Converting a Cisco 6248 FI to a Nexus 5548

Discussion in 'Networking' started by oddball, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. oddball

    oddball Active Member

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    I love the hacker ethos of this forum, so I'm back with a new idea..

    On eBay a Nexus 5548, which is a currently supported switch sells for $600-1000. BUT, a Cisco 6248, which is a fabric interconnect in the exact same hardware (but painted green) sells for $200 (or less).

    Inspired by this thread on reddit I'm wondering if the same thing is possible with a 6248. For those too lazy to click through, the redditor formatted their 6120xp (the pre-cursor to the 6248) flash and loaded the nexus firmware.

    I have two 6248's that I'm setting up for a chassis, but I have a "spare" on order. I purchased the spare for $60, and am open to experimentation.

    I think the 6248 is a better platform to upgrade because of the integrated USB port. On the 6120xp you have to tftp the firmware over. On this you can just copy it via USB.

    The 6120xp has a Xeon with 2GB of RAM, the 6248 is an upgrade, but I can't find hardware details. I'd presume a better processor and more ram.

    It also looks like the Nexus 5548 platform supports the latest NX-OS release, which like Arista is Linux with a switch later on top.

    So... I am willing to mess around with this spare of mine. We don't need it right now, and if I can save off the firmware I think I can always revert it to a fabric interconnect. Which means it might be worth trying to switch to a Nexus.

    Does anyone have experience with this? I have access to the FI firmware and UCS firmware, but not Nexus. Specifically I'd need the actual bin files for the kickstart and system files.

    Has anyone tried this? I have two 6120xp's sitting in my garage (and listed on eBay) that could be flashed as well, but they're EOL, so I think they only go to NX-OS 5 (possibly 7?).

    I'm happy to hack on these things. The boxes are loud, and drink power, but I have a colo and power is free, so out of sight out of mind...this seems like a worthy experiment. I might even spray paint the box if I can get it flashed!
     
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  2. oddball

    oddball Active Member

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  3. oddball

    oddball Active Member

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    After doing a ton of digging I found:

    1) My Cisco account includes Nexus downloads, so I'm good to go on firmware. It appears 7.0 is the recommended latest version, although 8 is possible if I go to 7 first.
    2) The 6248 has a USB port, but it's unusable and unreadable on the custom NX-OS firmware.

    I'm going to try to scp the firmware over, then do a ctrl-shift-r at the boot loader and load the kickstart package, then load the nexus system package.
     
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  4. bndabbs

    bndabbs New Member

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    Did you have any luck with this? I am looking into doing the same thing.
     
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  5. oddball

    oddball Active Member

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    So.... I had a slight delay in plans. Turns out my $60 FI has 28 ports licensed. I need to swap it with a FI that only has 12 licensed. Or primary has 20 licensed, so this was sort of a lucky draw.

    But, I've been playing with these a ton. To reset an admin password you have to escape to the boot loader, and from there you manually load each package. The Nexus software is the exact same as the UCS, there is a kickstart.bin and a system.bin.

    I should have these swapped next week and then I'll start to experiment.
     
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