Switch Replacements

My company is still in the stone age in some ways, we have the latest and greatest in some things.  However when it comes to our switching environment someone made the foolish decision of putting 2’x2′ holes into the concrete and then mounting switches into the floor.  This idea was stupid as hell, because unfortunately there are very few switches that we can use in these holes.  So when I have a chance to actually replace switches with something that works better and isn’t ready to be decommissioned I am happy.  This was one of those weekends where I got to replace some of our old 3524 switches and bring us into the 2013 with some nice and shiny new 3750x stack switches.  The only downside of this upgrade was that I had to do it 30 feet in the air on top of one of our conference buildings.  So getting up there required the use of a lift and getting myself extremely dirty while digging through a bunch of equipment.

The upgrade took about 4 hours, mostly due to balancing and trying to not fall through the roof into the conference room below.  Once they were mounted and connected back to our core the connections came up and started working well.  I know that there are some that don’t like the 3750x stack switches, but I have to say I have had very good luck with them and they all have worked very well for me.  Plus the additional advantage is that I only have to manage one switch and I got to replace two other management headaches.

I really wish I could find a good solution though for the switches that are sitting in the floor, there are so many problems with them that I am afraid I am going to run out of 3524 replacements to go in there.

Upgrade Cisco ACS from 5.2 to 5.3

I am in the process of upgrading my ACS deployment from 5.2 to 5.3.  When I first got to this company we had one 3.x ACS Appliance that was woefully unsupported and out of date.  Since I started I managed to purchase two vmware servers with the large deployment license.  So my configuration is this:

Primary Server + Log Collector at the main site

Secondary Server at our remote site

As I read through the documentation for the upgrade and tried to understand Cisco’s convoluted process of actually upgrading stuff, I came to a stark realization.  The DB from 5.2 can be directly imported into 5.3….

I quickly ditched all plans I had to follow Cisco’s cruddy upgrade process and just made sure all of my equipment had both the primary and secondary ACS servers setup.  I then created a brand new 5.3 server and performed all of the necessary patches to get it to the latest and greatest.  After that I exported my 5.2 database then imported it into 5.3.  Once I had done some testing and was sure my new 5.3 was good I then shutdown the 5.2 Primary and swapped the ip to the new Primary 5.3.  I then did the same process for my secondary and then restarted the distributed database.

Much easier upgrade and didn’t require more than 5 minutes of downtime and since I had two ACS’s nothing was missed during the time and no one was denied access to the network.

Thanks Cisco for making at least one thing in life easy and keeping the databases compatible.