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How to perform netinstall on VDX 6740 and 6940 via USB?

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TitleHow to perform netinstall on VDX 6740 and 6940 via USB?
Question
Steps for repairing: vdx reboot loop, vdx boot loop, vdx corrupt filesystem, vdx corrupt file system, vdx corrupt compact flash, vdx reboot loop after upgrade

Starting with NOS 6.x, firmwarecleaninstall is no longer a reliable method to recover switches. So, the preferred method now is to use netinstall.

The netinstall process will re-partition and format the switch's compact flash. So, all existing data on the local switch's compact flash will be erased!

Netinstall will install the firmware like a new switch. This can be useful when a switch is experiencing the following issues and it will take too long to fix manually:
  • One of the GOS partitions (SW/0 or SW/1) is missing
  • Switch cannot fully boot up due to a software issue (ex:Firmware upgrade or downgradewent wrong and now the switch will not boot, switch is in a reboot loop)
  • Corrupted file system or CF (compact flash)
Note: Netinstall WILL NOT FIX hardware issues (ports not working, compact flash SCSI read/write errors, etc.).
A non-Brocade branded USB may work for this, but limited testing has been done. A Brocade-branded USB (one which was shipped with VDX switches) is preferred and have been confirmed to will work for the netinstall process.
Environment
  • Network OS
  • VDX Series
Answer
After entering the bootprom, boot images will need to be loaded from the USB formatted with an EXT2 filesystem in order to boot into the recovery environment. To format the USB with EXT2 in Windows, the following will be needed:
The specific items required for:
  • 6740/6940 Netinstall can be downloaded here

These items will need to be downloaded before proceeding with the steps below for the netinstall process.
  1. Open Mini Partition Manager (PartitionWizard.exe), right-click on the USB drive, then delete and create a new EXT2 partition:
NOTE: If using a large USB stick larger than 4GB, format the USB to be 2-4GB to reduce formatting time
 
  1. User-added image
    User-added image
    User-added image
     
  2. Once EXT2 partition is created, remove and re-insert the USB. Then install and launch the Paragon ExtFS for Windows.

    User-added image
     
  3. The newly formatted USB will be mounted automatically after which we can proceed with step 4. If not, choose the USB drive in Paragon and click "Mount"
  4. Copy the boot file folder (based on hardware platform. castorXX for the 6740/6940-36S and rigelMor for the 6940-144S) and NOS firmware to the USB drive.
  5. Click "Unmount" to unmount the USB drive (IMPORTANT: Make sure the unmount process is completed before removing the USB from the computer. Windows may show it as 'hung' task, but the cache files are being written to the USB. Give it 3-5 mins to for the write to complete and USB to unmount.)
  6. Reboot the VDX and choose the option 3 below to enter the command shell
    Hit ESC to stop autoboot:  5
    
    1) Start system.
    2) Recover password.
    3) Enter command shell.
    
    Option? 3
    
    Boot PROM password has not been set.
  7. Now, insert the USB stick into the switch and we are ready to perform the netinstall after booting into the boot prom.
    For the 6740/6940-36S:
    => usb reset 1 
    For the 6940-144S:
    => usb reset 0 
    
    The command below lists all the files copied to the usb 
    For the 6740/6940-36S:
    => ext2ls usb 0:1 
    <DIR>       1024 .
    <DIR>       1024 ..
    <DIR>       1024 lost+found
    <DIR>       1024 castorXX
    <DIR>       1024 nos6.0.2a
    
    For the 6940-144S:
    => ext2ls usb 0:1 
    <DIR>       4096 .
    <DIR>       4096 ..
    <DIR>       4096 lost+found
    <DIR>       4096 rigelMor
    <DIR>       4096 nos6.0.2a
    
      If all the files above are present, we can proceed with booting into the shell.
    For the 6740/6940-36S:
    => makesinrec 0x1000000; ext2load usb 0:1 2000000 castorXX/uImage;ext2load usb 0:1 3000000 castorXX/ramdisk.image;ext2load usb 0:1 4000000 castorXX/silkworm_bd131.dtb; bootm 2000000 3000000 4000000
    For the 6940-144S:
    => makesinrec 0x1000000; ext2load usb 0:1 2000000 rigelMor/uImage.new; ext2load usb 0:1 3000000 rigelMor/ramdisk.mercury.Aug; ext2load usb 0:1 4000000 rigelMor/silkworm_bd154.dtb; bootm 2000000 3000000 4000000
    
  8. Run dmesg to confirm which device the USB had been assigned to
    bash-2.04# dmesg | grep sd[abc]
    sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] 16076592 512-byte logical blocks: (8.23 GB/7.66 GiB)
    sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
    sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 23 00 00 00
     sda: sda1 sda2 sda3 sda4
    sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Attached SCSI removable disk
    sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 3913728 512-byte logical blocks: (2.00 GB/1.86 GiB)  <//---2GB USB
    sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
    sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 23 00 00 00
     sdb: sdb1
    sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
    Mount the USB and change the directory before amending the file permissions
    bash-2.04# mount -t ext2 /dev/sdb1 /load
    bash-2.04# cd /load
    bash-2.04# ls
    castorXX    lost+found  nos6.0.2a
    bash-2.04# cd nos6.0.2a/
    bash-2.04# chmod 755 *
    bash-2.04# ls -lh

    Ensure, `install' script has execute permissions
     
    bash-2.04# ls -lh install*
    -rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root        52.5k Feb  2  2016 install
    -rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         6.5k Feb  2  2016 install_verify
  9.  Install the software using the syntax below
    bash-2.04# ./install release; sync; reboot -f
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