ROM Updates

For the past ten years I’ve been responsible for the Nortel switches at my current employer but with this last upgrade our vendor talked me into getting HP Procurves instead.  I don’t regret the decision as they were quite affordable, but I’m underwhelmed by the feature set on the routers compared to our older Nortel 460s.  The VLANs don’t seem to set up as smoothly and the initial ROM version that they shipped with did not include an interface on the web management console for updating the firmware.  “That’s okay”, I figured “I’ll update via TFTP like I had for years with my Cisco and Nortel stuff”. As it turns out that’s a no-go as well, the initial ROM version only ships with the ability to update over the serial port.  I’m puzzled as to how HP can ship a product in 2009 that doesn’t include features that have been included for the last ten years in even the cheapest networking gear.

It wasn’t long after my adventure with the switches that I had to update the ILO card on our AiO StorageWorks equipment (1200r if I recall correctly).  I need to point out that first of all the ILO card that comes with the AiO is a vastly inferior to the ILO2 card that comes on the later model Proliants (in fact, it’s labeled as a ‘LO100i’ card and isn’t an ILO at all).  It goes without saying that the equipment didn’t ship with the latest firmware on the ILO card, but the update had to be performed using basically the same mechanism that I used to update Compaq equipment in the mid-nineties: reboot onto an image.  It was USB at least and not floppy, but still, what’s the point of a remote management adapter if you have to be physically present to update it?

Last on my list is my Barracuda spam firewall.  I made the mistake of updating the firmware last night at around 10:30 at night.  The web based update screen provides a VERY poor indication of how the update is advancing.  The unhelpful gauge on the ‘update’ web page eventually locked up completely making it epically unhelpful.  Is it still updating?  Who knows?  Is it okay to reboot?  I hope so because that’s exactly what I did at 11:30 last night.  Barracuda’s web site was as useless as always and reminded me of when our device wasn’t properly authenticating e-mail addresses against our Active Directory LDAP setup.  The fix in that case was to point it at a Global Catalog AD server instead of just any AD server, but just like with my ROM issue Barracuda’s support and web site provided no clues, just the standard bunk that comes packed in with the device itself.  I guess since their tech support never solves any problems, they wouldn’t have any service call details to post to their site.

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