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Release Note: PXE Installation: Performing a clean installation of BIG-IP version 9.4.2
Release Note

Updated Date: 09/21/2010


This technical note documents the process of performing a clean installation of the BIG-IP® software version 9.4.2 using a CD mounted on an installation server. For information about installing the software, please refer to the instructions below.


- Minimum system requirements and supported browsers
- Supported platforms
- About the installation
- Installing the software
- Contacting F5 Networks

Minimum system requirements and supported browsers

The minimum system requirements for this release are:

  • 512 MB RAM (if installed as a stand-alone Local Traffic Manager or Global Traffic Manager product)
  • 768 MB RAM (if installed as a combination of BIG-IP systems, such as a Local Traffic Manager/Global Traffic Manager installation, or as a Link Controller installation)
  • 512 MB CompactFlash® media drive

Note: The 520/540 platform must meet certain requirements in order to support this version of the BIG-IP software. For more information, including memory requirements, see 520/540 Platform: Installing BIG-IP version 9.4.2.

The supported browsers for the BIG-IP Configuration utility are:

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer®, version 6.x
  • Mozilla® Firefox®, version 1.5x and version 2.0x

Note that we recommend that you leave the browser cache options at the default settings.

Important: Popup blockers and other browser add-ons or plug-ins might affect the usability of the Configuration utility. If you experience issues with navigation, we recommend that you disable these types of browser plug-ins and add-ons.

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Supported platforms

This installation method is supported only on the following platforms:

  • BIG-IP 520 and 540 (D35), for more information, see 520/540 platform support.
  • BIG-IP 1000 (D39)
  • BIG-IP 1500 (C36)
  • BIG-IP 2400 (D44)
  • BIG-IP 3400 (C62)
  • BIG-IP 3410 (C100)
  • BIG-IP 4100 (D46) (for standalone Application Security Manager installations)
  • BIG-IP 5100 and 5110 (D51)
  • BIG-IP 6400 (D63)
  • BIG-IP 6800 (D68)
  • BIG-IP 8400 (D84)
  • BIG-IP 8800 (D88)

Warning: If you plan to upgrade a system licensed for Link Controller, Global Traffic Manager, or a combination Local Traffic Manager and Global Traffic Manager system, the BIG-IP unit you intend to upgrade must have a minimum of 768 MB of RAM. Originally, the BIG-IP 1000 (D39) and BIG-IP 2400 (D44) platforms were shipped with 512 MB of memory only.

If you are unsure which platform you have, look at the sticker on the back of the chassis to find the platform number.

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About the installation

This technical note describes how to create a clean install of the BIG-IP software to version 9.4.2.

Important: A valid service contract is required to complete this installation.

Warning: You must reactivate the license on the BIG-IP system on which you intend to install before you begin the installation.

Important: You should perform the installation on the standby unit in a redundant system. If you are satisfied with the results, failover and apply the upgrade to the other unit in the redundant system.

Important: Each unit in a redundant system must be running the same version of the software.

Important: If you are upgrading from 9.2.x, and you have a Global Traffic Manager unit that belongs to a sync group, you must remove the unit from the sync group before you install the software or apply the upgrade. Failure to do so may cause irrevocable damage to the units in the sync group that are running older versions of the software. Once you have upgraded all units to the same version, you can then re-create the sync group. For details on removing a unit from a sync group, see the product documentation. Once you have removed the unit from the sync group, you can proceed with the installation or upgrade. Note that this is for upgrades from 9.2.x only.

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Installing the software

If the BIG-IP system is currently running version 9.2.x, 9.3, 9.4, or 9.4.1, you can upgrade directly to version 9.4.2, using the following procedure.

The process of installing BIG-IP version 9.4.2 requires completing the following steps:

The following sections describe how to perform these tasks.

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Downloading the installation CD-ROM ISO image from F5 Networks

Before you begin the installation process, download the installation CD-ROM ISO image from For details about downloading the ISO image, see SOL167: Downloading software from F5 Networks.

Note: Before you contiue, we recommend downloading the associated MD5 checksum file and performing the MD5 checksum operation to ensure that the file downloaded correctly. For more information about running the MD5 checksum, see Verifying the MD5 checksum of the installation file.

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Designating and configuring a remote host to be a Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE) server

Before you perform a network boot from a CD, you must designate and configure a remote host to be a Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE) server. This remote host must meet all the following criteria:

  • Contain a CD-ROM drive.
  • Support a CD-ROM boot.
  • Reside on the same network as the one to which the BIG-IP management interface is connected.

Note: You must connect the installation server to the same network to which the management port on the BIG-IP unit is connected.

Note: If you are installing the software on a BIG-IP 1500 (C36), BIG-IP 3400 (C62), BIG-IP 6400 (D63), BIG-IP 6800 (D68), BIG-IP 8400 (D84), or BIG-IP 8800 (D88) platform by directly connecting the unit to the installation server, you must use an Ethernet cross-over cable to directly connect to the management interface. If you are installing the software on a BIG-IP 1000 (D39), BIG-IP 2400 (D44), BIG-IP 5100 or 5110 (D51) by directly connecting to the installation server, you can use a standard Ethernet cable to directly connect to the management interface.

Once you have designated a host, complete the following steps:

  1. Insert the CD into the drive on the installation server and reboot the host system from the CD-ROM drive.
    The following message displays:

    Select terminal type? [vt100]

  2. Press the Enter key to use vt100 emulation, or type the name of the terminal emulator you are using.
    The system presents the following options screen:

    Maintenance OS Options Serve Provide network installation services Install Install software onto hard disk Reboot Reboot to your current system Exit Exit to maintenance shell

  3. Select the default, Serve.
    The system presents a list of available network interfaces.
  4. Select one for the installation server interface.
    After you select the interface you want to use as the installation server interface, the system presents the following prompt:

    Use existing DHCP server on subnet [no]?

  5. Indicate your DHCP choice:
    • If there is an existing DHCP server on your subnet that you want to use, type yes.
      The server configuration automatically completes.

      If you select this option, you can skip the rest of this procedure and go directly to Booting the target hardware from the remote installation server.

    • If you want to set up this server as the DHCP server, type no.
      The system presents the following series of prompts:

      IP network [10.1.10]? IP address of server 10.1.10[n] [199]? Lower range for clients 10.1.10.[n] [199]? Upper range for clients 10.1.10.[n] [200]?

      • If your subnet consists only of the server and the target BIG-IP unit, or is otherwise a private subnet, use the default IP addresses provided.
      • If other units share the subnet and there is a possibility of conflict, substitute the appropriate unique IP addresses and ranges. When you have finished entering the addresses, they are displayed and you are prompted to accept or reject them.

        Note: When you specify the IP address of the server, you need to enter only the last octet. When completing the lower and upper ranges for the clients, type the network numbers where the clients are situated.

    • If the settings displayed are correct, type yes. If they are not, type no to have the system prompt you to re-enter the addresses.
  6. Finally, the system prompts you to specify the protocol you want to use to transfer the installation files. The default protocol is HTTP; however, you can also transfer the files using NFS.
    Once you accept the settings, the server configuration is complete.
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Booting the target hardware from the remote installation server

After you designate and configure a remote host to be a installation server, you are ready to perform the network boot from the console of the platform on which you wish to install the software.

Note: You must connect the installation server directly to the management port on the BIG-IP unit, or to the network to which the management interface is connected.

  1. First, select the method you want to use to net boot the unit. The method you use depends on the hardware platform.
    • BIG-IP 1000 (D39), 2400 (D44), 5100 and 5110 (D51)
      With these platforms, you can set the unit to power up and boot from the network.
      • If the unit is powered down, power it up, and within the first ten seconds use a paperclip to push the NETboot button on the front panel.
      • If the unit is started and running, type the following two commands in sequence:

        bigpipe db boot.netreboot enable reboot

      You might receive the following message after you type the reboot command:

      The requested operation is not supported by the hardware.

      If you see this error message, use a paperclip to push the RESET button on the front panel. Then, within ten seconds, use a paperclip to push the NETboot button.
    • BIG-IP 1500 (C36), 3400 (C62), 6400 (D63), 6800 (D68), 8400 (D84), 8800 (D88)
      With these platforms, the unit must be turned on before you can set it to boot from the network.
      • If the unit is started and running, type the following two commands in sequence:

        bigpipe db boot.netreboot enable reboot

      • Another way you can put the unit in network boot mode is by using the Lights-Out Management system. This method is useful if you are having difficulty booting up the system, or you cannot run the bigpipe db boot.netreboot enable command. To boot from the network using the Lights-Out Management system, use this process from the serial console:
        1. To open the command menu, use the following key sequence:

          Esc (

        2. To put the unit in network boot mode, type 4.
        3. Next, type 7 to reset the host subsystem.
        4. Finally, type 1 to restart the system in network boot mode.
        For detailed information about the Lights-Out Management system, see the BIG-IP Network and System Management Guide chapter, Lights-Out Management.
  2. After the system reboots, it attempts to discover the installation server. Once the installation server is found, the system presents the following prompt:

    Press M or Control-SPACE to view menu.

    Let the timer count down to auto-select the installation options. After the timer counts down, the installer prompts you for the terminal type.

    Terminal type? [vt100]

    Press the Enter key to continue, or specify the terminal type you are using. We recommend that you use vt100.
    The system posts a number of messages, and then installation starts. Once installation starts, you can use the arrow and Tab keys to navigate the presented options. You can select an option from a menu using the Enter key or the highlighted character key, and you can toggle select boxes on or off using the spacebar.
  3. Respond to the installation script prompts for the following information:
    • You can specify a syslog server if you want a log of the installation process. Type the IP address of the syslog server you want to use, or continue without typing an IP address if you do not want to specify a syslog server.
      Note: The syslog option is not present when the controlling terminal is the console. You see this option only when you are performing the installation through an SSH connection.
    • After the syslog screen, you are prompted for an installation server URL or path.
      The installation script provides the information about the installation server you created. We recommend you use the installation server found by the installation script. The format for the URL is: http://<installserver>/cdserver or nfs://<installserver>/cdserver
    • You are then prompted for the installation location. An installation location is a portion of a drive with adequate space required for an installation. If the hardware supports multiple installation locations, you can create more than one installation by installing the software on each location. At boot time, you can select which installation you want to boot. To install on multiple installation locations, follow the on-screen instructions.
    • Next, you have the option to roll forward any supported configurations (config.ucs files) found on the system. For clean installations, you can skip this step.
  4. After responding to each prompt, review the installation options you have selected. Select Yes on the final BIG-IP install screen to begin installing.

The software takes only a few minutes to install. Once the installation is complete, the unit reboots to the installation in slot 0 or CF (CompactFlash®). You can use the switchboot utility to specify which installation you want to boot by default. For more information about the switchboot utility, see Using the switchboot utility.

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Adding an IP address to the management interface using the config command

After you complete the installation of the software, and before you license the software, run the config command to configure an IP address, net mask, and gateway on the management port (MGMT). The config command is a command line utility created for this purpose. You can run the config command from the serial console you used during installation.

To run the config command, type the following command:


After you run this utility and add an IP address, net mask, and gateway to your management port, you can log on to the Configuration utility (graphical user interface), and license the unit.

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Licensing the software using the Configuration utility

Before you can convert your configuration files or configure the system, you must license the software. To activate the license for the system, you must have a base registration key. The registration key is a 27-character string that lets the license server know which F5 products you are entitled to license. If you do not already have a registration key, you can obtain one using the dossier from a licensed 4.5.x or 4.6.x system (

To activate the license using the Configuration utility
  1. Open a web browser on a work station attached to the network on which you configured the management port. If you have not configured this IP address, see Adding an IP address to the management interface using the config command.
  2. Type the following URL in the browser, where <IP address> is the address you configured for the management port (MGMT):
    https://<IP address>/
  3. At the password prompt, type the default user name admin and the default password admin, and click OK.
    The Licensing screen of the Configuration utility opens.
  4. To begin the licensing process, click the Activate button.
    Follow the on-screen prompts to license the system. For additional information, click the Help tab.
  5. Once you have activated the license, you can configure the BIG-IP system. For information about configuring the BIG-IP system, see User documentation for this release.
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Contacting F5 Networks

  Phone: (206) 272-6888
Fax: (206) 272-6802

For additional information, please visit


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