Auvik Networks Helping Cisco Partners Solve Faulty Clock Signal Component Problem Faster

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software vendor Auvik Networks wants Cisco channel partners to know there is help available as they face the daunting task of identifying customers whose Cisco equipment contains a faulty third-party clock signal component that could cause system failure after 18 months of use.

Auvik is reaching out to managed service providers (MSPs) to help them identify the deployed networking products affected by the component malfunction.

"We sent out a notification to all of our partners who have Cisco gear on their networks that are affected, and all of them are saying, 'Oh my God, you just saved me so much time from going through and looking for things one-by-one,'" said Alex Hoff, vice president of sales and product at Ontario, Canada-based Auvik, in an interview with CRN. "We're making it easier than it would have been … We'll be happy to share the data with Cisco partners reaching out to us."

[Related: 10 Things You Need To Know About Cisco's Clock Signal Failure And Product Replacement Priorities]

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The clock component issue impacts some of Cisco's popular product lines including Adaptive Security Appliance firewalls, Nexus switches, Meraki cloud-based managed switches and Integrated Service Routers. Cisco has cautioned that once the "component has failed, the system will stop functioning, will not boot and is not recoverable." Cisco says products from other technology vendors also use the faulty third-party component but has declined to name them.

Auvik is working with its MSP partners who manage Cisco networking gear to quickly identify the exact Cisco products with the faulty component on client networks. Solution providers are scrambling to determine which customer devices are affected in order to get those units replaced by Cisco as soon as possible, said Hoff.

Many MSPs don't have accurate or up-to-date information about the devices on their client networks and will potentially need to run hundreds of commands to identify whether or not a device is impacted, he said.

"They saved me at least two or three days of work," said Robinson Roca, lead network engineer for BBH Solutions, a New York, NY. -based solution provider who partners with Cisco and Auvik. "It let me report back to our clients much faster rather than having to do all the work collecting information, compiling it, divvying it up amongst all the clients and then producing an actual list to our clients. That speed is important too in this recall because once the product has been running for a certain amount of time, it fails."

Using Auvik software, solution providers can create a list of affected devices instantly, he said. Auvik’s network-focused RMM provides visibility and control of infrastructure devices, such as routers, switches, and firewalls. The software's automated real-time network inventory capabilities can provide Cisco partners with device information such as make, model, serial number, and firmware.

Roca said within hours of contacting Auvik for assistance, the vendor sorted through 7,000 pieces of equipment the solution provider sold to find the 45 affected Cisco devices that were in production. BBH Solutions was given a report of all its Cisco customers with affected devices in production along with important details such as serial numbers, he said.

"I initially started the work by hand, which meant I would have to go through my database, look at all of the pieces of equipment that we've sold, parse it down to the model affected, then … log into each piece of equipment," said Roca. "I was able to get back to my all clients one day later with a full report … [Auvik] was the perfect solution for this situation."

Auvik's Hoff said it takes approximately two minutes to create a report for an Auvik partner that identifies the customer and impacted products. For Cisco partners who do not have a partnership with Auvik, getting its software up and running only takes about 15 minutes, he said.

"What we've done is say, 'Why don't we just give you a quick report? Here's the device. Here's the make, the model, the serial number, the IP address its on and which client it's on. Then you guys can take the appropriate corrective action with Cisco,'" said Hoff. "When [Cisco partners] reach out, we're more than welcomed to help them."

"If someone has hundreds of these [impacted] devices out of the field, letting them know where they all are takes about 15 to 20 minutes on each customer site to get this system deployed, up and running, and gathering all the data. Once we have the data, we can run the report," he said. "With all this data, it's making partners lives so much easier."

Cisco itself has custom reporting tools available to partners that quickly scan a customers' install base for exposed devices. "We also have a robust internal escalation process that Cisco account teams can initiate for any customers and partners requiring special assistance," said Nirav Sheth, senior director, Global Partner Organization Solutions, Architectures & Engineering at Cisco, in a blog post.