Firmware SNAFU means Cisco boxes think they’re broken • The register

Sorry, dear reader, but here’s one more item to add to your pre-vacation to-do list: Update the firmware of any Cisco DNA Center appliances you’ve purchased since September.

The registry is offering this advice because Cisco issued a field note titled “Some Cisco DNA Center Appliances Shipped between September 2022 and November 2022 Have Incorrect Firmware Installed.”

The ill-matched firmware was installed in RAID cards and network interface cards and “is incompatible with the Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) and BIOS firmware.”

As a result, the appliance management consoles display a “fatal error” along with a plethora of error messages indicating that the SSDs have reached the end of their lifespan.

There is a tiny advantage in this DNA Center – Cisco’s network controller and management package – “does not notice these errors and continues to operate as if the status of the RAID controller is normal.”

The solution is to install the correct firmware.

To find out if your box needs the update, you’ll need a Cisco account to access a serial number validation tool that will show if your machine has the weak firmware or not.

Cisco advises caution when using this tool, however, as while it can tell you if your box came with the Crocked code, it can’t report any firmware updates you may already have installed.

Cisco users may already be sensitive to reports of questionable hard drives, as the company previously reported that some of its servers contain SSDs that die after 40,000 hours of operation due to another firmware issue.

HPE and Dell both blamed hard drive manufacturer Western Digital for a similar problem.

This time, the blame lies entirely with Cisco: the company offered the following explanation for how it happened:

“Cisco recently changed the default software preinstalled on all new Cisco DNA Center appliances to Cisco DNA Center software version and CIMC version 4.1(3d). This change was made in order to transition to the new General Availability (GA) software release, as happens from time to time. Due to a manufacturing process error during the switch, only the Cisco DNA Center, CIMC, and BIOS software were updated. The firmware software of the corresponding RAID controller and NIC card has not been changed to the correct versions compatible with CIMC Version 4.1(3d).”

Merry Christmas to you too, Cisco. ® Firmware SNAFU means Cisco boxes think they’re broken • The register

Rick Schindler

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