Force10 MXL: Firmware Upgrade

Uploading new firmware image

MXL switches keep two firmware images – A and B. You can set either one of them to be active. Use the following command to list firmware version of all stack members and see which one is active:

 # show boot system stack-unit all


To upload firmware you will need a TFTP server. You can use TFTPD64 (also called TFTPD32), which can be downloaded from Philippe Jounin page here .

If the active firmware image is in A, upload new firmware to B. You’ll also be asked if you want to upload firmware to all switches in the stack.

# upgrade system tftp:// b:


At the time of upgrade the latest version was 9.7. This version was 2 weeks old and wasn’t recommended for use in production. Version 9.6 had a major bug. As a result version 9.5SP2 was chosen for the upgrade.

Double-check that new firmware has been successfully distributed to all switches:

 # show boot system stack-unit all


Backing up startup config

Make sure you do not miss this step. If something goes wrong and switch looses its config, you’ll have to recreate all configuration from scratch. Imagine the consequences.

# copy start tftp://

Reloading the stack

Once firmware is uploaded and config is saved, reload the stack. Be mindful that it’s a disruptive procedure and all links connected to the stack will go down. A reboot shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, but make sure you do that after hours.

# conf t
# boot system stack-unit all primary system b:
# exit
# copy run start
# reload

Confirm that the active firmware image is now B. And that concludes the switch stack upgrade.




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9 Responses to “Force10 MXL: Firmware Upgrade”

  1. Brian Says:

    A great step-by-step article, made life so much easier. Thank you!

  2. Adam Says:

    Hi, have you tried/tested upgrade without outage? If such option is supported by vendor. Thanks

    • niktips Says:

      Hi Adam, non-disruptive upgrade is not supported on stacked switches. After the upgrade both switches are restarted at once.

      Non-disruptive upgrade is supported only if you have two switches configured in a VLT domain.

  3. Dell Force10 Part 1: Initial Configuration | Niktips's Blog Says:

    […] My pair of switches were configured in a Virtual Link Trunking (VLT) domain. I’ll explain how VLT works later in the series. But from the upgrade point of view, each switch in a VLT domain is treated as a separate switch and has to be upgraded separately. If you decided to use a stack instead of VLT, you can find the upgrade process for a Force10 stack in my other post about Dell MXL switches here. […]

  4. JJ Says:

    great procedure ! does this apply to s4048 switches ? in case something goes wrong with the upgrade . is it possible to rollback by reloading system a:

  5. Neil Groulx Says:

    Anyone happen to know where I can get a copy of the latest FW?

    • niktips Says:

      Hi, Neil. If you have a valid support contract, you should be able to log in to the vendor support portal and download the firmware from it.

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