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 BIG-IP Configuration utility or tmsh. This data consists of traffic management elements such as virtual servers, pools, and profiles. Configuration data also consists of system and network definitions such as interface properties, self IP addresses, VLANs, and more.
Once you have created the configuration data for the BIG-IP system, you can replicate all of this set of data in a separate file. You can then use this replicated data later, for these reasons:
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:
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.
By default, the system stores all archives in the directory /var/local/ucs. You can specify a different location, but in this case, the BIG-IP Configuration utility does not display the UCS files when you view the list of archives
After you create an archive on the BIG-IP® system, you can download a copy of the UCS file to the system from which you are running the BIG-IP Configuration utility (a secure 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 BIG-IP system directory in which you saved the archive, you still have a backup copy of the data.
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.