Upgrading Your Cisco Memory

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Upgrading Your Cisco Memory Powered By Docstoc
					                                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

     Upgrading your computer memory is very cheap and you will be amazed at the speed and functionality that a
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                                                     Upgrading Your Cisco Memory
                                                             By Sterling Christian

  Almost all advanced Cisco routers and switches are equipped with the Cisco proprietary operating
systems called the IOS (Internetwork Operating System). Cisco PIX firewalls have a special operating
system, the PIX Finesse OS.

 In some versions of the IOS, there is a MIB (Management Information Base) module integrated into
the IOS operating system. The MIB is an operating system component included with all recent IOS
distributions that allows network administrators to view and manage device memory over the network.
MIB is prerequisite software for other applications that deal with Cisco memory management, reporting
data to RME (Resource Manager Essentials) and during installation of other additional software to a
given device.

 Before discussing the reasons to upgrade your router's memory, the following is description of the
different types of memory that used in a Cisco product.

Processor Memory

 This memory acts similar to the CPU cache in a computer, controlling all basic computing operations
of your switch or router. Regardless of any other memory being used, the processor memory is always
the first memory that is accessed and used. All the files needed for booting and essential system files
required for functioning for any Cisco device are stored in the processor memory. If you are using a
product that has IOS before 11.1, then the total of all types of memory is reported as the processor

Flash Memory Card/Disk or Cisco Memory Card

 The flash memory is a special type of programmable memory that is used to store images of the IOS
software on it, in addition the flash memory is used to upgrade versions of the router or switch being
used. The term 'flashing a product' means upgrading the version of IOS stored on the flash memory

Shared Memory/RAM (Random Access Memory)

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                                              Presented by Daniel Toriola

 The reason this is often referred to as the shared memory, is that it is erased every time the router is
restarted or when the memory is deliberately cleared. This memory is usually the easiest to upgrade.
The RAM stores all data that is temporary in nature, and upgrading the RAM usually helps improve the
speed and the computing power of the Cisco product. It is generally cheaper than Flash memory, and
manufactured both OEM by Cisco and by third party manufacturers, such as PC Wholesale.

 While PIX firewalls and the routers that IOS runs on ultimately have finite processing power, this is
often not the bottleneck that first limits their ability to grow. More often, IOS is hampered by having
allocated as much (or more) dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) than it has available. Older
firewalls and routers, which shipped with very small Cisco memory (Flash) cards, the factor limiting the
usefulness of the hardware may be the Operating System installed on it.

 IOS and PIX OS each have vastly larger memory footprints than they did as recently as a few years
ago, and the current versions of these operating systems require more memory than many devices are
equipped with. Both the RAM and Flash memory of a Cisco router can be upgraded. Such an upgrade
may significantly extend the longevity of a network operating with older equipment. Two of the principal
reasons to upgrade your devices memory to increase its speed and to run the most current version of
Cisco IOS.

Increasing speed

 Just like conventional computers, increasing the memory of a Cisco product increases its speed. If the
product is a Cisco router or switch that handles large amounts of data over the network, increasing the
RAM of the product can improve both the processing speed and the device's performance.

Upgrading the IOS

 For devices with Cisco IOS 11.1 or older the only way to improve its performance is to upgrade the
IOS. However, older Cisco hardware is usually not equipped with sufficient flash memory to store a
newer version of the IOS. In this case, the only option is to upgrade the flash memory of the Cisco
product. All versions of the Cisco IOS after version 11.1, used by most Cisco routers and non-firewall
hardware around the world, has functionality to report MIB values over the network via SNMP (Simple
Network Management Protocol), allowing network administrators and other authorized device
managers to make queries to the database from across the network. Obsolete versions of the IOS,
without the MIB module, do not have this functionality and can only report the size of processor

Sterling Christian writes exclusively for PC Wholesale. Sterling writes about the use, operation and
upgrading of Cisco and Sun Microsystems devices. PC Wholesale carries Cisco Approved memory,
Sun original memory, & third-party memory for all Sun and Cisco devices.

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                                                                                                       Page 2
                                            Presented by Daniel Toriola

                                What to Know Before Upgrading Your Cisco Router
                                                       By Sterling Christian

Expanding the capacity of any high bandwidth network is always an involved process. The actual cost
of upgrade hardware and the task of physically installing RAM memory into your Cisco routers'
expansion slots is simple enough, but most high-capacity data networks serve production
environments which demand fault-tolerance and as near to total uptime as possible. In order to build a
network that can be relied upon to guarantee this level of service, network engineers need to plan a
long way ahead. In addition to ensuring the servers, workstations, cabling and software can handle
increasing loads for years to come, when planning a new segment, a good engineer will consider the
possible lifetime cost and load of each and every crucial device on the network. This includes Cisco

 As it may be difficult to even temporarily disconnect a mission-critical router to upgrade its memory,
one way to "future proof" your network is to upgrade the device at purchase - prior to installation. This
may sound expensive, but in any truly high-bandwidth medium, the cost of downtime or loss of
connectivity far outweighs the safe option of upgrading your routers memory to the maximum before
installing it.

 If you do indeed decide to take the path of pre-upgrading a Cisco router for life, you will be choosing to
save yourself from ever having to take it out of commission in order to install new Cisco DRAM
memory or flash. Though the cost may be significant, not upgrading presents even more significant
risks. It's well known that a router is more likely to fail if it is run with insufficient RAM for it to cope with
its workload.

 This raises the question of Cisco memory will be enough over the lifetime of a given product.
Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to this question: How much RAM a Cisco router is going to
need changes depending on the enterprise and its scale, what sort of applications your network is (and
will be) supporting, and of course, which series router you're using. Cisco makes some forecasts and
recommendations available to customers to assist in making this judgment.

 Generally, upgrading to the maximum memory your router is capable of supporting takes some of the
guesswork out of this equation. The Cisco memory requirements for each are made available in
individual the product specifications, and Cisco lists which product lines will be supported at least 18
months in advance. In this way, a diligent network analyst may make fairly accurate predictions of what
their individual requirements will be for at least the next couple of years, and likely, much longer.

 After checking the installation procedure and maximum upgrade capacity for your particular Cisco
router, you have two options, either purchasing the memory directly from Cisco at a considerable
markup, or from a memory reseller such as PC Wholesale. Memory resellers offer a tremendous
advantage over purchasing directly from Cisco for the budget conscious company – many times their
prices can be up to 90% off Cisco’s list price, for the same exact memory!

Sterling Christian writes exclusively for PC Wholesale. Sterling writes about the use, operation and
upgrading of Cisco and Sun Microsystems devices. PC Wholesale carries Cisco Approved memory,
Sun original memory, & third-party memory for all Sun and Cisco devices.

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                                            Presented by Daniel Toriola

Related eBooks:

What to Know Before Upgrading Your Cisco Router
Cisco Memory Types and Their Function
Upgrade Your Memory and Hard Drive to Keep Your Desktop Running Longer
Selecting A Good Place For Cisco Certification For International Students
How A Cisco Network Engineer Can Shape The World

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