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New Member

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Hi all,

I am a newb at this and was hoping someone could help lift the shroud.  I have a WS-C4507R-E switch.  The current SW Ver. on it is 12.2(53)SG4-IP-BASE-CRYPTO.  I have been tasked with making sure all of our switches and routers have the most current IOS running on them. 

So, with that, when I look at the software available for download for my particular switch, there are several.  Some of the IOS description makes sense, but not even sure really if I do understand what I am looking at.  How do I know which software package I need to use to upgrade the switch?  I am not the willy nilly kind of person that is going pick a package and throw it on.  I would rather know what I am doing is right.  That and this is our core switch..while yes, I would certainly back up the current switch, I would hate to be responsible for taking down the entire network due to a unfortunate misunderstanding of what I thought I read, even is it only last as long as it takes to restore from the back up... 

Thanks in advance for any help.  I certainly do appreciate it.

Tracy

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Super Bronze

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Disclaimer

The   Author of this posting offers the information contained within this   posting without consideration and with the reader's understanding that   there's no implied or expressed suitability or fitness for any purpose.   Information provided is for informational purposes only and should not   be construed as rendering professional advice of any kind. Usage of  this  posting's information is solely at reader's own risk.

Liability Disclaimer

In   no event shall Author be liable for any damages whatsoever (including,   without limitation, damages for loss of use, data or profit) arising  out  of the use or inability to use the posting's information even if  Author  has been advised of the possibility of such damage.

Posting

The latest IOS isn't always the best choice, as later IOSs often introduce new features and unfortunately this can introduce new bugs.  (In fact, even patch-only versions can introduce new bugs.)

In production environments, you're often better served by trying to identify the IOS version and feature set that provides the features you need.  Then you try to identify the most stable version of an IOS that supports your requirements.

Leo's suggestion of using Feature Navigator is generally one of the best ways to identify what a IOS and feature set support, although understanding the features may require looking them up.

Trying to identify a stable version can be a bit difficult, although in older mainline IOS version there's GD (suitable for general deployment) status and I believe now a MD status.  There was/is (I believe) also ED (early deployment) and LD (limited deployment) which should clue you that they might not be as stable.  On some switches, there's "safe harbor" versions, which mean they've passed additional quality tests.  (NB: those without this might have failed a part of the test or just weren't subjected to those tests.)

Although not a 100% guarantee for stability, but if you want "current", and if you're "happy" with your current IOS, you can check if there are newer patch versions for the same version you're running.  For example, with your 12.2(53)SG4, look for versions where that last digit increments, e.g. 12.2(53)SG5.

If you're not having any problems, and have no need for new features, actually there's often little reason to upgrade (software doesn't wear out - laugh).  However, as Jonathan noted, flaws can be later found, which often are no concern to you except for security flaws which someone could use to "attack" your device.  Often such flaws are corrected in a patch version (until it gets so old that Cisco pushes you to newer code - this mainly because Cisco can't effectively patch every older IOS).

5 REPLIES
New Member

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Your IOS should be based on the feature that your network requires and your SMARTnet contract with Cisco.  If your switch came with IP-BASE-CRYPTO, placing ADVANCE SERVICES IOS on it could be a violation.  Different IOS's have different features.  I am running ENTSERVICES on my WS-C4510R-E's because i needed the VRF feature.  I suggest using "Cisco Feature Navigator" to assist in guiding you toward the right IOS.  Also, check out Cisco's license site.

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/iosswrel/prod_gen_ios_licensing.html

Jonathan,

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Cisco regularly releases security vulnerabilities report via the Cisco Security Advisories and Responses.  See if you are affected by the issues and upgrade if necessary.

New Member

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Ooops, may have misunderstood your question.  If your goal is just to  upgrade your current IOS to the latest version, i agree with leolaohoo.

Jonathan,

Super Bronze

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Disclaimer

The   Author of this posting offers the information contained within this   posting without consideration and with the reader's understanding that   there's no implied or expressed suitability or fitness for any purpose.   Information provided is for informational purposes only and should not   be construed as rendering professional advice of any kind. Usage of  this  posting's information is solely at reader's own risk.

Liability Disclaimer

In   no event shall Author be liable for any damages whatsoever (including,   without limitation, damages for loss of use, data or profit) arising  out  of the use or inability to use the posting's information even if  Author  has been advised of the possibility of such damage.

Posting

The latest IOS isn't always the best choice, as later IOSs often introduce new features and unfortunately this can introduce new bugs.  (In fact, even patch-only versions can introduce new bugs.)

In production environments, you're often better served by trying to identify the IOS version and feature set that provides the features you need.  Then you try to identify the most stable version of an IOS that supports your requirements.

Leo's suggestion of using Feature Navigator is generally one of the best ways to identify what a IOS and feature set support, although understanding the features may require looking them up.

Trying to identify a stable version can be a bit difficult, although in older mainline IOS version there's GD (suitable for general deployment) status and I believe now a MD status.  There was/is (I believe) also ED (early deployment) and LD (limited deployment) which should clue you that they might not be as stable.  On some switches, there's "safe harbor" versions, which mean they've passed additional quality tests.  (NB: those without this might have failed a part of the test or just weren't subjected to those tests.)

Although not a 100% guarantee for stability, but if you want "current", and if you're "happy" with your current IOS, you can check if there are newer patch versions for the same version you're running.  For example, with your 12.2(53)SG4, look for versions where that last digit increments, e.g. 12.2(53)SG5.

If you're not having any problems, and have no need for new features, actually there's often little reason to upgrade (software doesn't wear out - laugh).  However, as Jonathan noted, flaws can be later found, which often are no concern to you except for security flaws which someone could use to "attack" your device.  Often such flaws are corrected in a patch version (until it gets so old that Cisco pushes you to newer code - this mainly because Cisco can't effectively patch every older IOS).

New Member

Do I need the IOS updgrade?

Thanks to everybody for the replies...I will definitely be able to make an informed decision on the upgrade process.  I really appreciate it.

Thanks,

Tracy

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