Aruba urges software upgrade to avoid bricking some switches

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NetAdmins should upgrade switch models 6300 and 6400 immediately to avoid destruction of memory.

Aruba issued the AOS-CX 10.04.3031 firmware Release Notes for the Aruba 6300 and 6400 Switch Series sometime in October. These notes contain an ominous passage regarding the switches’ firmware and issues about memory.

“WARNING: Aruba switches covered by this release note use eMMC or SSD storage. This is non-volatile memory for persistent storage of configfiles, databases, scripts, and so forth.

The notes go on to inform that “the storage devices support a finite number of write cycles, conservatively designed to exceed the switch’s lifecycle.” The flaw in the firmware, however, could drastically shorten that unit’s lifecycle.

Aruba words its warning carefully: “Software older than version 10.04.3031 writes to this memory at an unintended and accelerated pace. This causes premature eMMC or SSD degradation and reliability.” In other words, the older software versions could cause the 6300 or 6400 switch to brick and become, essentially, useless.

This user video from 9 November shows an Aruba switch that has burned out its SSD despite only being installed in July 2020. The poster summarizes the video as follows:

“HPE Aruba Networks have removed all older firmware for some of their high–end ArubaOS-CX network switches from their website, because they prematurely wear out the switches’ onboard eMMC flash and cause them to fail.”

As a remedy, Aruba urges users to “upgrade to version 10.04.3031 to avoid issues with the memory.” After the upgrade, the storage utilization rate will meet or exceed the deployment lifetime of the switch.” The video referenced above also has a guide on how to upgrade the Aruba switches before their OS destroys their storage disks.

Tip: Aruba Central creates growth with ClearPass Device Insight