Brocade FWS-648G-POE RMA Process

Recently a Brocade switch crashed on me and I thought, “seems fitting”.  My overall experience with Brocade hasn’t been a good one.  Maybe this is because I was trained on Cisco equipment or because I have managed an HP/Cisco environment for 2 1/2 years prior?

One of my interns emailed me a list of ports that needed configuration for voice and data.  I attempted to connect via SSH and immediately my session was disconnected.  I started checking the obvious; was I trying to connect over wireless, did I have the correct IP address on my wired connection, could I connect to other devices?  Once I realized it was an issue at the switch I headed over to console in.

When I connected my screen immediately filled up with POE memory allocation errors.  I checked affected users and everyone was still able to access the network.  That’s a good sign, but not being able to manage the switch is a bad sign.

So begins the RMA process.  I contact our sales vendor and Brocade rep and let them know our findings.  Brocade came back and said it’s a defective switch and they will replace it.  Great!  I get an email with instructions on filing the RMA request.  I need to register an account, the switch, then submit a request.  Sounds easy enough…

I register my account on and am directed to an old Foundry Knowledge Portal (Foundry was bought out by Brocade) and can’t access the site with my recently registered account.  I reach out to my contacts and they say it takes 24 hours for the new account to propagate.  Ok, no worries I’m just glad this wasn’t a gotta have it now situation.

24 hours pass and still no access.  Ok this is annoying.  I reach out to my POC’s and let them know about my trouble.  They come back with some very interesting news, the Foundry KP I was told to use is no longer active.

Back to I go to finally register the switch…but my password won’t work.  Maybe I forgot it?  I reset it, nothing.  I can’t login?!?!?!?!?  After many password reset attempts I finally get into the site.  I register the switch, so now it’s time to file the RMA!

One hitch…it takes 4-6 hours for the system to propagate the newly registered switch.  😦  So by the time the switch propagates down I’m at home with my family.  I’m not filing the RMA from home(under different circumstances I would have…ie the switch isn’t functional, remember it still passed data at this point), so first thing in the morning I file the RMA.  A while later I get an email confirming that my RMA had been accepted…wait for it….and would take 24 hours to process.

Does it take 24 hours to process prior to shipping or does the 24 hour process involve my overnight shipping time?  I assumed and feared that it would still be 24 hours before my switch would ship and I was right.  24 hours later, of course I did not receive shipping notifications, the switch went out.  I filed the RMA on Wednesday and received the switch late Friday afternoon.

I got the switch, replaced it, now I just need to send the borked switch back.  I package everything, slap on the return shipping label, and fill out the sender information.  There’s one problem, I don’t have an RA#, return authorization, and the label has a blank field for it.  Honestly I’ve never returned an item that didn’t have an RMA or RA number clearly labeled on the package.

I dig through the paperwork that shipped with the new switch, all two papers worth, and find nothing.  Ok, it must be on  I don’t get off that easy, not only is the sites styling all jacked up in IE 8 and FF3.6, but there’s no record of my RMA to be found.

I reach out to my contacts, again, and I’m still waiting.  How is it this difficult to get either the RA# or clarification on return directions?  Maybe this is why I’ve never heard one good testimonial about Brocade.


About snappwku

I'm still figuring me out...
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