Flash Firmware

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This feature, introduced in build 1.22, allows you to flash firmware on selected SCSI, SAS, and Fibre channel family peripherals. It is not limited to disk drives.



smartmon-ux -flash [-confirm] FirmwareImageFile Device_list


If you provide the name of more than one device in the list, the program will continue to flash all devices in the list, after the first disk is flashed. If there is a problem with flashing any disk, the program immediately terminates with an appropriate error message. (If it is a result of a disk error, sense information will be provided to lend insight into the problem).


Example (Flashing a 73 GB Seagate U320 Cheetah disk with Firmware revision "0005"

[root@rh90 smartmon]# ./smartmon-ux -flash /tmp/0005.LOD /dev/sdc

SMARTMon-ux [Release 1.22, Build 22-AUG-2003] - Copyright 2003 SANtools, Inc. http://www.SANtools.com

Discovered SEAGATE ST373307LC S/N "3HZ0381E" on /dev/sd2 (Not Enabling SMART)(70007 MB)



* Warning:  You have instructed the operating system to flash firmware. No checks will *

*           be made to verify that the device you plan to flash isn't mounted or in    *

*           use in any way.                                                            *

*                                                                                      *

*           Once the firmware image has been uploaded, then it may take a few minutes  *

*           for the target device to save the new firmware and reboot. If you are      *

*           flashing a disk drive then it will spin down then up. Some devices are     *

*           vulnerable during this phase, and if you lose power during the reboot,     *

*           then they may be left without a valid firmware image, and will effectively *

*           become brain-dead. SANtools, Seagate, and other vendors formally specify   *

*           that you back up data before flashing firmware, and insure you have a UPS  *

*           to prevent power loss.                                                     *

*                                                                                      *

*           If you provided a list of targets to flash, then they will be processed    *

*           in order, once each target device reboots after a successful update.       *

*                                                                                      *

*           As disks will appear dead to the O/S during the reboot, then you may see   *

*           some error messages, and have to force a device discovery.                 *

*                                                                                      *

*           (LINUX typically requires you to rmmod and insmod the device driver, so    *

*           if you are booted to the same controller you are flashing disks on, then   *

*           you'll probably have to reboot the computer once all disks have spun up.)  *

*                                                                                      *

*           You should also record all mode page settings before and after the flash   *

*           and make appropriate changes before placing the disk back in service.      *

*                                                                                      *

*           If you are attempting to flash an unsupported disk, or one pre-loaded with *

*           OEM firmware that relabels the disk's vendor/product IDs so it reports     *

*           it is made by another company, such as  Dell, EMC, NetApp,  or SUN, then   *

*           there is no guarantee that the image will be loaded.  If  the new firmware *

*           is rejected by the disk, then SMARTMon-UX will return with an appropriate  *

*           error message.                                                             *



Are you sure you want to do this, and is your data backed up? Answer "YES"


Do you wish to attempt to flash firmware temporarily, so the drive will revert to the original

firmware release once the disk is power-cycled?  This should be done if there is any

doubt of compatibility. (Not all disks and firmware release accept this technique).


Flashing  ................................. Sending final chunk - Completed

Please allow sufficient time for drive to reset.


Terminating program.


(Note:  LINUX users will also see the text below:)

"LINUX typically requires you to rmmod and insmod the device driver, so

if you are booted to the same controller you are flashing disks on, then

you'll probably have to reboot the computer once all disks have spun up.)"



Frequently Asked Questions

How does SMARTMon-UX identify firmware?

The program determines if you have a supported device by examining the vendor and product ID fields.  If the vendor ID is "SEAGATE", we obviously have a Seagate disk, so no further checking is required. As some vendors change the vendor-ID to their own company name, but use stock firmware and stock models of disks, the program also assumes that any disk drive where the model starts with "ST" is also a Seagate drive, and the software will allow you to flash the disk. If the model number does not begin with "ST", chances are high that you have custom firmware which probably will not be compatible with this software.


If the disk drive manufacturer begins with "FUJ" (Fuji), and the model is a MAN or MAP family device, or the Vendor name is HITACHI, the program will be allowed to flash the firmware.


Can I convert a Seagate disk into an EMC or NetApp disk?

Don't waste your time.  It won't work.  You may *think* you have the right firmware image, but you don't.  Vendors will not release firmware that turns a off-the-shelf disk into a branded EMC, NetApp, or other disk.  The firmware images that these vendors supply are designed to check for the appropriate Vendor/Product IDs before the process begins.  If the disk doesn't already report itself as a EMC disk, for example, then the update will fail.


How do I Obtain Firmware?

Contact your hardware vendor. Firmware (particularly Seagate firmware) is not in the public domain and is not normally posted online. We are not allowed, due to contractual limitations, to send firmware to anybody.


What are the Risks?

Worst case, you turn your disk drive into a paper weight. This can happen if power is interrupted between the time the firmware is downloaded into the disk, and while the disk is running the upgrade, which typically takes 1 - 5 minutes. Some firmware images are so large, that the disk cannot keep both copies resident. If the upgrade aborts, your disk has no firmware left to run. This is why you should always make sure your data is backed up. As many Seagate disk drives only have enough room for one firmware image, a failure means your disk will lose the firmware it currently has.


If you flash the wrong firmware image (and there can be dozens of images that will work for your disk), unpredictable things will happen. Your operating system may not communicate with the disk, the number of usable blocks could change, application software or your O/S could break because it is expecting certain identity strings that were changed, etc ...


If the drive's saved mode pages are different from the factory pages, this could cause problems for application software, RAID controllers, and so on. Always save mode page information before changing firmware, and make sure the mode page settings after the flash are appropriate.  Sometimes Seagate makes changes to default and factory mode pages between firmware revisions.


You can decrease the risk by flashing the image in a temporary mode (see example). This places the new firmware in a volatile buffer, and after the disk does a warm reboot, it will be running the new firmware.  Not all disks support this feature, but you will not harm disks in any way by attempting to see if the temporary flash is accepted. The temporary flashed disk will revert to the original firmware release after a power cycle.


With all of the Risk, Why Bother Upgrading Firmware in the First Place?

Skilled system administrators, disk subsystem manufacturers, resellers, OEMs, and VARs use this software, and are typically privy to disk firmware images and release notes that cover specifics of a new firmware image. They typically understand the risk/reward scenario, can assess whether or not a firmware upgrade (or downgrade) is appropriate and correct and know about mode pages. If you do not possess such knowledge and experience, then do not flash new firmware. Have somebody that knows what they are doing to assist you.


I only have one disk, and I want to flash new firmware on it.

SMARTMon-UX does not care what disk you flash, other than checking to see if it is supported.  If you want to flash your boot disk, and have it spin down for a few minutes and not service I/O commands, the software will not stand in your way. Your operating system will crash, of course, but it will probably work. Our recommendation is that you do not attempt this.


Will SANtools help me figure out what firmware I need, or where to get it?

No. We have no idea what firmware image you need. If you have to ask this question, we feel that you should not be changing firmware in the first place.


How do I know when the flash is complete?

Disks generally spin down, then a spin up to indicate the process has been completed. However, since drive manufacturers create custom firmware images for certain OEMs, the spin down/pinup cycle will not necessarily be seen everywhere. The best thing to do is consult the release notes, or just give it plenty of time (like 10 minutes for a 200+ GB model).  Just because SMARTMon-UX returned to the O/S prompt, does not mean that the disk has completed the upgrade.