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Release Note: 520/540 Platform: Installing BIG-IP version 9.4
Release Note

Updated Date: 12/19/2006


This technical note documents how to perform an upgrade install on a 520/540 (D35) platform of the BIG-IP software version 9.4 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
- About the BIG-IP version 9.4 installation for the 520/540 platforms
- Installing the software

Minimum system requirements and supported browsers

The minimum system requirements for this release are:

  • Intel® Pentium® III 933Mhz processor
  • Hard drive
  • Minimum 512MB RAM
  • Recommended 1GB RAM

The supported browsers for the Configuration utility are:

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer TM, version 6.x and later
  • Netscape® Navigator TM, version 7.1, and other browsers built on the same engine, such as Mozilla TM, Firefox TM, and Camino TM.
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About the BIG-IP version 9.4 installation for the 520/540 platforms

This technical note describes how to upgrade version 9.x software to version 9.4 on the 520/540 platform. The 520/540 platforms are not switch-based platforms. Some BIG-IP features and requirements are slightly different, or are not supported, on the 520/540 platforms. The following section describes these features.

Interface support

When you install BIG-IP version 9.4 on a 520/540 platform, the interface 1.1 is converted to the management interface. The minimal configuration is two built-in interfaces, however, we recommend that you add network interface card (NIC) to bring to the total number of interfaces to at least three.

Memory support

The minimum memory supported is 512MB. Most 520 platforms shipped with only 256MB of RAM. The recommended amount of RAM is 1GB. To avoid complications stemming from combining dissimilar brands of DIMMs, if you upgrade the memory on a unit, we recommend that you discard the old DIMMs and replace them with a single 512MB or 1024MB DIMM.

BIG-IP Link Controller and BIG-IP GTM/LTM combination installations require a minimum of 768MB of memory. However, the recommended amount of RAM is 1GB.

LED indicator behavior

The front panel LED behavior is the same as version 9.x behavior. For more information, see SOL4263: Change in Behavior: New front panel LED indicator behavior in BIG-IP version 9.x.

VGA and serial console behavior

he VGA and serial console behave as described after you install BIG-IP version 9.4.

  • You can install from the console or VGA
  • The system boot up messages go to the console and not the VGA.
  • On halt, the halt messages go only to the console.

NIC support

For details about obtaining supported network interface cards, contact F5 Networks.

Unsupported features in the this release

Some switch-based BIG-IP features are not supported on the 520/540 platforms. This section describes these features and their behavior.

Add-in hardware accelerator PCI cards

The following add-in hardware cards are not supported in this release on the 520/540 platforms:

  • Rainbow SSL PCI cards
  • nCipher FIPs cards

Switch port protocol support

LACP and STP are not supported on the 520/540 platform. LACP switchboard failsafe is not active on these platforms. The HA Table displays the switchboard failsafe entry as disabled. LACP is enforced when the user attempts to set lacp_enable 'true' on a trunk.

STP is enforced by the global stp mode setting. The allowed modes are passthru and disabled. Note you can view and modify the other stp related parameters without affecting the system operation. These commands include the bigpipe stp commands, bigpipe stp instance commands, and bigpipe interface stp, bigpipe auto edge, and the link type commands.

bigpipe commands

Most of the bigipipe commands are supported fully by the 520/540 platform, with the following exceptions:

Command Result
daemon Displays the bcm56xxd. Not functional.
db boot.netreboot Cannot enable. Not functional.
ha table Displays switchboard failsafe as disabled. Not functional.
interface [stp | auto edge | link type ] Can be configured. Has no effect.
interface pause Not supported
mirror Port mirror not supported and gives an error when configured.
stp Cannot set mode. Not functional.
stp instance Can be configured. Not functional.
trunk Cannot enable lacp.

Boot support

Quiet boot is supported. You can set this variable using the bigdb boot.quiet setting. The D35 Tyan 2515 motherboard does not support a CMOS setting for quiet boot, so user must use the BIOS setup utility to configure the BIOS quiet boot setting.

The bigpipe command netboot enable | disable is not supported on the 520/540 platform. You must use the front panel Netboot button.

Port mirroring

You cannot configure port mirroring on the 520/540 platform.

Baud rate support

You can use the command bigpipe baud rate to modify the current serial console (ttyS0), and the grub baud rate setting. This baud rate is maintained across reboots and power cycles. However, the Tyan 251x BIOS does not support a CMOS setting for baud rate. As a result, for the PXE installation, you must use the BIOS baud rate setting (default 19200) for the serial console.

Chassis sensor support

The sensor support for chassis fan, chassis power supply, chassis temperature, and cpu status is not be supported.

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Installing the software

Use these procedures to install the version 9.4 software.

Warning:  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.

The process of installing the BIG-IP version 9.4 software requires:

The following sections describe how to perform these tasks.

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Saving and backing up existing 9.x BIG-IP configuration data

Before you upgrade to BIG-IP version 9.4, you need to save your version 9.x configuration data.

Collect and archive the version 9.x configuration files, by typing the following command. Note that config.ucs is the name you must use for the UCS file, and the file must be saved at the / partition.
bigpipe config save /config.ucs

Important:  It is critical that you back up the archived configuration files to a remote location. If the upgrade process fails for any reason, you may need to use the remotely-stored file in order to restore your configuration data.

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Download the installation CD-ROM ISO image from F5 Networks

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

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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 system is connected.

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

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]

    Press Enter to use vt100 emulation, or type the name of the terminal emulator you are using.

  2. After you select the terminal type, the following screen opens:
    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.
    A list of available network interfaces displays.
    Select one for the installation server interface.
  4. After you select the interface you want to use as the installation server interface, the following prompt displays:
    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 choose this option, skip the rest of this procedure and go directly to Boot the target hardware from the remote installation server.
    • If you want to set up this server as the DHCP server, type no.
      The following series of prompts displays:
      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 machines 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 enter the IP address of the server, you need to enter only the last octet. When completing the lower and upper ranges for the clients, enter the network number(s) where the clients are situated.

      • If the settings displayed are correct, type yes. If they are not, type no and you are prompted to re-enter the addresses.
  6. Finally, you are prompted 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, net boot the unit.

    If the machine is powered down, power it up, and within the first ten seconds use a paperclip to push the NETboot button on the front panel of the IP Application Switch.

    If the machine is started and running, type the following two commands in sequence:

    bigpipe db boot.netreboot enable
    You may 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 of the IP Application Switch. Then, within ten seconds, use a paperclip to push the NETboot button.
  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 presents the terminal type.
    Terminal type? [vt100]
    Press Enter to continue, or type the terminal type you are using. We recommend that you use vt100.
  3. A number of messages scroll by and then the install script starts. Once the install script starts, you can use the arrow and Tab keys to navigate the options. You can use the Enter key or highlighted letter key to select an option from a menu, or the Spacebar to toggle select boxes on or off.
  4. The install script prompts you for the following information.

    • You can specify a syslog server if you want a log of the install 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 choose the installation server found by the installation script. The format for the URL is: http://<installserver>/cdserver or nfs://<installserver>/cdserver
    • After you choose the installation server found by the installation script, you are then prompted for the slot on which you want to install the software. A slot is a portion of a drive with adequate space required for an installation. If the hardware supports multiple slots, you can create more than one installation by installing the software on each slot. At boot time, you can select the installation that you want to boot. To install on multiple slots, follow the on-screen instructions.
    • You then have the option to roll forward the supported configurations (config.ucs files) found on the system.
    • After you have completed the prompts for the installer, review the install options you have selected.
  5. To transfer the files and begin the installation, press Enter.

    The software takes only a few minutes to install. Once the installation is complete, the unit reboots to the installation in slot 0. You can use the switchboot utility to specify which installation you want to boot by default. For more information about the switchboot utility, see the BIG-IP version 9.4 release notes.

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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 in to the Configuration utility (graphical user interface), and license the unit.

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Licensing the traffic management software using the Configuration utility

Before you can convert your configuration files or configure the system, you must license the version 9.4 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.

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.
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