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How to use Zero-Touch SmartInstall

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Before we begin, I’ve segmented this document into three subnets.  They are: 

1) Introduction section  2) Troubleshooting section.  3) WTF section (I’ll explain later).

 

 

Introduction

What does this do?

Let’s say that you have a pile of switches you need to deploy soon-ish.  Now, your stack will “mostly” have the same configuration except the IP Addresses and Hostname.  Let’s say that your switch configurations are composed of two parts:  Dynamic (unique information such as IP Addresses) or Static (or fixed information).

 

Before the advent of Zero-Touch, one would sit down behind the pile switches and configure them one by one, very monotonous and very repetitive. 

 

With Zero-Touch, all one has to do is connect a new switch’s Ethernet or Management Port to the switch “Director” Ethernet port (explained later) using an Ethernet cable.  Power up  the new switch and once the boot-up process completes the new switch will receive a Static Configuration and an IOS upgrade/downgrade from the Director. 

 

Now, for safety reason, you have to manually configure what kind of switch you want to enable.  And when I say “what kind of switch”, I meant SPECIFIC models.  This feature will be able to determine if your switch is a 24- or 48-port, whether you switch has 2- or 4- SFP ports, etc.  For short, very platform-specific. 

 

Zero-Touch uses VLAN 1 and Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP).  Zero-Touch requires VLAN 1 because a new factory-fresh switch does not have any other VLANs other than VLAN 1.  Ok so far?

 

Zero-Touch also uses CDP to “interrogate” the client switch.  Zero-Touch takes the CDP value and pulls the “platform” information to know what kind of appliance wants “in” to the Zero-Touch and whether or not there are settings.   Because of this, the director will NOT push the IOS and/or the static configuration to, say a 2960 switch to a 3560 (unless you incorrectly configured it to do so).   If it’s not in the list, then the Director will not action. 

 

What appliances are supported?

 

Table 1 Supported Switches

 

Switch Director Client

Catalyst 3750-X                                               

Yes Yes

Catalyst 3750-E

Yes Yes
Cisco 3750 Yes Yes

Cisco 3560-X

Yes Yes

Cisco 3560-E

Yes Yes

Cisco 3560-C

No Yes

Cisco 3560

Yes Yes

Catalyst 2960-S

No Yes

Catalyst 2960-C

No Yes

Catalyst 2960

No Yes

Catalyst 2975

No Yes

SM-ES2-16-P

No Yes

SM-ES3 SKUs

No Yes

NME-16ES-1G-P

No yes

NM-16-ESW

Yes No

 

 

Table 2 Supported Routers

Router Director Client
Cisco 3900 Series Integrated Services Routers G2 Yes No
Cisco 2900 Series Integrated Services Routers G2 Yes No
Cisco 1900 Series Integrated Services Routers G2 Yes No
Cisco 3800 Series Integrated Services Routers Yes No
Cisco 2800 Series Integrated Services Routers Yes No
Cisco 1800 Series Integrated Services Routers Yes No

 

 

Note: If your switch appliance (like 3560CG or ME-3800X) is not in this list, boy, do I have a joke for you!  Read on!

 

So what do I need?

No biggie. You need a TFTP server of course.  A 3560 or 3750 switch running at least IOS version 12.2(55)SE1 IP Base which will act as a Director.  Cisco documentation will state that Zero-Touch SmartPort was introduced starting with IOS 12.2(55)SE but Cisco insiders recommend using the SE1 rebuild because of “improvements” (aka bug fixes).

 

Network Diagram

server-1.png

That’s simple. 

 

Anything else?

Of course you need the IOS TAR files of the switches involved.  You also need to create a few text files.  They are:

 

  • config template – The text file is the configuration template for a specific model of switch.   Syntax or naming convention would be anything of your choice.
  • imagelist  - This file contains only one string:  The complete IOS filename (example:  c2960s-universalk9-tar.122-58.SE1.tar).  The naming convention is a wee bit “strange”.  The naming convention is based on the built-in group (or profile) when configuring the VStack.  For example, for a 2960 LAN Lite the filename is “2960-24-8poe-lanlite-imagelist.txt”.  For a 2960S-24PD the filename is called “2960s-24-2sfp-poe-imagelist.txt” and for a 2960S-48LPS the filename is called “2960s-48-4sfp-poe-imagelist.txt”. 

 

Gotchas?

 

  • During the entire process, if you do anything, like hit any keyboard while consoled into the client switch (accidentally) the process will stop (hence the term Zero-Touch).
  • VLAN 1 is mandatory.  This is because when you get a switch out of the box VLAN 1 is the only VLAN available.  
  • This feature does NOT like the “/” or “\” symbols.  For example, when you are specifying where the IOS image and/or config template file is located it will only accept this form of syntax:  tftp://IP Address of TFTP server/IOS file.tar

    The syntax of tftp://IP Address of TFTP server/subdirectory/IOS file.tar  is going to cause issues and best be avoided.

  • The three files (IOS TAR file, config template.txt file and imagelist.txt file) must be located in the default folder of the TFTP server. 
  • If your switch has a Management Port you can use this as well as any switch port. 

 

Configuration time!

It’s simple. 

 

  1. Interface configuration for the clients AND the TFTP server:

    interface GigabitEthernet <BLAH>
    description Build LAN
    switchport mode access
    switchport access VLAN 1    [IMPORTANT]
    load-interval 30        [OPTIONAL]
    spanning-tree portfast

  2. Enable VLAN 1:

    Director# configure terminal
    Director(config)# interface vlan 1
    Director(config)# no shutdown
    Director(config)# ip address 1.1.1.254 255.0.0.0

  3. Enable SmartInstall on the Director:

    Director(config)# vstack director 1.1.1.254
    Director(config)# vstack basic

  4. Configure a DHCP scope for client switches:
    Note:  TFTP server IP address is 1.1.1.1/8 for the sake of the demonstration

    Director(config)#  vstack dhcp-localserver badda-bing
    Director(config)#  address-pool 1.1.1.0 255.0.0.0
    Director(config)#  file-server 1.1.1.1
    Director(config)#  default-router 1.1.1.254

    Connect the link between your Director and the TFTP server into a port configured as VLAN 1.

  5. Configure Built-In Groups (or profiles) and specify the location of the IOS image and the config template file:

    Director(config)# vstack group built-in 2960 24-8poe-lanlite
    Director(config)# image tftp://1.1.1.1/c2960-lanlitek9-tar.122-58.SE1.tar
    Director(config)# config tftp://1.1.1.1/2960lite_config.txt

    Optional:  What if I want to create a few more of these so-called built-in groups because I have a number of different models, for example, 2960S-24-PLD:

    Director(config)# vstack group built-in 2960s 24-2sfp-poe
    Director(config)# image tftp://1.1.1.1/c2960s-universalk9-tar.122-58.SE1.tar
    Director(config)# config tftp://1.1.1.1/2960s_config.txt

  6. Connect a new switch to the Director port configured as VLAN 1.  Make sure the switch does not have any config.  If unsure, console into the switch and erase the configuration (wr erase) and reboot (reload).

 

 

How does it look like?

 

Press RETURN to get started!

 

*Mar  1 00:00:44.048: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface Vlan1,
changed state to downAuth Manager registration failed

 

*Mar  1 00:00:45.231: %SPANTREE-5-EXTENDED_SYSID: Extended SysId enabled
for type vlan

*Mar  1 00:01:06.756: %SYS-5-RESTART: System restarted --

Cisco IOS Software, C2960 Software (C2960-LANLITEK9-M), Version 12.2(58)SE1,
RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)

Technical Support: http://www.cisco.com/techsupport

Copyright (c) 1986-2011 by Cisco Systems, Inc.

Compiled Thu 05-May-11 02:53 by prod_rel_team

*Mar  1 00:01:13.677: %LINK-3-UPDOWN: Interface GigabitEthernet0/2,
changed state to up

*Mar  1 00:01:14.683: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface
GigabitEthernet0/2, changed state to up

*Mar  1 00:01:41.703: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface
Vlan1, changed state to up

 

!!!! Gets a valid IP Address

 

*Mar  1 00:01:59.764: AUTOINSTALL: Vlan1 is assigned 1.0.0.9 got vend id
vend spec. info ret: succeed got vend id vend spec. info ret: succeed

 

!!!! Don’t worry about the word “Aborted” because the “AUTOINSTALL” is part of the feature.

*Mar  1 00:02:20.416: %SMI-6-AUTOINSTALL: Aborted AUTOINSTALL

*Mar  1 00:02:20.416: AUTOINSTALL: Aborted

 

 

!!!! Downloads the config template file into the startup-config.

 

*Mar  1 00:02:20.416: %SMI-6-UPGRD_STARTED: Device (IP address: 1.0.0.9)
startup-config upgrade has started

Loading 2960lite_config.txt from 1.1.1.1 (via Vlan1): !

[OK - 1324 bytes]

 

*Mar  1 00:02:38.502: %SYS-5-CONFIG_NV_I: Nonvolatile storage configured
from tftp://1.1.1.1/2960lite_config.txt by console

*Mar  1 00:02:39.517: %SMI-6-UPGRD_SUCCESS: Device (IP address: 1.0.0.9)
startup-config has upgraded successfully

*Mar  1 00:02:39.526: %SMI-6-UPGRD_STARTED: Device (IP address: 1.0.0.9)
image upgrade has started

 

 

!!!! Next the IOS image list is being verified to know what file is to be used.

 

Loading 2960-24-8poe-lanlite-imagelist.txt from 1.1.1.1 (via Vlan1): !

[OK - 34 bytes]

 

 

!!!! Don’t worry about the “could not buffer”.  Happens all the time.


Could not buffer tarfile...using multiple downloads

examining image...

extracting info (107 bytes)

 

!!!! IOS is being downloaded and extracted to the new switch

 

System Type:             0x00000000

  Ios Image File Size:   0x009DFA00

  Total Image File Size: 0x00DC0200

  Minimum Dram required: 0x04000000

  Image Suffix:          lanlitek9-122-58.SE1

  Image Directory:       c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1

  Image Name:            c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1.bin

  Image Feature:         LAYER_2|SSH|3DES|MIN_DRAM_MEG=64

 

Old image for switch 1: same as image to overwrite

  Image to be installed already exists...will be removed before download.

 

Deleting `flash:c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1' to create required space

Extracting images from archive into flash...

c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1/ (directory)

c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1/html/ (directory)

 

 

--- CUT ---

 

extracting c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1/info (427 bytes)

extracting info (107 bytes)

 

Installing (renaming): `flash:update/c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1' ->

                                       `flash:/c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1'

New software image installed in flash:/c2960-lanlitek9-mz.122-58.SE1

 

!!!! Finish

 

All software images installed.

Requested system reload in progress...

*Mar  1 00:12:16.586: %SYS-5-RELOAD: Reload requested by SMI IBC client process.
Reload Reason: Switch upgraded through Smart Install.

 

 

How long does it take?

 

Depending on the model of your switch between 10 to 15 minutes from the time the “client” is seen by the VStack Director.

 

 

Troubleshooting Section

 

The most useful command I’ve used is the “sh vstack status”. 

 

SmartInstall:  ENABLED

 

Status: Device_type Health_status Join-window_status Upgrade_status

Device_type:  S - Smart install N - Non smart install P - Pending

Health_status:  A - Active I - Inactive

Join-window_Status:  a - Allowed  h - On-hold   d - Denied

Image Upgrade:   i - in progress     I - done           X - failed

Config Upgrade:  c - in progress     C - done           x - failed

Director Database:

DevNo  MAC Address     Product-ID         IP_addr          Hostname    Status

=====  ==============  =================  ===============  ==========  =========

0      001e.490e.7600  WS-C3750G-24PS     192.168.1.2      Director    Director

 

Pay close attention to the output under the “Status” section.  This will tell you the progress of the Zero-Touch based on each “DevNo” or Index Number (first column). 

 

There are two commands that the original Cisco documentation will tell you.  They are:

 

  • vstack download-config [tftp://<TFTP IP address> or DevNo] Client_IP_Address PASSWORD startup
    This command will tell the Director to manually push the Static configuration to the switch.

  • vstack download-image [tftp://<TFTP IP address> or DevNo] Client_IP_Address PASSWORD reload
    This command will tell the Director to manually push the IOS to the switch and overwrite previous version.

 

I have a 50% success rate when using these two commands.  Let me explain: 

 

The Zero-Touch works great.  Most of the time when I run into trouble, the most common issue I would see are is the switch would fail to download the config, download the IOS, reboot and attempt (but fail) to download the config.  Sometimes it won’t even download the IOS. 

 

Like I’ve mentioned before the two commands that Cisco recommends on using doesn’t work all the time.  I would resort to power down the offending client, count to five, and powering up the client.  Now THIS process works for me 100% of the time. 

 

WTF Section

This section is called the WTF section.  Why? 

 

Let’s say that you read Table 1 and saw that you have a number of switch models that are NOT in the table, for example a Cisco 3560CG-8PC (in the list but this model is not available in the configuration) or Cisco ME-3800X-24FS.   Well, in the back of your mind, you’d probably thinking that if you are reading this section, then something can be done to enable these unsupported models to work with Zero-Touch.  Well?  Can you?

 

And the short answer is?  YES (if you use the magic word). 

 

WTF, How-Did-You-Get-This-To-Work Section

     a)    Same rules apply for the Switch Director: 

    • 3560/G/E/X or 3750/G/E/X;
    • Minimum IOS 12.2(55)SE1 or later; and
    • VLAN 1 only to the clients and to the TFTP server
    • CDP must be enabled.

 

b)    You need the IOS TAR file of the switches

c)    You need to create a Static Configuration file per switch; and

d)    You need to create an image file

 

In my case, I had to deploy 3560CG-8PC and ME-3800X-24FS.  So my image filename has to be exact.   For the 3560CG-8PC has to be exact “3560CG-8PC-imagelist.txt” and the ME-3800 is called “ME3800X-imagelist.txt”.

 

 

3560CG-8PC Configuration

 

Director(config)#  vstack group custom <Enter any value> product-id

Director(config)#  image tftp://<TFTP IP Address>/<IOS_filename>.TAR

Director(config)#  config tftp://<TFTP IP Address>/<Config_filename>.txt

 

!!!! The magic word is “match”.

 

Director(config)#  match WS-C3560CG-8PC-S

 

 

ME-3800X-24FS Configuration

 

Director(config)#  vstack group custom <Enter any value> product-id

Director(config)#  image tftp://<TFTP IP Address>/<IOS_filename>.TAR

Director(config)#  config tftp://<TFTP IP Address>/<Config_filename>.txt

 

!!!! The magic word is “match”.

 

Director(config)#  match ME-3800X-24FS-M

 

 

The value after the “match” statement is very specific.  The value comes out of the client’s Product ID (PID) and must be entered in ALL-CAPS.   The Zero-Touch function will not work if this value is expressed in any other mean. 

 

 

So all un-supported appliance now supported?

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. 

 

I’ve tried using a 2950 and it won’t work.  I don’t have the resources to test but if a switch (like the 3550 or the 2970) can run IOS version 12.2 then it could work using the “match” statement. 

Comments

I see, thanks for the excellent explanation. The solution I'm trying to solve for actually comes in the next step, when the switch reboots. I'd like to have Prime Infrastructure be able to discover the smart-installed switch after it boots with the pushed configuration template (so using your example, it would need to be on vlan999). My issue is that the switch becomes unreachable after the configuration push and reboot so Prime can never get its hands on it. It sounds like this 'vstack vlan' command may be the ticket to do this so hopefully that's supported. I read about this command in some Cisco documentation and gave it a shot (didn't get it to work) but it was probably a misconfiguration. I'm running a 3650 as director with identical 3650's as clients, all running 03.03.03SE.

Thank you again for still supporting this thread >2 years after the original post.

Community Member

Hallo Leo,

Is it possible to run Zero Touch feature only with one Director Switch at the Network with several Layer3 Networks?

On this Cisco docs side I saw: The Smart Install network supports up to seven hops.

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/lan/smart_install/configuration/guide/smart_install/concepts.html

 

Regards

Ivan

 

Hall of Fame Community Legend

I've never tried this before, Ivan.  Sorry.  

Beginner

Did you ever get autoinstall working on the 2960X switches?

Hall of Fame Community Legend

Hey Sam, 


There are several methods to get 2960X.  It all depends on what issues you're seeing.

Frequent Contributor

So finally had some time and I am trying to do this for 2960X and XR switches.  No luck so far.

 

I have a Cisco1841 router as director: 15.1(4)M9

Related commands:

tftp-server client_cfg.txt
tftp-server flash:ws-c2960x-48fps-l-localconfig.txt
tftp-server flash:dummy/ws-c2960x-48fps-l-localconfig.txt

vstack group custom WS-C2960X-FPS-L mac
 config tftp://172.31.255.1/ws-c2960x-48fps-l-localconfig.txt
 match mac 2222.9ecb.1111
!
!
!
vstack dhcp-localserver pool1
 address-pool 172.31.255.0 255.255.255.0
 default-router 172.31.255.1
!
vstack director 172.31.255.1
vstack basic

When I boot the switch it keeps looking for a file like this?  I even created a dummy directory and moved file in there but no use.  Is it because I am trying to use the router as a TFTP server?  When I tried to manually do it by running, "vstack download-config flash:adfafasdfas.txt 172.31.255.21 NONE startup" it worked.

Mar 12 16:21:38.149: %LINK-3-UPDOWN: Interface FastEthernet0, changed state to down
Mar 12 16:21:40.312: %LINK-3-UPDOWN: Interface GigabitEthernet1/0/48, changed state to up
Mar 12 16:21:41.315: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface GigabitEthernet1/0/48, changed state to up
Mar 12 16:22:08.323: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface Vlan1, changed state to up got vend id vend spec. info ret: succeed got vend id vend spec. info ret: succeed
Mar 12 16:22:38.564: %SMI-3-IMG_CFG_NOT_CONFIGURED: IBC (IP Address :172.31.255.21) : The Director does not have a image file or a configuration file configured for this Product-ID
Mar 12 16:22:38.564: %SMI-6-AUTOINSTALL: Continue AUTOINSTALL
Mar 12 16:22:38.564: %SMI-6-AUTOINSTALL: Aborted AUTOINSTALL
Mar 12 16:22:38.564: AUTOINSTALL: Obtain tftp server address (opt 150) 172.31.255.1
Mar 12 16:22:38.568: %SMI-3-UPGRD_FAILED: Device (IP address: 172.31.255.21) image upgrade failed
%Error opening tftp://172.31.255.1/dummy (Timed out)
%Error opening tftp://172.31.255.1/dummy (Timed out)
%Error opening tftp://172.31.255.1/dummy (Timed out)

%Error opening tftp://255.255.255.255/dummy (Timed out)
%Error opening tftp://255.255.255.255/dummy (Timed out)
%Error opening tftp://255.255.255.255/dummy (Timed out)
Mar 12 16:26:14.815: AUTOINSTALL: Obtain tftp server address (opt 150) 172.31.255.1
Loading client_cfg.txt from 172.31.255.1 (via Vlan1): !
[OK - 94 bytes]
Trying 172.31.255.1, 54136 ... Open

[Connection to 172.31.255.1 closed by foreign host]
Mar 12 16:26:32.218: %SYS-5-CONFIG_I: Configured from tftp://172.31.255.1/client_cfg.txt by console
Mar 12 16:26:35.224: %LINK-5-CHANGED: Interface FastEthernet0, changed state to administratively down

Hall of Fame Community Legend
tftp-server flash:dummy/ws-c2960x-48fps-l-localconfig.txt

Hey Mohammad, 

 

This configuration line won't work.  Why?  Because location of the file is in a sub-directory (called dummy).  And for unknown reasons (in the code), they don't like sub-directory.  Please try "flash:FILENAME.EXTENSION".  

Frequent Contributor

Actually sorry I just had it in there as a test because for some reason switch seems to be looking for that.  But I got it working what I was missing was the "file server" command.

Now my issue is that switch updates its startup config but doesn't reload so the running config is still the old config.  Secondly it doesn't generate ssh keys.

I added the reload command at the end which might have worked will need to try it again.  Do you have a better method?  Thank you for your help.

Hall of Fame Community Legend
Now my issue is that switch updates its startup config but doesn't reload so the running config is still the old config.  Secondly it doesn't generate ssh keys.

Never tried doing ZeroTouch on a router so I'm not sure.  The IOS you're using on the router could be the culprit.  Can you upgrade the router's IOS to something a lot more recent?

Frequent Contributor

You mean instead of using a router as a Director use a switch or a newer router?

Hall of Fame Community Legend
Can you upgrade to something a lot more recent?

Whoopsie.  I made a type-o.  Sorry. 

 

I meant to say "upgrade the router's IOS to something more recent".  

Frequent Contributor

Ah gotcha, its an older router 1841 so I grabbed the latest one I found on the site.  I'll try it with a 2911 and see if that works better.  Seems like a hit or miss on this.

Beginner

Did you get the IOS update working with 2960X?

I tried it recently and only got the following messages on the client switch:

Apr 27 17:39:59.700: %SMI-3-IMG_CFG_NOT_CONFIGURED: IBC (IP Address :10.0.0.13) : The Director does not have a image file or a configuration file configured for this Product-ID
Apr 27 17:39:59.700: %SMI-6-AUTOINSTALL: Continue AUTOINSTALL
Apr 27 17:39:59.700: %SMI-6-AUTOINSTALL: Aborted AUTOINSTALL
Apr 27 17:39:59.700: AUTOINSTALL: Obtain tftp server address (opt 150) 10.0.0.1
Apr 27 17:39:59.703: %SMI-3-UPGRD_FAILED: Device (IP address: 10.0.0.13) image upgrade failed
%Error opening tftp://10.0.0.1/dummy (No such file or directory)
%Error opening tftp://10.0.0.1/dummy (No such file or directory)
%Error opening tftp://10.0.0.1/dummy (No such file or directory)

 

Log messages on the director:

Apr 28 08:12:37.786: VSTACK_ERR:smi_get_img_config_file_from_sku: Failed to get the CFG amd IMG files
Apr 28 08:12:37.786: %SMI-6-INCORRECT_CFG: No image and config configured for this switch

 

The 2960X apparently gets the file server IP (10.0.0.1) via DHCP but I don't know why it does requests the file "dummy"

I tried several things for the vstack group config (product-id, mac) but none did work. There was no builtin group for the 2960X on 15.0.2a.EX5. I used a 2960X for both client and server. SmartInstall worked fine for a 2960C-12 btw.

Any ideas on that issue?

Hall of Fame Community Legend
I used a 2960X for both client and server.

Unless the rules have changed, Catalyst 2K (2960/G/S/X/XR, 2755, 2970, etc), will never support VStack server.  

The Director does not have a image file or a configuration file configured for this Product-ID

This error message is very descriptive and self-explanatory.  It means the IOS for the 2960X is not found in the configuration and/or the TFTP server.

Beginner

I can say for sure that VStack server does work with a 2960X with 15.0.2a.EX5. The CLI is there. I could upgrade some 2960C-12 switches successfully with the built-in group.

But there was no success when using a 2960X as a client on a 2960X vstack server.
I had to use custom groups because the 2960X was not there as a built-in group. I tried several variations and also the global image config but nothing worked.

Maybe the reason is because that is not supported. I should probably work with another director switch.

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