Difference Between Cisco Pkg and Bin (With Table)

Cisco IOS File System (IFS) is a feature that acts as a single interface for all the files in the system that are available on the routing device. It is an integrated file system. There are many files available to manage software bundles and configuration files. The two main types of files are Cisco pkg and Cisco bin.

Cisco Pkg vs Bin

The main difference between Cisco pkg and the bin is that Cisco pkg stands for package file while bin stands for bundle file. Pkg helps in booting the device in the install mode while bin helps in booting the device in bundle mode.

Pkg contains several formats of files and can be installed on the device. It gets stored in the system board of the flash memory. The Cisco pkg file contains bundles of software and is termed as a set of Cisco IOS XE packages. It can provide information about the contents of a Cisco bundle.

While bin contains compressed binary files. The use of bin files in Cisco is to fasten the process of booting. It has two options of storage. The content and entire information are stored in a binary format and can be downloaded to local storage media.

Comparison Table Between Cisco Pkg and Bin

Parameters of ComparisonCisco PkgCisco Bin
Function Pkg file is used to boot the device in install mode from the IOS XE bundle itselfBin file is used to boot the device in a local or remote location
Storage location In installed mode, the pkg files are stored in the system board of flash memoryIn bundle mode, the bin files can be stored in the system board flash memory or USB flash memory
Retrieve informationInformation about pkg file can be displayed using show version running in privileged EXEC commandInformation about bin file can be displayed using show software package in privileged EXEC mode
Upgrade procedure Package (pkg) files are expanded, copied to flash, provision files are updated, new installation packages are reflected, and reload is promoted The bundle (bin) file is downloaded to local storage media, the boot system is configured to variable point in the bundle file and switch is reloaded
Boot modeThe switch runs in the install modeThe switch runs in the bundle mode

What is Cisco Pkg?

Cisco pkg stands for Cisco IOS XE package files. These packages (pkg) files can be installed or the IOS XE bundle and can boot the switch from itself. The pkg file uses the command show version running to view information about pkg files which maybe even individual. The command is used in privileged EXEC mode.

The command show version displays different information in different modes. If the switch is in installed mode, it displays the location and name of the booted file which could be a provisioning file or a pkg file. If the switch is running in bundle mode, it displays the location and name of the booted Cisco file which could be of the bundle type.

The Cisco pkg can be copied from one stack member to another using the command software install source switch. The stack members may be running differently and can be swapped from one stack to another.

Another command called software install source switch can be used for switching from currently standby switch to active switches. These files are a package of installer files that is compressed and useful while installing a program. It is a container for applications.

What is Cisco Bin?

Cisco bin stands for Cisco IOS XE bundle files. These bundle (bin) files use the command called show software package to view information about the file. This command is used in privileged EXEC mode. The commands display a line as “System bundle file is . . . “. This line can display the booted Cisco IOS XE bin file’s name and location.

The bin files are stored in a system board of flash memory. The method of upgrading in the bundling mode of Cisco IOS XE software is by downloading the bundle or bin file and copying it to local storage media, configuring the boot system of global configuration from the variable.

It points to the bin file and then a copy of the running configuration is saved. In the end, the switch is reloaded. Bin file helps boot the device in bundle boot mode. It provides packages like the boot, runs, or mount. It also provides additional memory in devices like switches, routers, and firewalls. Bin is the binary executable file.

During loading, it uses memory space like RAM. Bin file makes booting faster. It loads directly on a chunk of memory and does not need initialization or interpretation of the binary code.

Main Differences Between Cisco Pkg and Bin

  1. Cisco pkg stands for Cisco IOS XE package files while Cisco bin file stands for Cisco IOS XE bundle files.
  2. The Cisco pkg files are stored in the system board of memory while Cisco bin files are stored in two ways either in the system board flash memory as a flash: or in the USB flash memory as usbflash0.
  3. The job of the pkg file used to boot the device from the IOS XE bundle itself while the job of the bin file is the make the booting process faster from a local or remote location.
  4. Pkg file works in install mode of Cisco while bin file works in bundle mode of Cisco.
  5. The information and content from the pkg file can be retrieved by using the command show version running while information retrieval from the bin file can be done by using the command show software package.

Conclusion

In Cisco, there is a flash file system to store files. It is a single flash device. The two main configuration files to customize and help in booting the Cisco IOS software are the pkg file and bin file.

Though both the file bundles help in efficient booting of the device, their way of storage and execution is different. Both the packages work on different modes. Pkg works on install mode while bin works on bundle mode, but the reversal or interchange of both the modes is easy and possible.

References

  1. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.200.9123&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  2. http://docstore.mik.ua/univercd/cc/td/doc/product/software/ios122/122relnt/122srrn.pdf
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