While prepping for the dedicated server build out at our Michigan datacenter this past week, a five year-old Fortigate 200A decided not to come back up after it had lost power. Via the serial console I determined the burned-in BootROM was intact, but no matter how many times I tried it the Fortigate kept responding “You must format the boot device.”
I also attempted flashing the unit back to the FortiOS level that we use, which sort of succeeded except for the very handy message the console threw back claiming it “Couldn’t write to the CF device”.
CF you say? Could that possibly mean Compact Flash?
This particular 200A was out of contract anyway, so instead of calling in for a service replacement I decided to crack the cover and see what was inside…
Not a whole lot for your few thousand dollars of investment! But sure enough… see that little card with the orange sticker on it? Peel that off and you’ll find a standard Apacer 64MB Compact Flash. Now the next question–would putting a larger (and readily available) Compact Flash work?
I can definitely say: Yes, yes it does. A quick run to MicroCenter to pick up a $15 2GB CF card worked in the 200A without a single complaint. Lots of room for onboard logging now! Additionally, that mounting pad to the rear of the mainboard matches the screw layout for a hard disk perfectly–and there’s an IDE cable attachment to the board sitting right there too–just in case you want to upgrade your onboard storage while you’re at it.
If you have an older Fortigate and do a lot of onboard logging, you might want to remember that CF cards have a limited write-cycle life, just like any magnetic media. At least now you know you can replace it without much fuss!