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Release Note: Remote Installation: Upgrading the BIG-IP software
Release Note

Updated Date: 07/20/2010


This technical note documents the process of upgrading to BIG-IP® software using the remote upgrade procedure. 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 the BIG-IP software.

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 only 512 MB of memory.

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 browser-based 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: Installing the BIG-IP software.
  • BIG-IP 1000 (C36)
  • BIG-IP 1500 (C36)
  • BIG-IP 1600 (C102)
  • BIG-IP 2400 (D44)
  • BIG-IP 3400 (C62)
  • BIG-IP 3410 (C100)
  • BIG-IP 3600 (C103)
  • BIG-IP 3900 (C106)
  • 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 6900 (D68)
  • BIG-IP 8400 (D84)
  • BIG-IP 8800 (D88)
  • BIG-IP 8900 (D106)

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 remotely upgrade the BIG-IP software. You need to perform a remote upgrade if you do not have direct access to the system. The remote upgrade provides the ability to serve the installation files from a different network using HTTP. We recommend using the local upgrade if you have a direct connection to the unit you want to upgrade.

Warning: Version 4.5.x or 4.6.x installation. You cannot upgrade directly to this version from BIG-IP version 4.x. You must first upgrade to version 9.2.x, or an earlier version of 9.3.x or 9.4.x.. For details about these installation methods, see the release notes for the associated release.

Warning: Version 9.0.x or 9.1.x installation. You cannot upgrade directly to this version from BIG-IP versions 9.0.x through 9.1.x. You must first upgrade to version 9.2.x, or an earlier version of 9.3.x or 9.4.x. For details about these installation methods, see the release notes for the associated release.

Warning: A valid service contract is required to complete this upgrade.

Warning: You must reactivate the license on the BIG-IP system you intend to upgrade before you begin the installation. This is because the license check date in the software is verified against the service check date in the license file. For more information, see SOL7727: License activation may be required prior to software upgrade.

Warning: Once you reactivate the license, make sure to save your configuration. The system does not roll forward unsaved portions of configurations. You can save your configuration by running the command b config save /config.ucs.

Warning: Once you save your configuration, copy the config.ucs file to a secure, remote location. The installation process overwrites the locally maintained UCS file, so you should maintain the UCS file remotely as a recovery strategy in case the upgrade does not perform as you expect. For more information, see SOL2250: Overview of UCS archives.

Warning: You must turn off mirroring before you attempt to upgrade. Mirroring between units with differing versions of the BIG-IP software is not supported.

Important: You are prompted to install the software on multiple boot images if the unit supports the multiple boot option. The BIG-IP 1500 (C36), BIG-IP 1600 (C102), BIG-IP 3400 (C62), BIG-IP 3410 (C100), BIG-IP 3600 (C103), BIG-IP 3900 (C106), BIG-IP 6400 (D63), BIG-IP 6800 (D68), BIG-IP 6900 (D104), BIG-IP 8400 (D84), BIG-IP 8800 (D88), and BIG-IP 8900 (D106) platforms support this functionality.

Important: This installer is capable of automatically generating UCS files at install-time. Installations of 9.4.2 and later generate UCS files, if there is not one already present in the root directory, as /config.ucs. In order to roll-forward a pre-9.4.2 configuration, you must manually create the /config.ucs file before starting the installation.

Important: You must perform the installation from the management interface (Management) on the BIG-IP system.

Important: You should perform the installation first on the standby unit in a redundant system. If you are satisfied with the results, initiate 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: We recommend that you run the MD5 checksum on any ISO image or IM upgrade file you download. For information about MD5 checksums, see the section Verifying the MD5 checksum of the installation file in the appropriate installation release note.

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.

Note: We recommend installing Global Traffic Manager or Link Controller on the hard drives of BIG-IP systems. Although installation on some CompactFlash® drives is supported in most cases, it is not recommended.

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Installing the software

The process of upgrading requires completing the following steps:

The following sections describe how to perform these tasks.

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Saving and backing up existing configuration data

Before you upgrade to this version of the software, you need to save your current configuration data. Backing up your configuration prevents loss of data if, for any reason, the upgrade is not successful.

Collect and archive the existing configuration files, by typing the following command. Note that to have the installer automatically load the configuration file during startup, you must name the file config.ucs and store it in the / partition.
bigpipe config save /config.ucs

Important: If you are upgrading a system that is using zone files with named, you must manually back up all necessary zone files and save them to a remote location. After the upgrade is complete, you can place them on the upgraded system. There is a new location on the version 9.x system for these files: /var/named/config/namedb.

Important: It is critical that you back up the archived configuration files to a secure remote location. In the event this process fails, you might need to use the remotely-stored file in order to restore your previous configuration data. For more information about UCS files, see Solution ID: SOL4423 Overview of UCS archives.

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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 the F5 Networks downloads site. For details about downloading the ISO image, see SOL167: Downloading software from F5 Networks.

Note: Before you continue, 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.

Note: If you are installing to a 2400 platform, see Installing to the 2400 platform for instructions for copying the installation image to the system.

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Copying the remote upgrade package to the BIG-IP system from the CD-ROM

After you save the existing configuration and download the installation CD-ROM, you need to copy the remote-install-<version_number>.im file from the root of the CD-ROM to the /var/tmp directory on the BIG-IP system that you want to upgrade. The following example shows how you use the scp command to copy the file to a remote BIG-IP system, where <remote_upgrade>.im is the name of the remote upgrade IM you copied from the CD-ROM, and the <bigipsystem> is the BIG-IP system to which you want to copy the IM file.

scp <remote_upgrade>.im root@<bigipsystem>:/var/tmp .

After you copy the remote upgrade IM file to the BIG-IP system you want to upgrade, use the CD-ROM to create an installation server (this process is described in the following section).

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Designating and configuring a remote host to be an installation server

Before you run the remote upgrade, you must designate and configure a remote host to be an installation server. The installation server 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), or BIG-IP 8400 (D84) 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 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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Running the installation script

Now that you have copied the installation package to the target system, you are ready to install the software. On the BIG-IP system, use the im command to run the installation script. Note that in previous versions you had to extract the script. That step is no longer necessary. The im command extracts the script and begins the installation.

To install the software

  1. Navigate to the /var/tmp directory using the following command:
    cd /var/tmp
  2. To extract and run the remote-install script from the IM package and complete the installation, type the following command:
    im remote-install-<version_number>.im
    The installation script prompts you for the following information:
    Terminal type? [vt100]
  3. 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.
  4. 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. You can use the installation system or specify an alternate location. 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.
    • After the syslog screen, you are prompted for an installation server URL or path. Type the URL of the installation server.
      The format for the URL is http://<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. If you are installing this software on a system that contains an existing 9.x version of BIG-IP software, you should have already saved a UCS in the procedure Saving and backing up existing configuration data.
  5. After responding to each prompt, review the installation options you have selected. Select Yes on the final BIG-IP install screen to begin installing.

After the installation is complete, the BIG-IP system reboots and you lose connectivity to the BIG-IP system.

Warning: You must license the software before you can configure the system. If the entitlement check was successful, you can log on to the system. If it was not successful, you can log on to the Configuration utility and license the system as soon as the installation process is complete.

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Installing to the 2400 platform

If you are installing to the 2400 platform, use this procedure to install the software.

To install on the 2400 platform

  1. From the command line, create a memory file system by typing the following command:
    mkdir /var/ramfs
  2. Mount the directory by typing the following command:
    mount -t ramfs none /var/ramfs
  3. Navigate to the /var/ramfs directory by typing the following command:
    cd /var/ramfs
  4. Copy the <remote_upgrade>.im file from the location where you downloaded the file, <location>, to the /var/ramfs directory on the target system. For example, if you use the Secure Copy (scp) program on the system where the file is located, type the following command:
    scp root@<bigip_management_ip>:/<location>
    /<remote_upgrade>.im /var/ramfs/<remote_upgrade>.im
  5. Install the software by typing the following command:
    im /var/ramfs/<remote_upgrade>.im
  6. Reboot the system by typing the following command:
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Licensing the software using the Configuration utility

Before you can 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. It is important to note that during the remote upgrade, the entitlement check contacts the F5 License Server and creates a license for the system.

During the remote upgrade entitlement check, a registration key should have been provided for this version of the software. The Configuration utility displays this registration key in the Base Registration Key box on the Licensing screen. You simply need to activate the license. Certain systems may require you to enter keys for additional modules in the Add-On Registration Key List box.

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.
  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.
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Contacting F5 Networks

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

For additional information, please visit

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