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Aruba warns of storage destruction flaw that bricks some switches

If you own the model 6300 and 6400, upgrade now to ‘prolong life’

Aruba has quietly admitted that recent firmware for some of its switches uses storage at “an unintended and accelerated pace” that “will meet or exceed the deployment lifetime of the switch” once installed.

The switches in question are the company’s 6300-series and 6400-series devices.

The company suggests the 6300 as “ideal for enterprise access, aggregation, core, and top of rack deployments” while the 6400 is described as “ideal for use from edge access to core and into the data center, including spine-leaf architectures and EVPN-VXLAN fabrics.”

Like myriad other appliances pack some eMMC or SSD to store what Aruba describes as “configfiles, databases, scripts, and so forth.” Such storage is known to support a finite number of write cycles and Aruba says its boxes are “conservatively designed to exceed the switch's lifecycle.”

And they may well be designed for that goal, but version 10.04.3030 or earlier, or 10.05.0020 or earlier, are not. Indeed, as this support document points out, the code is a stone-cold disk killer.

“Software older than version 10.04.3031 writes to … memory at an unintended and accelerated pace,” the document says. “This causes premature eMMC or SSD degradation and reliability. You must 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 disk-killing code appears to have emerged in October 2020. Around October 29th, and then in early November, Aruba started publishing other support documents like this one that brings news of a new version 10.05.0021 and recommends an update “to implement significant improvements to memory usage and prolong the life of the switch.”

That new code is available here.

Other Aruba products in the 6200, 8320 and 8325 series appear to have similar issues.

SSD burnout is a known problem and has led to issues like HPE warning that some of its products could expire after 32,768 hours – just under three years and nine months - of operations.

Aruba’s issue may be worse: this video demos an Aruba switch that started to show signs of storage burnout five weeks after being installed in July 2020. Four months ago. And it started to produce the Remember: Aruba is an HPE business - perhaps it ought to know better.

The vid also looks to be a handy guide on how to upgrade the machines before their OS eats their disks.

Get to it, NetAdmins! ®

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