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A few questions on flash memory

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RicN
Valued Contributor

A few questions on flash memory


Hello, I have a few questions about the flash memory on HP Procurve switches.

1. How large is the flash memory on Procurve switches? Is the size different between switch models? Can the flash be upgraded?

2. Can you see the files stored in flash with some better command than "show flash"? That is, be able to see the image file names, see log files, startup-configuration and similar?

3. If you by accident delete the operating system image from both primary and secondary flash, what do you do?

4. Why do HP recommend that you put the same OS version on both primary and secondary flash after verifying that it works?

10 REPLIES
Franklyn
Frequent Advisor

Re: A few questions on flash memory

1.
For example on the 8212zl, the flash memory is implemented as socketed (removable) compact flash. As with the ProCurve Switch 5400zl and many other ProCurve switches, the flash memory can hold a primary and a secondary boot image, which may be the same or different versions of the switchâ s software. Flash memory also stores the startup configuration. Depending on the switch model a rule of thumb, routing switches have larger memory banks compared to layer 2 switches, run show flash to see how much memory in bytes is allocated for each memory bank

2.
Show Flash: Shows the versions of software stored in the Primary and Secondary image locations.
Show Version: Shows software version.
Show running-config [status]: Show the switch running configuration. If the status keyword is specified check if there are changes in running configuration not saved to startup configuration file.

3.
The switch will go into boot ROM mode. In this case, use the boot ROM console to download a new switch software image to the primary flash. Refer to â Restoring a Flash Imageâ This document provides you with all the necessary information regards to the switches Memory and configuration: ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/networking/software/Mgmt-Oct2005-59906023-Chap06.pdf

4.Itâ s all a matter of preference, because the two areas can store different images, administrators can back up a current software version before installing a new one. This enables the administrators to restore the switchâ s earlier functionality if the new software proves unsuitable.


RicN
Valued Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory


Thank you Franklyn for your reply!

I have a few more questions on your answers. :)

1. Can I always assume that the flash size on a certain switch model will be large enough to hold all future operating system updates?

2. What I really was after was if I can see the "raw filesystem", that is to actually see which files are located in the flash and their name and sizes (for log files and similar).

3-4. Thank you for the answers on these questions.
Franklyn
Frequent Advisor

Re: A few questions on flash memory

Hi again,

1.Since the flash size is finite, the developers have to sometimes drop certain features to enable newer features.Be rest assured that they always take this into account

2.
If I am not mistaken there is a hidden command from the Bootmonitor Mode, where you can see the whole flash listed , refer to the help command to see what command is available
RicN
Valued Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory


Thanks for more answers!

>4.Its all a matter of preference, because
>the two areas can store different images,
>administrators can back up a current
>software version before installing a new
>one. This enables the administrators to
>restore the switchs earlier functionality
>if the new software proves unsuitable.

Yes, and that seems to be the most reasonable. However HP seems to recommend to keep two identical images in both primary and secondary flash, which seems strange to me?

Do you know if the pri/sec flash areas is located on the same physicaly flash memory?


Matt Hobbs
Honored Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory

>Yes, and that seems to be the most >reasonable. However HP seems to recommend >to keep two identical images in both >primary and secondary flash, which seems >strange to me?

Historically, ProCurves would only boot to Primary flash on a cold boot. So the rationale was that you would upgrade secondary flash, boot to Secondary - if everything was good, copy it to Primary. If not and you needed to pull the plug, you'd still have your old flash in Primary.

If it was all good on Secondary and you forgot to copy it to Primary, if by chance you had a power outage, it would then boot it to Primary and maybe you'd have an issue due to an older bug or a newer feature is not available.

With the newer products though there is a boot.ini file which determines which flash image to boot. Therefore the need to keep them in sync is not so critical.
RicN
Valued Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory


Thank you for an interesting answer!

>Historically, ProCurves would only boot to
>Primary flash on a cold boot.

That does explain the recommendations, very nice to have that sorted out.

Do you know when this restriction was removed? Can I assume that all switches / os versions available today can coldboot to either primary and secondary flash.
Matt Hobbs
Honored Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory

Actually, I have a feeling it might only be the 2900/3500/5400/6200/8200's that have the boot.ini feature.

If you are interested in a specific model that I haven't listed let me know and I'll check it out.
RicN
Valued Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory


Thank you for the answer!

>Actually, I have a feeling it might only
>be the 2900/3500/5400/6200/8200's that have
>the boot.ini feature.

If a switch does not have the boot.ini, does that mean it still can only coldboot from primary flash?

That could be quite a risk I suppose if the switch reboots e.g. after a power failure a long time after an update and starts on an old image..

>If you are interested in a specific model
>that I haven't listed let me know and I'll
>check it out.

It would be very interesting to know if the series 25xx, 26xx, 28xx and 29xx have the boot.ini feature or must have the correct image on primary flash.
Matt Hobbs
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: A few questions on flash memory

It seems to be as I suspected, the 2900/3500/5400/6200/8200's are the current lineup which do have a boot.ini which allows you to specify which flash to boot on either cold/warm boots.

All other switches will default to Primary flash after a cold boot / power outage.
RicN
Valued Contributor

Re: A few questions on flash memory


Thank you for the information!