Oracle provides updates to the firmware needed to operate various platforms. Unlike Solaris, firmware updates and upgrades cannot be done live and require downtime of both Solaris instances and the Service Processor to successfully upgrade. The upgrade process replaces all previous firmware images, so the process to downgrade to a previous release of firmware is the same as upgrading.
Firmware is specific to the particular platform it targets. The methods for upgrading firmware differ on the various platforms offered by Oracle, each upgrade package provides the specific details for the targeted system. To facilitate and manage the firmware upgrade process, the use of the Ops Center product to deploy firmware in the data center is recommended. Firmware updates are provided roughly on a quarterly basis. Oracle recommends an update cadence of twice yearly for system firmware to help insure the system is performing optimally. When emergency releases for security or critical fixes become available, they should be incorporated as needed in the data center.
It is recommended that firmware updates be installed at least twice a year. When updating firmware, all Operating Systems on the targeted machines will need to be brought down cleanly. After OS shutdown, updating of the firmware will take place. After updating of the firmware, the system will be reset to enable the load of the new firmware image. Once the firmware has successfully booted, the target OS(s) may be restarted.
There are circumstances that may necessitate the updating of firmware in between scheduled updates, such as critical fixes or security vulnerabilities. The procedure for updating mid-cycle should be identical to the planned update methodology.
The use of Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center is recommended for deploying firmware updates. Use of this tool will simplify the upgrade process across the different families of servers Oracle provides, and provide additional tracking information concerning the update history for the managed systems.