Replacing a line card in a Brocade MLX chassis isn’t as easy as sliding it in.

Recently I had an 8 port 10G line card (NI-MLX-10Gx8-D) fail in a Brocade MLXe chassis. A support case was opened and we received our new line card with in the 4 hours and replaced it. The line card received was from the depot and like any equipment from any depot, it didn’t have the latest software on it.

The chassis automatically loaded the correct version of Ironware and monitor software onto the line card and booted it up. It looked to work just fine, but we noticed some weird things happening. On this line card one port was an uplink, another was the primary port in a LAG that was used for the ICL to the second MLXe. I found that FDP didn’t work on this line card. A servers could ping one domain server, but not another while both servers were on the same subnet. Another server connected to this module could not send data while connected with MCT.


After doing some more troubleshooting, I found that the boot and the FPGA software was not at the same software version as the Ironware version. I also received the following warnings when performing a “Show Version“.

SL 1: NI-MLX-10Gx8-D 8-port 10GbE (D) Module (Serial #: , Part #: 60-1001587-13)
Boot : Version 5.1.0aT175 Copyright (c) 1996-2009 Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Compiled on Jan 8 2011 at 07:35:52 labeled as xmlprm05100a
(492553 bytes) from boot flash
Monitor : Version 5.3.0T175 Copyright (c) 1996-2009 Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Compiled on Jun 7 2011 at 17:07:18 labeled as xmlb05300
(515819 bytes) from code flash
IronWare : Version 5.3.0T177 Copyright (c) 1996-2009 Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Compiled on Mar 2 2012 at 19:00:00 labeled as xmlp05300
(6529868 bytes) from Primary
FPGA versions:
WARN: Invalid PBIF Version = 0.28, Build Time = 2/25/2010 15:6:00
WARN: Invalid XPP Version = 2.16, Build Time = 11/20/2010 8:1:00

To resolve this issue I had to copy the updated Boot and FPGA software to the line card and reboot the line card.

— Upgrade the FPGA software on your MLX —

SSH@Goat-MLXe#copy tftp lp 10.1.1.1 pbif8x10_05300.bin fpga-pbif 1
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………TFTP: Download to LP done.
Copy file pbif8x10_05300.bin from tftp on MP to file PBIF on LP slot 1
………………………………………………………………………………………….File Download: pbif8x10_05200d.bin from tftp (MP) -> PBIF (LP 1) is done.
File download to interface module is done (1 successful)

SSH@Goat-MLXe#copy tftp lp 10.1.1.1 xpp8x10_05300.bin fpga-xpp 1
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..TFTP: Download to LP done.
Copy file xpp8x10_05300.bin from tftp on MP to file XPP on LP slot 1
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………FPGA XPP Download: xpp8x10_05300.bin from tftp (MP) -> XPP (LP 1) is done.
FPGA XPP download to interface module is done (1 successful)
Copying IXPP1. done

— Upgrade the Boot software on your MLX —

SSH@Goat-MLXe#copy tftp lp xmlprm.bin boot

After you load the software onto the new line card, you need to reload the line card. You can easily do this by shutting off the power to the line card and then turning it back on. You do NOT have to reload the entire chassis!

SSH@Goat-MLXe#power-off lp
SSH@Goat-MLXe#Slot is powered off.

SSH@Goat-MLXe#power-on lp
Slot is powering on.

After a few minutes, you can use the “show Module” command to see if the line card is back up. You should see the following for the slot you are working on.

NI-MLX-10Gx8-D 8-port 10GbE (D) Module CARD_STATE_UP

Issue the command “Show version slot ” you should see the following.

Valid PBIF Version
Valid XPP Version

After I upgraded the FPGA and the boot software, FDP started working and the odd issues from the servers were cleared up.


What is your opinion about how Brocade (Foundry) has made the upgrade process on the NetIron platform? This is an area where I like what Cisco has done better. On the Catalyst there is only one IOS file for the upgrade and it’s very simple. On the NetIron, there are many files and not so simple. Please let us know your feelings about this!!!

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About Scape

Over 10 Years in the networking field. Have worked in the Service provider and Enterprise environments. I have worked with Cisco, Foundry/Brocade, F5, Riverbed, Scientific Atlanta, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Load Balancers, WAN Accelerators, DWDM, SONET, Multicast etc...

One thought on “Replacing a line card in a Brocade MLX chassis isn’t as easy as sliding it in.

  1. Recently I had a problem with the NI-MLX-10GX8-D that I was trying to boot it up in the MLX-8.
    NetIron MLX-8 Router#show module

    Module Status Ports Starting MAC

    M1 (left): NI-MLX-MR Management Module Active

    M2 (right):

    F1: NI-X-HSF Switch Fabric Module Active

    F2: NI-X-HSF Switch Fabric Module Active

    F3:

    S1: Powered Off (Not Enough Power)

    S2: NI-MLX-10Gx2 2-port 10GbE Module CARD_STATE_UP 2 748e.f85e.a330

    S3:

    S4:

    NetIron MLX-8 Router#power-on lp 1

    Warn:Unrecognized card type in slot 1.Board class: 0x03,Version: 5.3.0

    This module may require a later version of code, please refer to release notes.

    Could not get power usage for slot 1. It will not be powered on.

    Slot 1 is already powered off.

    Does any body know what I do I need to do to get this module power on?

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