Issue With Hard Drive Firmware on MCS7825-I4, MCS7828-I4 and MCS7816-I4 Servers

Paul Smith
Senior Engineer I

This blog deals with a problem which was ongoing from October 2010 until February 2011.  It looks like it has finally settled down a bit (in other words a workable fix has been found), but it’s still not too widely publicized.

A posting on Cisco’s NetPro states that there are firmware issues with the hard drives in 7825-I4, 7828-I4m and 7816-I4 servers. The posting can be found here:

The upshot of the post is that a technician knows that a server is in the middle of having the problem caused by this firmware if the following error is seen on the monitor:

EXT3-fs error (device sda6) in start_transaction: Jornal has aborted

Also, if the technician can log into an SSH session, the following information will be displayed: /var/log/active/platform/log/cli.bin (Read-only
file system) at Method)


at sdMain.main(
log4j:ERROR No output stream or file set for the appender named [CLI_LOG]

The issue is something that has been seen on specific servers with hard drives listed as model

“WD2502ABYS-23B7A”, and a firmware version of “3B04”. The model and firmware versions can be seen by logging into the CLI of the server and issuing the “show hardware” command.

Again, looking at the NetPro document is worthwhile because it goes into a lot of detail about the problem, and because the document is being updated frequently as IBM and Cisco work together to arrive at a resolution that they feel is completely satisfactory. 

We encountered this issue both just before the NetPro article was posted, as well as just after.  If you are interested in reading our (rather long) narrative about our experiences click here for the full version.

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.