We have had a policy of simply buying in Cisco switches whenever necessary for about four years now - so we have 2900s, 2924s, 2950s and some 2970s and 3550s all with whatever version of IOS they turned up with.
Is it advisble to go around and upgrade the ioses to the last published software image taken from the Cisco website? Will doing this help with performance/security issues on the network genreally, or it is better to leave things as they are?
It is always better to upgrade to newer code. However be sure and read the advisories with each code. In my work place we are more focused on keeping the router code updated rather than switches except the backbone switches. However what ever you decide on going to check with your SE if you have one and try it in a test enivronment before productions
I would not go so far as to say that it is ALWAYS better to upgrade. But I think there are at least two considerations that support the conclusion that yes you should upgrade:
- given some of the vulnerabilities that have been announced I think everyone should seriously consider upgrading to current code as a safety issue.
- when you have many devices with many different versions of code it may become a maintenance issue: some commands will work on this machine but not on that one, some troubleshooting approaches work one way on one version of code but a different way (or perhaps not at all on other versions of code). Consistency is very important, especially as your network grows larger.
You should ALWAYS upgrade to the last version in the same train (yet always check release notes before doing it). If you don't know what I mean by "same train" please go ahead and read: http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/620/1.html
On the other hand usually there is better compatibility when using same versions (this applys mostly to routers because of routing protocols, but I guess it does apply here for trunking and so forth).
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