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Cisco Unified Computing System Upgrade Best Practices with Payal Bhaduri

Lisa Latour
Level 6
Level 6

  Cisco subject matter expert Payal Bhaduri will focus on upgrade of Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System). With lots of companies adopting Cisco UCS, there is need to understand the UCS architecture and the complete firmware upgrade procedure which would help customers/partners to maintain and operate the UCS environment effectively.  

Ask questions from July 6, 2015 through July 17, 2015 

Payal Bhaduri is a Customer Support Engineer for Cisco's Data Center Server Virtualization TAC team based in San Jose, California. She has been working in the TAC for close to five years ,with a primary focus on Data Center Technologies such as Cisco UCS  Blade servers including the B series (UCSB), UCS Rack Mount Servers (UCSC), Cisco Nexus 1000v, and Virtualization.  She holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics and Telecommunication and has CCIE Certification (number 36570) in Collaboration and Data Center. She also holds a certification in Virtualization (VCP 5 VMware Certified Professional).


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17 Replies 17

Wilson Samuel
Level 7
Level 7

Hi Payal,

My question is directly related to Cisco UC on UCS (C-Series Servers).

Just wondering whenever we do an in place upgrade of Cisco Unified Communications Servers (UCM, UCXN, UCCX, CER etc) from 8.0 or 8.5 or 8.6  to 9.x or 10.x what is the best process to upgrade the underlying VM?


Hi Wilson,


For upgrading the Vmware host, you need to check with the application team to see which version is supported.

The Doc Wiki below can help you to understand the supported versions for UC with Vmware.


The link below will help you with the Vmware upgrade process.


To upgrade your UCS C series server, you can reference the following link.







Hi Payal,


can you please explain what do you mean by "adapter"? I always thought that after upgrading UCSM/IOM/FI we "only" need to apply firmware package to the blades and how you are introducing "adapter". I believe that proper screenshot could significantly improve understanding of this issue.




Hi Tenaro,


I think you are referring to Bijoy's question.

Based on the release  we are upgrading from the order of upgrade of blade can be different.

If you are upgrading from a release prior to 2.1(3a) or 2.2(1b), you may be impacted by CSCuh61202. This defect affects FC traffic on the Cisco 1240, Cisco 1280, and Cisco M81KR adapters. To avoid this situation and reduce the number of server reboots, you must first upgrade the adapter and server firmware using a host firmware package, and then proceed with the corresponding infrastructure upgrade. This is an exception to the normal upgrade procedure. For more details, refer to https:/​/​​bugsearch/​bug/​CSCuh61202.

If you are upgrading from 1.4 to 2.2, the upgrade procedure mentions activating the adapter prior to UCS Manager as an option. I am pasting a link to that below.

If you are upgrading from release 2.1 to 2.2 and are not affected CSCuh61202, then the order that you mentioned is correct.

Let me know if you have any questions.



Level 1
Level 1

Hi Payal,

My question is about the procedure to update the FI and the servers

I usually use the auto install upgrade method to upgrade first the FI (and the UCSM)

After I create a Host Firmware with the new firmware and I use it inside the service profile template.

When finally I apply the service profile to the server i update the server too.

I don't like to use the default host firmware.

I'm doing wrong ? right ? can you advise me please

thanks a lot

My Best Regards

Andre Gustavo Lomonaco


I used to not update the default host firmware packages, until the option came out to auto update newly plugged in blades/racks to the firmware on the system. Ucs uses whatever firmware is in default for that. So since we have the auto update host firmware options on we now also update our default package. 

Hi Andre,


Using the  Auto Install procedure to upgrade the infrastructure part(UCS, FI, IOM) and using a Host firmware package with the new firmware and applying this to service profile template to upgrade the associated blades, this procedure is absolutely fine. You don't need to use the default firmware package for that.

I think you are also talking about the "Auto-Sync Server Policy" feature. With this policy, you can upgrade the firmware versions of recently discovered unassociated servers to match the firmware version defined in the default host firmware pack. For that feature to work, you need to make sure that the default Host firmware package is updated to the version you want your servers to be upgraded to.


Let me know if you still have any concerns.




Hi Payal, thanks for your reply.

So just to clarify.

Do you recommend after update the infrastructure always update the default host firmware pack with this new version to use the Auto-Sung Server Policy ?

Thanks a lot for your help

My Best Regards

Andre Lomonaco


Hi Andre,


The "Auto-Sync Server Policy" is mainly for new blades that have been recently discovered.

You can use the Auto Install for upgrading the server. You need to be atleast on UCS version 2.1.1 to use the Auto Install method. You cannot cancel a server firmware upgrade process after you complete the configuration in the Install Server Firmware wizard. Cisco UCS Manager applies the changes immediately. However, when the actual reboot of servers occurs depends upon the maintenance policy in the service profile associated with the server.

Link for Auto Install for servers:

You can also do the upgrade by applying the host firmware package on the service profiles, as you are already doing.  Depending on your requirement, you can choose the method, you want to go with.






Level 1
Level 1

Hi Payal,


We are getting ready to upgrade our UCS servers and CUCM from 8.6 to 10.5. Is there a single document anywhere that outlines the true steps to upgrade the EXSi and the CICM for the UCS servers? We have 3 UCS servers. It would be nice to have a high level overview of the steps involved in the correct order.There seems to be lot's of different places to go for information concerning bits and pieces. 

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.

Hi Mark,


I am not aware of a single document that outlines the upgrade steps for ESXI and UCS firmware.

But before you do the upgrade , make sure that the ESXI version is supported with the UCS firmware.

The UCS software and hardware compatibility matrix will help you understand if the server firmware is compatible with the Vmware version.


The install and upgrade guides will be helpful to upgrade the firmware on the UCS.

Link for servers integrated with UCS upgrade:

Link for standalone Rack server upgrade:


The link below will help you with the Vmware upgrade process.

Let me know if you have questions.









Level 1
Level 1

Hi Payal,

What is the best order we should follow while  activating  the endpoints (upgrading  to UCSM 2.2 (3b)) ?


1.Activate adapters
2.Activate CIMC
3.Activate Cisco UCS Manager
4.Activate I/O modules
5.Activate subordinate fabric interconnect
6.Activate primary fabric interconnect


1.Activating Adapter
2.Activating CIMC 
3.Activating IOM
4.Activating UCS Manager 
5.Activating Subordinate Fabric Interconnect
6. Activating Primary Fabric Interconnect