I’ve been thinking about Catalyst 6500 IOS upgrades lately. Those internal workhorses are usually not upgraded unless there are some specific reasons. Some of the Cat6500’s in my territory are running even 12.2(33)SXH releases, and SXH end-of-life announcement have already been made. That’s one reason for upgrading.
One other reason is the need to get the CPU utilization lower on those switches that are currently running modular version of SXI. We haven’t got any benefits from the software modularity, and CPU utilization seems to be lot lower with the traditional monolithic IOS. Also, Cisco have dropped software modularity for SXJ, and that pretty much completes the story for software modularity for Cat6500.
SXI has been available since 2008, and its extended maintenance will last until August 2012, and critical maintenance until August 2013. Latest SXI release is SXI7 from July 27 this year.
SXJ is the newest IOS release for Sup32 and Sup720, and it was announced in March this year. SXJ1 was released on June 30, so it is still very fresh. Extended maintenance is planned until March 21, 2013, and critical maintenance until September 21, 2013.
When comparing these maintenance periods, and noting the fact that SXJ is still a newcomer, for me it looks actually quite clear: SXI is the one that I should select for now. I’m not after any “fancy” new features (like mLACP…), just need to keep the systems running reliably.
12.2(50)SY is the first IOS release available for Sup2T. I may need to get my hands on Sup2T’s later this year, so I hope Cisco will publish SY1 or similar first rebuild before that to polish some stains that usually exist in the first release.
Cisco’s document about Catalyst 6500 12.2SX releases tell the facts about maintenance periods I quoted above: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps5718/ps708/prod_bulletin0900aecd804f0694.html
12.2SX new features lists: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/lan/catalyst6500/ios/12.2SX/release/notes/features.html
12.2SXJ resolved and open caveats lists: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/lan/catalyst6500/ios/12.2SX/release/notes/caveats_SXJ.html
12.2SXI (rebuilds) resolved and open caveats lists: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/lan/catalyst6500/ios/12.2SX/release/notes/caveats_SXI_rebuilds.html