Dec 31

Replacing a Riverbed Steelhead

Currently I am in the process of replacing all of the Riverbed Steelhead 550’s in my network with the CX-555 model. I am trying to perform a like for like swap out. I’m keeping the IP address and the configuration the exact same. Just changing out the hardware.

At first I went through the GUI menu by menu setting it up. I found this to be a very daunting task. This method was a great refresher on the system. This was good for me because after deploying the Steelheads, I almost never get into them. After performing this twice, I decided my refresher was over and I was back up to speed on the interface.

While setting these up, I didn’t want to use the back up of the configuration because I wanted the management port (Primary) to be on the local subnet so I could access the new Steelhead and not have to get off of the corporate network.

In the GUI, there is an option to view the configuration. The configuration is displayed in a window as clear text. I found that I could console (or SSH) into the new Steelhead and copy and paste the configuration into it. This was very convenient because I could leave the local DHCP address on the management port for the time of configuration. I then went through and double checked my work in the GUI to make sure that the new Steelhead did indeed have the same configuration as the production unit that would be replaced.

Before boxing up the Steelhead to be shipped to the remote location, I changed the management IP and confirmed that I could still access the Steelhead with the production IP address.

This method worked well for me because I was able to test the Steelhead while I was still on the corporate network. I was only off of the corporate network long enough to validate that I could access the Steelhead after I changed the management IP.

What experiences do you have with replacing Riverbed Steelheads? Did you use this method or another?

Oct 29

The easiest network equipment I have ever upgraded

Through out my career I have spent many hours reading release notes before I would perform a software upgrade on a piece of network equipment. I always look for memory requirements, incremental versions, what line cards or access points are supported. The list goes on and on.

I have upgraded a large number of Cisco devices, I have even turned a few of them into bricks because I didn’t read the release notes. I found that the Foundry/Brocade NetIron platform seems to be the most complex, while the Riverbed Steelhead WAN accelerators are the easiest to upgrade.

Riverbed has done a great job at making this process very easy. After you log into Riverbed’s Support . You select the software version your Steelhead is on, then select the version you want to go to, then click submit. The website then tells you if you need an incremental upgrade or if you can go directly to the version you want. It also provides you with the links to download the software that it just told you that you need.

This feature on the website eliminates the time to research the upgrade process. There is no searching through the release notes for the information, then the download links are right there for you. They have made this very easy.

I have a couple of different Steelhead models, I have accidentally uploaded the wrong file to the wrong model. After making this attempt, it gave me an error stating that it wasn’t a compatible version. This was nice because I was able to avoid turning my Steelhead into a brick.

After you download the software file, you simply click “Browse” from the software upgrade page, then select the file from your PC. No extra TFTP/FTP servers or firewall access is required like a lot of other network equipment.

Once you get the file transferring, the system gives you a status message, then when the software is installed, it tells you to reboot the Steelhead. You go to the “Reboot/Shutdown” link and click “Reboot”.

Riverbed Steelhead Upgrade Process

Riverbed Steelhead Upgrade Process

Even though this article explains how to upgrade your Riverbed Steelhead, I still suggest that you read your release notes so you don’t cause a problem. At the time of this writing, these steps are correct for the CX-555 model (probably many more).

What network equipment have you used that the vendor has made the upgrade process easy?

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