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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