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ACI Upgrade Tools and Best Practices

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We delivered a partner enablement training session in September 2021 to share the ACI upgrade Best Practices. 

The slide deck is enclosed here for wider audience in the community, it provides more details in terms of the best practices, tools and common problems we have seen in the past, and how to avoid running into those known issues in future.  Hope it helps. 

 

Important notes which was not covered in the slide:

Prior to the upgrade, make sure you have CIMC/vKVM access for all your APICs. 

For Cisco APICs use the following UCS C Series servers:

• Cisco UCS 220 M4 (second generation appliances APIC-SERVER-M2 and APIC-SERVER-L2)

• Cisco UCS 220 M3 (first generation appliance APIC-SERVER-M1 and APIC-SERVER-L1) - which is approaching end of support date 31/10/2021

 

Even you upgrade to latest CIMC firmware, HTML5 support is not there. 

There are multiple workarounds to access/upgrade the CIMC/vKVM while running on firmware not supporting the HTML5 while the Flash player is obsolete. "Post Flash Deprecation". 

 

Common Methods: -

1. Downgrade the browser to any older browser version such as Chrome to Chrome version 61.

2. If not willing to Downgrade the regular browser then Customer can use alternate browsers such as "Maxthon Cloud Browser".

 

The second method - using "Maxthon Cloud Browser" works perfectly for me in lab environment,  One thing to mention that browser such as Maxthon have not been updated for quite a while so can potentially bring the security risk in production environment.”

 

ACI upgrade tools:

 

1. APIC Upgrade/Downgrade Support Matrix

https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/Website/datacenter/apicmatrix/index.html

 

2. Pre-Upgrade Validation Tools

•Pre-Upgrade Validator (APIC)

•Pre-Upgrade Validator (App Center app)

•Allows users in older APIC firmware to perform the latest validations.

•Standalone ACI-Pre-Upgrade-Validation Script - Strongly recommended

    For any feature not currently implemented in the Pre-Upgrade Validator, a standalone script can be run directly on the APIC to validate any existing issues prior to upgrading. The script supports all versions of software.  See https://github.com/datacenter/ACI-Pre-Upgrade-Validation-Script for more details about the script.

 

 

3. State Checker (also known as StateChangeChecker) is a Cisco ACI application that allows operators to snapshot a collection of managed objects (MO) in the fabric and perform snapshot comparisons.

 

This allows operators to answer questions such as:

üWhat changed in my fabric ?

üAre my critical objects the same after maintenance ?

üDid any route change on any node ?

üAre all the local endpoint learns still present ?

This application can be installed directly on the Cisco APIC or deployed in standalone mode.

 

https://statechecker.readthedocs.io/en/latest/install.html#standalone-mode