best practice - power cycle cisco gear

What is best practice rebooting cisco gears?
We are running Cisco 6500,3500,2900,4500,2800 series l2/l3 equipments,
how often should we power cycle cisco eqipments?
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goss34Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi bsohn417,

As far as im aware there is no way to shutdown a switch/router while in the configuration interface it has to be a physical power off.

Not sure about the standard for power cycling but we have a monthly power down to test electrical appliances which means at least once every 6 months each device is powered off and on.

JFrederick29Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Never unless it becomes necessary due to a software upgrade or hardware installation.  This equipment doesn't require routine maintenance reboots like servers.
bob_the_builderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Another instance is when you should do this is when you are performing mock drills for disaster recovery - See for best practises on this.


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bsohn417Author Commented:
I just want make sure there no perfomance impact if the switch on for over 300 days.

JFrederick29Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Nope, I've come across routers with 7+ year uptime.  Of course in good practice, equipment will probably not run that long based on upgrades, etc...
bsohn417Author Commented:
Thanks so much for quick response

nrpanchalConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Dear Author,

There is no command to shutdown Cisco gear gracefully.
I've seen many Cisco devices Up for more than 3 years (mostly at ISPs / Data Centers) working absolutely fine.

However, many big organizations follow a policy of rebooting their devices if Uptime is more than One year. (In some cases Two/Three years). So you can also think of putting such policy in place.

If device is going EoL (end of life/support) soon and you are not going to replace , it is advisable to reboot it. Just in case you require support from Cisco after rebooting, you can get it for last time.

nayan panchal
Aaron StreetConnect With a Mentor Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
reload command ??  from the enable prompt??

does that not reboot a router in a decent fasion?

I agree there is no need to powercycle a router (i have switchs that have been up for 5 + years) but with a reload command at least you dont need to be physialy by the switch.

Routers are designed to run for long periods, and although I have seen routers come up with memories error. This is generaly due to misconfigeration.

Routers work in a much cleaner way than servers.

The operating system is ccompletly seperate to the config. By this i mean taht unlike windows where installing software can change the OS files. the IOS of a ccisco swith is never altered by config changes.

also the config is saved as a simple text file (startup.text)

so as long as you have copies the running config to startup, then pulling the plug, reloading the router will nevver causes crouption, becasue the binary copy on the ios in the flash, and the config file anre never written to or read from while the swith is operation.

when the router boots it makes a copie of the ios to its memory, tehn reads the startup config in to the running config. this makes them extreamly ressilent to crouption casue by power cuts or in fact most other errors. you can simple pull the plug and power up again..

The only issue to be aware of when reloading a router is that you have copied the running config to start up.. if you don't you will lose your config!!

one otehr reson to use a relaod command is that if you have not saved you config it will prompt you to do so.. you can also set a time for reboot. (usefull if you have upgraded the ios during the day), but dont want to have to stay around to reboot it out of hours, you can simple tell it to relaod at 10:30pm.

the fact that once a swith boots it not longer acccess the ios bin file also means you can delete the file of the flash with out affecting the routers operation. (unless of course you try to reboot it then!) or indeed a new config. and the router will carry on running as normal untill its rebooted. (imagen being able to delete windows of a server, install the new version, all with the server still running as normal and no inpact on its proformance. then with a simple reboot taking 2 min have it come back  running the exact same config as before, but with an upgraded os and the new functions ready to be implemented!!)

But as every one else has said, switchs and routers do not need rebooting as a rule, if you dont need to dont do it!!
Aaron StreetConnect With a Mentor Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
Oh in efffect the Relaod command does the same as switching the router on and off. it simple cuts the power through software and relaods the ios and config. you will not damage a router by using the power switch.. they are designed to be power cycled this way.
lrmooreConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Just to add to the above - many Cisco switches don't even have a power switch. The only way to fully power cycle them is to pull the power cable out. Generally speaking, there is no good reason to power cycle a switch or router "just because".  
It's easy to do soft reboots using the reload command. You can schedule reloads at specific times, days, or in x minutes.
If you ever do plan to power cycle a Cisco device, make sure you save the config first. I've seen way too many times where someone powers off a switch, perhaps to move it in the rack for better cable management, only to figure out that there had been numerous changes to the config that did not get saved. Many hours get expended tracking down what does/does not work and why.
lanboyoConnect With a Mentor Commented:
In general, as stated there is no need to power cycle a router or switch to ensure code stability. Keeping the ios current from security patches usually means the device geta a reload once a year or so.

I have seen a case for power cycling an entire site to make sure that equipment will be in good shape when it gets a real power hit, but to be honest I have caused more outages that last into the am business hours than I have likely prevented. The danger is power supplies that just don't make it through another power cycle. When this happens due to a commercial outage, it isn't usually blamed on you, and the users usually take a long lunch and business disruption is less than the surprise network test that turns into an outage.

So if you do a site power test, make sure that you have full redundancy, and/or a replacement for every device that has a power supply.

However, a policy of writing startup to a backup config and running to startup every night is a good thing, and quite scriptable.

You will then have a good idea if the other startup killer, flash gone bad, is a problem.
Aaron StreetConnect With a Mentor Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
To give you an idea of how long a switch can reamin on for,

Some of ciscos large corprate switchs are designed to be able to be updated with out a reload.. allowing 100% uptime for years at a time, while allowing you to keeping them uptodate.

As for power testin the equipment, I would sugest all network equipment is on good quility UPS and surge protection. this will help elemitate many problems tah can come from power surgers
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