically in production, I will apply all updates which is service affecting. Yours may differ and you may only need non-service impacting updates. Review the columns of the Update Package Components section. You can see which updates are required and which ones are service affecting. Make your decision based on your business requirements.
As I have redundant controllers in my SAN, this allows me to reboot when necessary without impacting the SAN connectivity, if required.
To recap. I’m installing updates right away and applying all updates.
I pressed OK to initiate the update and voila, this message comes up.
I need to update my DSM from 2018 R1.20 to 2020 R1.10 to be able to install this latest SCOS update.
Latest DSM is installed
Now onto the final update. The process is the same. The settings should already be prefilled but its best to validate by going back into SupportAssist and making sure SupportAssist = off and Configure Update Utility = Enabled with the SCUU host IP and port entered.
I’m going back in to check for the available update. Everything remains the same as before.
I am going to OK and the update will start. You may be prompted to enter in your Compellent user credentials.
The Update Available screen seen above will change to Update in Progress and DSM will refresh the window every 30 seconds with the status.
Although the update said it would take 1+ hour to complete, for me it was done in about 30 minutes.
We can confirm that the DSM client sees the latest version installed.
We need to go back in and enable SupportAssist, which is recommended if you have an active Support Contract.
Take a look at the Alerts and Logs tabs and make sure you don’t see anything looks to be critical or service impacting. The Summary tab will also have a brief overview of the SAN health status.
Usually I will reach out to the Dell Support Team and have them review the latest SupportAssist logs and SAN status to make sure everything is functional and there are no alerts or errors that stand out to them.
Go back to the SCUU tool and stop it from sharing the SCOS image. You can now close the application completely. The process isn’t fairly complicated but the challenge is getting the Dell SCOS versions from the Dell FTP. Once you have those, you should be able to make your way through updating the SAN.
Now, all of this has been performed on the Dell Compellent Storage Center units. I am not sure if the PowerVault line will use the same SCOS software. I’d imagine so but that is not a definte answer.
I should have a Dell MD3200 in a few months to play around with that is outdated so I will perform a few tests and create a new post.
That pretty much concludes the process of updating the Dell Compellent SCOS by using the SCUU tool.
Thanks for reading.