Cisco 870's and upgrading Flash memory

I recently upgraded my Cisco 877’s with additional Flash memory modules to max them out, and let them take the newer (larger) IOS images.

And I have to say, I hit an unexpected issue when I was doing the upgrade.  It seems the config files (as well as however the flash listing is stored) persists – even if you change out the Flash module. This resulted in the router attempting to boot an image that was no longer present (although when I checked later, it appeared in a dir flash: listing, with a zero file size), and ended up at rommon. A little bit of work later and I copied an IOS image over from my tftp server to the router, and restarted it.

The rommon commands for loading and IOS image by the way are (all the following are essential):

IP_ADDRESS=<ip address for router>
IP_SUBNET_MASK=<subnet mask of your network>
DEFAULT_GATEWAY=<gateway for network>
TFTP_SERVER=<ip of your tftp server>
TFTP_FILE=<filename of IOS Image>

Then enter tftpdnld and hit enter - this actually starts the download.

One router recovered, one didn’t – it just complained about being out of memory, and crashed.

I dropped back into rommon, reset the configuration register to 0x2142 so that it would try loading with no configuration – incredibly it worked. After wiping the saved config (copy running-config startup-config, while booted with no config, and resetting the configuration register) the router worked happily – all I had to do was plug all the settings back in.

It took me a while (not helped by forgetting to save the first time around!), but I eventually got there. I really don’t understand why the router was complaining to start with – both are running near identical configurations, on the same hardware revision – and that even after reconfiguring everything back to how it was, it is now still behaving.

Most odd – one thing to bear in mind, it seems, when upgrading Cisco’s is that you might need to prune your config if it fails to boot your new IOS … that and, always keep your console cable handy!!!

Real-Time Analytics: The Results

For just under a month, I’ve been looking at two real-time analytics services, looking to move my analytics requirements away from Google Analytics – fed up with the fact that Google can not give us a real-time display of what is happening on our websites.

Enter the two contenders:

GoSquared

Clicky / GetClicky

I have to admit, when I first signed up for the two services and logged in, I was initially underwhelmed by the user interface on Clicky, and equally overwhelmed with the one provided by GoSquared. One has gone for an exceptionally simple, clean, functional design (Clicky), and the other has gone for an amazing Web 2.0 style dashboard, complete with the movable / customisable panels etc.

Some quick pros and cons of each, in my opinion:

Clicky

Pros

Really simple UI; Really simple presentation of information

It has a simple API ( more on this in a bit )

Cons

Using Flash graphs Sad smile

Restrictive Goal provisioning (funnels are too restrictive)

Very low number of sub user accounts

Go Squared

Pros

Also has an API, but you really have to dig for it

Absolutely beautiful Dashboard overview of your website

Cons

Very Heavy UI, lots of JavaScript (obviously) means it takes just that little longer than is comfortable to load.

UI doesn't fit comfortably on smaller / half widescreen browser sizes.

Unintuitive user interface. You really have to stop and think when using it to find anything but the realtime information.

 

As you can see, I struggle to actually find anything really unique, defining functional differences between the two – apart from the UI, there is really no difference.

For me to use products, and I’m sure many other people feel the same way, they should be quick, react well when I am using them, and not mislead me. If I have to stop and think, or read a help file, or go Google to get back to their site (but on the right page!), something has failed. Out of these two products, the only one that fell into the “I’d use it” category, was Clicky. No matter how much I loved looking at the GoSquarded Dashboard, it just wasn’t what I wanted. I want something usable. Yes, the graphs are perfect. Yes the information is all there. BUT it takes too long to get there.

Now, why am I making such a big thing about these services providing API’s? It’s all well and good having web applications, but seriously, we are all chained to PC’s most of the working day in this game, and we want to keep an eye on things.  Having an API to a real-time analytics site lets you pull down information – pretty much whatever you want – and feed it into any of your business applications, or in my case, a small local dashboard that sits on my PC Smile

If you too are looking to make the leap from the old-school boring “wait a day” analytics, to something more real-time and don’t want to take a backward step in functionality I would suggest that you do as I did: Sign up for a trial account with BOTH Clicky and Go Squared, and give them a shot.  What suits me might not suit you!

As it happens, I’m now a paid member on Clicky, and will probably be releasing our internal dashboard application soon.

What would I like these guys to do next? Get support for the Silverlight Application Analytics Framework Smile