How to document your SAN environment in preparation for a stress-free firmware upgrade?

Storage administrators have to understand well the SAN Storage environment to minimize the downtime / impact on the firmware upgrade.  Identify the number of SAN and Host which are required to patch to supported version. You know the drill: The server team upgrades to a new operating system version and, in doing so, introduces connectivity problems into your storage environment. You discover the only way to fix the problem is to upgrade the firmware. You dig a little deeper only to realize the upgrade has dependencies that will affect your entire environment, launching you into a firmware- and driver-upgrade frenzy filled with lots of planning, lost weekends and late nights.

Many storage administrators don't manage drivers or firmware until something happens, it was too late. Such as an upgrade or new hardware implementation or outdated version that no longer support by the vendor. Of course, the amount of firmware you need to manage is in direct proportion to the complexity of your environment and the systems you've implemented. Some vendors don't stipulate firmware and driver versions as long as the other systems in the environment support installed versions. Other vendors have charts, matrixes, spreadsheets and executables for every proprietary product in the environment, all of which seem to overlap and have cross dependencies, making a firmware upgrade a heavily researched and carefully planned event. Most environments seem to fall between these two extremes.

Get it down on paper when evaluating and possibly upgrading your environment, the first step is to document everything in the SAN and Host including: Some SRM packages and software from disk subsystem vendors can gather much of this information. For example, EMC Corp.'s Grab utility corrals all of the server, EMC software and HBA data, and EMC will convert this information into a Host Environment Analysis Tool (HEAT) report, which is a cleaned-up version of the Grab output. In Host Environment, gather the patch version or upgrade version which required applying before kick start the SAN firmware upgrade. 

From SAN Switches perspective, Brocade has provided a very good reporting tool, which is SAN Health. It can capture entire Fabric's host, driver, firmware version information and etc. With these useful information,  the SAN administrator can easier sort out what are the firmware level that executable on various SAN storage model.