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Firmware Upgrades for stacked Cisco switches

I would like to ask how do you handle Firmware upgrades for stacked switches. I found a workaround which is now satisfying in my case. My workaround is quite simple:

As you have the problem, that you cannot upgrade multiple stacked switches with the .bin-file within this firmware upgrade process, I´ve created a pseudo .bin-file to satisfy the SolarWinds process. This pseudo .bin-file is uploaded to the (master) switch by upgrading. The real upgrading process is triggered by the "archive download-sw" command using the .tar-file. Here is a screenshot how a template could look like:


So, my question now is, do you know if there is an official solution from SolarWinds for upgrading stacked switches?

  • We have the same issue.

    Please could you give some more information on your ingenious workaround;

    I have a .tar file but what did you do to create the ciscpseudoios.bin file, i.e. did you simply rename the extension?

    'Upgrade firmware image command'; I see the /overwrite http://IP.address.of.location.of.the.file/xxx/xxx but what is this referring to?

    any help is really appreciated.

  • Do I need to run any scripts to upgrade my firmware of a cisco 3560 8port swith or once I have NCM push to the system it will reload and update it?

  • Are you kidding?

    SolarWinds hardly supports switch stacks and FEX's. (Apparently the technology is too new)

    It's truly a shame SolarWinds hasn't tackled this issue head on. Instead, they rely on us to make our own custom pollers for this kind of thing.

  • Hello beadlek

    first of all I want to apologize, because of my very late response to your question. I am using the ciscopseudoios.bin, to be able to use this solarwinds operation. As you know, you can just update stacked cisco switches with .tar file and not with the .bin file. Solarwinds just supports .bin files for the upgrade operation. I just thought, ok, I will create an empty .bin file and afterwards in the upgrade command I just push the new IOS with the archive download-sw command. After some testing on different devices, I figured out that this way is working properly (for me). So the real upgrade process is hidden in the archive download-sw command. the http path is just the ftp share, where I stored the .tar file, in order to be more flexible while upgrading.

    Meanwhile I am using this method for almost all devices, where the archive download-sw command is working.

  • You can implement the automatic reload in the upgrade process, yes. But tbh, I would always do the reload manually.

  • Hello Keles,

    Is it possible if you place the template files here ? I am in the processing of upgrading our cisco 2960 X stack as well. The picture is great, its just that i am not to familiar on tar files and empty bin files. A detail instructions will be awesome.


  • Can you explain how you created the "ciscopseudoios.bin" file? Did you just name a text file with a .bin extension?

  • Okay so I just did exactly that. Created a text file with jibberish and gave it a ".bin" extension.

    So I have the following template being used for this, mimicking keles​ image above:
    pastedImage_0.pngAs mentioned in the original post, the most important part of this is the "archive download-sw" command. I am using the "/leave-old-sw" switch to leave the current IOS on the device (since I have the space in flash) and the "/imageonly" switch to help speed the process up since we do not manage switches via web browser.

    What SolarWinds will do when running this template against the selected node, is first backup the current IOS to SolarWinds TFTP-root location, this is the "TFTP-Root" located on the C:\ of your Orion Server.

    Once the current IOS is backed up, it will move the backup .bin file it creates to the "Image Repository" location you specified in the firmware upgrade settings in NCM.

    SolarWinds will then move the CiscoPseudo.bin file I created into that TFTP-root directory since it thinks this is the IOS I am using, BUT HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART:

    Make sure you place the ACTUAL IOS image in the TFTP-Root directory BEFORE running the upgrade process as your command, within the template, points to this file instead of the "CIscoPseudo":


    Again, I'll repeat, SolarWinds will move the "CiscoPseudo.bin" file into this directory because it thinks this is the IOS image we are using and can only work with .bin files. The ACTUAL IOS is the "c2960s-universalk9-tar.150-2.SE11.tar" which I MANUALLY placed within this directory. The "archive download-sw" command specified in the template is the actual command that will be initiated on the switch. That "CiscoPseudo.bin" file will just continue to sit there unused.  

    I tested this out on a pair of unused switches I had configured in stack and it worked perfectly. As always, NEVER TEST ON PRODUCTION. Thanks keles​!

  • Does anyone have a video to see the process? I am trying to see if I can get a test lab switch to a stack switch ISO upgrade.

  • I am having the same issue.  I'm trying to do this process with Catalyst 3850/9300 stacks in install mode.  Commands for this are roughly:

    1 - copy scp://$xxxxxxxxx:password@x.x.x.x/image.bin flash:

    2 – verify /md5 flash:image.bin (whatever hash value it gets from Cisco)

    3 -- request platform software package install switch all file flash:image.bin auto-copy

    4 -"reload" will reload the whole stack

    For whatever reason, when I customize the fields to include these commands it ends up spitting out the monolithic or bundled mode config..