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Cisco Email Security Appliance

ESA FAQ: Will I receive an alert email notification if my security appliance experiences a hardware failure?

Document ID: 118064

Updated: Jul 24, 2014

Contributed by Nasir Shakour and Robert Sherwin, Cisco TAC Engineers.

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Introduction

This document describes alert email notifications generated based on hardware failures for Cisco security appliances.

Will I receive an alert email notification if my security appliance experiences a hardware failure?

Yes, and no. Cisco security appliances have self-monitoring capabilities and can generate alert email notifications when certain hardware conditions occur.  These alert notifications can be controlled using the alertconfig command. 

Using alertconfig, you can establish a list of email addresses to receive all alert messages generated by your security appliance.  You can also have copies of these alert messages sent to Cisco customer support, as well as a weekly summary of the performance characteristics of your appliance.

Alert messages are designed to let you know about critical system issues that require some intervention. Because alert messages are sent through a different email system running on the appliance, they can even be sent when there are problems within AsyncOS. 

The AsyncOS operating system generating alert messages has limited visibility into the underlying hardware. While AsyncOS does have knowledge of the status of the disk I/O RAID subsystem, it does not have knowledge of problems reported by the system motherboard itself, such as a fan or power supply failure.  This means that problems within the disk subsystem, such as failure of a disk drive or the requirement for a cache battery replacement, will be sent via the alert system.

Other problems, such as fan failure causing overtemperature within the system, will not be sent via alerts.  Instead, these problems will be detected by the system BIOS and will be reported by the front panel display. AsyncOS does not have the capability to trap and alert based on these errors.

On all security appliances, the front panel has a visible status indicator that can be in one of four states:

  • Off -- The system is turned off.
  • On, Blue -- The system is operating normally.
  • Blinking, Blue -- The system is operating normally, this is a system identificaiton light.
  • Blinking, Orange -- A hardware fault is present.

It is recommended that you check the system status indicator on a daily basis. For more information, refer to:

The most common messages on IronPort appliances are:

  • E0119/TEMP (may show as TEMP ABIENT, TEMP BP, TEMP CPU 1 (or 2), TEMP SYSTEM) - the temperature of the system is out of acceptable range.  This usually indicates a failed cooling fan.  In a newly installed system, it may indicate a mis-installed processor heat sink.
  • E0212/VOLT (may show as VOLT 3.3, VOLT 5, VOLT 12, VOLT BATT, VOLT BP 3.3, VOLT BP 5, VOLT CPU VRM, VOLT NIC 1.8V, VOLT NIC 2.5V, VOLT PLANAR REG) - one or more voltages within the system are out of acceptable range.  This usually indicates a faulty power supply.  In a newly installed system, it may indicate loose cables or infant failure of components.  The VOLT BATT message indicates a faulty system battery. 
  • E0412/RPM FAN - one of the cooling fans within the system enclosure is not spinning fast enough (or is missing).  The fan needs immediate replacement.
  • E0876/POWER PS or E0880/INSUFFICIENT PS - one of the power supplies is missing, unplugged, or malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. 
  • E0CB2/MEM SPARE BANK or E0CF1/(multiple codes) or E0CF5/(multiple codes) - memory errors within the system have exceeded acceptable limits.  One or more memory modules are defective or improperly installed.  In a newly installed system, reseating memory modules may resolve this error. 
  • E0F04/POST (may show as POST CMOS, POST CPU SPEED, POST DMA INIT, POST DMA REG, POST KYB CNTRL, POST MEM RFSH, POST PIC REG, POST SHADOW, POST SHD TEST, POST SIO, POST TIMER, POST ROM CHKSUM) - the system failed its POST (Power-On Self Test).  The system needs to be replaced. 

Other errors are also possible, but generally will show up on a newly installed system indicating either shipping damage or infant failure of components.  For any hardware failure, it is critical that the system be maintained and repaired at the earliest opportunity.  Problems with power supplies and heat buildup brought on by fan failure can cause further damage inside of your security appliance.

Related Information

Updated: Jul 24, 2014
Document ID: 118064