Recently aquired several c3650's which is the first time I have had IOS-XE in my environment. I noticed when I type sh ver there is a mode value which is currently set to INSTALL. In reading it appears it can be set to either INSTALL or BUNDLED, it also appears the only difference is the files in flash are either compressed or not compressed. The only advantage I can therefore see is more free space in flash.
Is this the case or am I missing something? What are the advantages of running one mode versus the other?
Switch Ports Model SW Version SW Image Mode
------ ----- ----- ---------- ---------- ----
* 1 52 WS-C3650-48PS 03.03.00SE cat3k_caa-universalk9 INSTALL
Personally I haven't found any pros or cons of using either method. I guess you can boil it down to which ever way you personally prefer, unpacked contents or simple file-overview.
Perhaps there's a difference in the time it takes for the switch to boot, but I haven't tested it.
It would appear that I have found this answer in Cisco's documentation. I have placed a link here, but will describe the reason as I have found many times that Cisco likes to move stuff around which breaks links to the documentation.
The meat and potatoes:
You can boot your switch in installed mode by booting the software package provisioning file that resides in flash:
switch: boot flash:packages.conf
This means that it will unpacked the contents of the packages.conf file and load those items into RAM. This will utilize some of the RAM of the box but will save flash space. There are some limitations when using this mode. They are:
"The packages and provisioning file used to boot in installed mode must reside in flash. Booting in installed mode from usbflash0: or tftp: is not supported."
You can boot your switch in bundle boot mode by booting the bundle (.bin) file:
switch: boot flash:cat3850-universalk9.SSA.03.08.83.EMD.150-8.83.EMD.bin
The provisioning file contained in a bundle is used to decide which packages to boot, mount, and run. Packages are extracted from the bundle and copied to RAM. The ISO file system in each package is mounted to the root file system.
Unlike install boot mode, additional memory that is equivalent to the size of the bundle is used when booting in bundle mode.
Unlike install boot mode, bundle boot mode is available from several locations:
The special considerations here are:
1. Auto install and smart install functionality is not supported in bundle boot mode.
2. The AP image pre-download feature is not supported in bundle boot mode. For more information about the pre-download feature see the Cisco WLC 5700 Series Preloading an Image to Access Points chapter.
Some special considerations for switch stacks:
1. All the switches in a stack must be running in installed mode or bundle boot mode. A mixed mode stack is not supported. If a new switch tries to join the stack in a different boot mode then the active switch, the new switch is given a V-mismatch state.
2. If a mixed mode switch stack is booted at the same time, then all the switches except for the active switch is given a V-mismatch state. If the boot mode does not support auto-upgrade, then the switch stack members must be re-booted in the same boot mode as the active switch.
3. If the stack is running in installed mode, the auto-upgrade feature can be used to automatically upgrade the new switch that is attempting to join the switch stack.
4. The auto-upgrade feature changes the boot mode of the new switch to installed mode. If the stack is running in bundle boot mode, the auto-upgrade feature is not available. You will be required to use the bundle mode to boot the new switch so that it can join the switch stack.