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Manual Chapter: BIG-IP® Network and System Management Guide: 16 - Saving and Restoring Configuration Data
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16

Saving and Restoring Configuration Data


Introducing archives

On any BIG-IP system, you have a set of data that you created when you initially configured the system, using the Setup utility and the Configuration utility. This data consists of traffic management elements such as virtual server definitions, pool definitions, and profiles. Configuration data also consists of system and network definitions such as interface properties, self IP addresses, VLAN configurations, redundant system settings, and more. Using the Archives feature, you can back up the current configuration data, and if necessary, restore the data at a later time. We highly recommend that you use this feature to mitigate the potential loss of BIG-IP system configuration data.

What is an archive?

Before you replace a version of the BIG-IP system with a newer version, you should always create an archive, which is a backup copy of the configuration data. This archive is in the form of a user configuration set, or UCS. Then, if you need to recover that data later, you can restore the data from the archive that you created.

A UCS contains the following types of BIG-IP system configuration data:

  • System-specific configuration files
  • Product licenses
  • User accounts and password information
  • Domain Name Service (DNS) zone files
  • Installed SSL keys and certificates

Each time you back up the configuration data, the BIG-IP system creates a new file with a .ucs extension. Each UCS file contains various configuration files needed for the BIG-IP system to operate correctly, as well as the configuration data.

Note

To create or restore an archive, you must have the Administrator role assigned to your user account.

Working with archives

Using the Configuration utility, you can save and restore archives that are stored on the BIG-IP system. Furthermore, for added security, you can save archives to and restore archives from a remote system, that is, the system on which you are running the Configuration utility.

Saving archives

On the BIG-IP system, the system stores all archives in the directory /var/local/ucs. When you create an archive, you cannot store the UCS file in a different directory. However, after you create the archive and it is stored in the /var/local/ucs directory, you can download a copy of the UCS file to the system from which you are running the Configuration utility (a remote system). This provides an extra level of protection by preserving the configuration data on a remote system. In the unlikely event that you need to restore the data, and a BIG-IP system event prevents you from accessing the archive in the /var/local/ucs directory, you still have a backup copy of the data.

Important

When creating an archive, you must assign a name to the archive file that matches the name of the BIG-IP system. For example, if you are creating an archive for a BIG-IP system named bigip2, the archive file must have the name bigip2.ucs.
Important

If your configuration data includes SSL keys and certificates, be sure to store the archive file in a secure environment.

Restoring archives

Not only is the /var/local/ucs directory the only location on the BIG-IP system in which you can save an archive, but it is also the only location on the BIG-IP system from which you can restore an archive. However, if you previously downloaded an archive to a remote system, and a BIG-IP system event prevents you from accessing the /var/local/ucs directory, you can upload the archive from that remote system.

Synchronizing data for redundant systems

When you have a redundant system configuration, it is essential that the same set of configuration data exists on both units of the BIG-IP system. To synchronize configuration data, you use the High Availability screens in the System area of the Configuration utility. To mitigate against data loss, however, you use the Archives screens.

We recommend that you use the Archives feature to routinely create an archive of the configuration data on each unit of the redundant system. Note, too, that when you synchronize configuration data for a redundant system, the BIG-IP system automatically creates a backup archive, named cs_backup.ucs, immediately prior to performing the synchronization. This ensures that you always have a copy of the most recent configuration data, in the event that a system event occurs during the synchronization process. For more information on synchronizing configuration data, see Chapter 13, Setting up a Redundant System .

Managing archives

As described in Introducing archives , you can create, store, and access archives, on both the BIG-IP system and a remote system. You can also view any existing archive files and their properties, as well as delete archives that you no longer need. Specifically, you can use the Configuration utility to:

  • View a list of existing archives
  • Create a new archive and store it on the BIG-IP system
  • View the properties of an existing archive
  • Restore data from a BIG-IP system archive
  • Download a copy of an archive to another system
  • Upload a copy of an archive that you previously saved to another system
  • Delete an existing archive from the BIG-IP system

Viewing a list of existing archives

You can view a list of archives (that is, UCS files) that are currently stored in the /var/local/ucs directory on the BIG-IP system. When you view a list of archives, the Configuration utility displays the following information:

  • The name of the UCS file
  • The date that the UCS file was created or uploaded
  • The size of the file, in kilobytes
Note

Whenever you last upgraded the BIG-IP system to a new version, you were required to create a UCS file named config.ucs, using the bigpipe config save command. This UCS file appears in the list of UCS files on the Archives screen.

To view a list of existing archives

On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives. The Archives screen opens, displaying a list of existing UCS files.

Creating and saving an archive on the BIG-IP system

You can create a new archive, which the BIG-IP system automatically stores in the directory /var/local/ucs. You can create as many separate archives as you want, as long as each archive has a unique file name. Note that the BIG-IP system cannot store the archive in any BIG-IP system directory other than /var/local/ucs. For more information on storing UCS files, see Introducing archives .

When you create an archive, you configure some settings, such as a setting to encrypt the archive file for security reasons. Table 16.1 lists and describes these settings, and shows their default values.

Table 16.1 Settings for creating an archive
Setting
Description
Default Value
File Name
Specifies the file name for the archive. You do not need to specify the UCS file name extension. The BIG-IP system appends the UCS extension automatically.
No default value
Encryption
Enables or disables encryption of the archive. If you select Enabled, two other settings, Passphrase and Verify Passphrase, appear on the screen.
Disabled
Passphrase
Specifies a password that a user must use to decrypt an archive.
No default value
Verify Passphrase
Specifies the password that you defined with the Passphrase setting.
No default value
Private Keys
Specifies whether to include or exclude private keys in the archive.
Include
Version
Displays the version of the BIG-IP system application that is currently running on the BIG-IP hardware platform. You cannot configure the Version setting.
No default value

To create an archive

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives.
    The Archives screen opens.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click Create.
    The New Archive screen opens.
  3. In the File Name box, type a unique file name for the archive.
    We recommend that the file name match the name of the BIG-IP system. For example, if the name of the BIG-IP system is bigip2, then the name of the archive file should be bigip2.ucs. For more information, see Working with archives .
  4. If you want to encrypt the archive, locate the Encryption list and select Enabled.
  5. Note: If the Encryption setting is unavailable, you must configure the Archive Encryption setting located on the Preferences screen. For more information, see the description of the Configuration utility in Chapter 1, Introducing BIG-IP Network and System Management .
  6. If you want the BIG-IP system to include any private keys, locate the Private Keys list and select Include.
    In this case, be sure to store the archive file in a secure environment.
  7. Click Finished.

Viewing archive properties

Using the Configuration utility, you can view the properties of an archive that you previously created. Note that you cannot modify the properties of an archive. If you want to modify an archive, you must delete the archive you want to change and then create a new one.

The properties of an archive that you can view are:

  • The name of the archive
  • The version of the BIG-IP system on which the archive was created
  • The encryption state of the archive (encrypted or unencrypted)
  • The date that the archive was created
  • The size of the archive, in kilobytes

To view the properties of an archive

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives.
    The Archives screen opens.
  2. In the Name column, click the name of the archive that you want to view.
    This displays the properties of that archive.

Restoring data from a BIG-IP system archive

In the unlikely event that the BIG-IP system configuration data becomes corrupted, you can restore the data from the archive that is currently stored in the directory /var/local/ucs. If no archive exists in that directory, then you cannot restore configuration data.

Important

The name of the archive must match the host name of the BIG-IP system you are restoring. For example, if the host name of the BIG-IP system you are restoring is bigip2, then the name of the archive must be bigip2.ucs. If necessary, you can change the host name of the BIG-IP system to match the name of the archive.

To restore data from a BIG-IP system archive

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives.
    The Archives screen opens.
  2. In the File Name column, click the name of the archive that you want to use to restore the configuration data.
    This displays the properties of that archive.
  3. Click Restore.
    This restores the BIG-IP system configuration data.

Downloading an archive to a remote system

As described in the section Introducing archives , you can download a copy of an existing archive to a remote system, that is, the system from which you ran the Configuration utility to create the archive. This feature protects the configuration data in the unlikely event that the BIG-IP system experiences a system catastrophe.

When you download an existing archive, you first display the properties of the archive you want to download, and then specify the complete path name of the location to which you want to save the archive copy.

To download an archive

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives.
    The Archives screen opens.
  2. In the File Name column, click the name of the archive that you want to view.
    This displays the properties of that archive.
  3. For the Archive File setting, click the Download: <.ucs filename> button.
    A confirmation screen appears.
  4. Click Save.
    The BIG-IP system downloads a copy of the UCS file to the system from which you initiated the download.

Uploading an archive from a remote system

If you previously downloaded a copy of an archive to a remote system (that is, the system from which you initiated the download), you can upload that archive to the BIG-IP system at any time. This is most useful when a BIG-IP system event has occurred that has caused the archive stored on the BIG-IP system to either become unavailable or corrupted for some reason.

Note that when you upload a copy of an archive, you must specify the exact path name for the directory in which the downloaded archive copy is stored.

To upload an archive

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives.
    The Archives screen opens.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click Upload.
    This opens the Upload screen.
  3. In the File Name box, type the complete path and file name of the archive that you want to upload onto the BIG-IP system.
    If you do not recall the path or file name, you can use the Browse button to locate and select the file name.
  4. For the Options setting, check the Overwrite existing archive file box if you want the BIG-IP system to overwrite any existing archive file.
  5. Note: The BIG-IP system overwrites an existing file with the uploaded file only when the name of the archive you are uploading matches the name of an archive on the BIG-IP system.
  6. Click Upload.
    This uploads the specified archive to the directory /var/local/ucs on the BIG-IP system.

Deleting an archive

You can use the Configuration utility to delete any archive on the BIG-IP system that is stored in the directory /var/local/ucs.

To delete an archive

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Archives.
    The Archives screen opens.
  2. In the File Name column, locate the name of the archive you want to delete.
  3. To the left of the archive name, check the Select box.
  4. Click Delete.
    A confirmation box appears.
  5. Click Delete again.
    This deletes the archive from the /var/local/ucs directory on the BIG-IP system.



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