[rancid] Re: 3Com Switches

Jethro R Binks jethro.binks at strath.ac.uk
Fri Mar 14 23:10:19 UTC 2008

On Fri, 14 Mar 2008, Andrew Brennan wrote:

> While 3Com's older switches are menu driven, I believe the 3300s and 
> 4xxx models all permit you to "overload" the command - effectively using 
> it as though there was a standard CLI.  You can't dump the config to 
> text where RANCID would then parse it, but you can script up a rather 
> simple wrapper and run a TFTP daemon to collect the configs (which are 
> text files, so if RANCID were then reading the files from the dump 
> directory ...)

Hmm, I didn't know the configs saved through tftp were text files, I'd 
always assumed they were binary.  But then I don't think I've ever looked 
... in that case your solution may well be viable and maybe I'll give it a 
whirl one day (although to be honest while we have a huge legacy of the 
older kit, most of our development concentrates on the newer H3C stuff).

I'm also minded to comment that there are two philosophies for using 
rancid; it is certainly useful as an actual backup tool, but you have to 
be aware that restoring one of those backups requires some care, 
especially if you've been stripping out sensitive information like SNMP 
strings (I can't remember the last time I actually needed the backup of a 
switch config).

In my environment, it's actually the other functions of rancid that are 
its most useful features - the notification of config changes and the 
ability to review changes over time through CVS.  I work in a team of 
several, and it works well for us to get notified of the changes others 
are making day-to-day.


> If you're familiar with Expect and the "autoexpect" script, either SSH or 
> Telnet into one of your switches, then issue this:
>     system backupConfig save <tftpd-ip> <filename> <notes-field>
> ... and you'll have your configs (mostly) backed up.  The backup process 
> leaves out a few security related bit of data (ssh keys, etc.) so you may
> need to include those later before you restore a config to a switch.  The
> autoexpect script builds a script to run exactly what you have typed.  If 
> you modify that script to read a few arguments when you start it, you'll
> be 95% done with your 4400 backup project.
> andrew.
> On Fri, 14 Mar 2008, Steve Ousley wrote:
> > Many thanks for the quick response Jethro, this is not the answer I wanted
> > (We use 3Com 4400's) but I'll have to live with it.  I can see why it's not
> > possible, and it's not too much of a problem, we will have to investigate
> > some other method of doing this.
> >
> > Cheers again.
> >
> > Steve
> >
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Jethro R Binks
Computing Officer, IT Services
University Of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

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