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I have a HP ProLiant server and I'm planning to expand the RAID capacity. I never upgrade the firmware of anything.

Can I add the new disks without the firmwares upgrade or it is absolutely necessary (and why in this case)?

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One good reason to update firmware as a matter of course even if you don't appreciate the direct benefits is that when you have a problem the first thing anyone will ask you is if you have updated it. Better to do it at your leisure than an added complication under pressure. – JamesRyan Jun 17 '14 at 11:49
Can you provide the specific model of server hardware you're working with? I can probably tell you what's important to work with and/or update. – ewwhite Jun 17 '14 at 11:57
It's an HP ProLiant ML350 G5 server bought in the 2010 and as far as I know all the firmware are never upgraded. – user221310 Jun 17 '14 at 12:43
@user221310 My best recommendation for that particular server is to run the full firmware DVD I posted below in my answer. That will take care of several major storage controller bugs, the disks, the server BIOS and the ILO. – ewwhite Jun 17 '14 at 12:50

Necessary - no, advisable - yes.

It's because the updates are generally there to fix bugs, one bug that might be fixed might screw you over doing what you want to do - thus by upgrading you're reducing the risk of the work you're doing somewhat.

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And what about the risk to break something during the firmware upgrade due to upgrade itself? – user221310 Jun 17 '14 at 11:51
That risk does exist, just never seen it once and we're one of HP's five biggest customers worldwide - just make sure you follow the instructions and be patient - you'll be fine. – Chopper3 Jun 17 '14 at 11:53
Thanks for the reply! – user221310 Jun 18 '14 at 10:07

For your specific question, you can add disks without firmware updates. If the RAID controller thinks the disk firmware should ABSOLUTELY be upgraded, it will actually ask and give a 1770 - Disk Firmware Upgrade Recommended error at POST.

I recommend running HP firmware updates often... either every 6 months on current hardware or at least yearly on older gear.

One of the unique things about HP ProLiant servers is that firmware not only fixes bugs, but often brings new functionality to the system components. That's not the case with other vendors.

Finally, many compatibility and stability issues are resolved through firmware. It's one of the first troubleshooting steps I advise users here. See: I'm tired of answering questions with: "Upgrade the firmware" or "Run updates"

HP have made the process of firmware updates a bit safer by offering a full bootable DVD image through the HP Service Pack for ProLiant. Download it and boot your system. It takes care of the rest. Failures during updates are extremely rare.

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Thanks for the reply! – user221310 Jun 18 '14 at 10:06

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