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7 Steps Checklist before upgrading your F5 BIG-IP

Problem this snippet solves:

This is a quick summary of steps you need to check before upgrading a BIG-IP.

This is valid for version 11.x or later.

How to use this snippet:

In this example, I will assume that we are upgrading from 11.5.1 to 12.1.2

Step 1 : Check the compatibility matrix

a) For appliance, check hardware/software compatibility

Link: https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K9476

b) For virtual edition, check the supported hypervisors matrix

Link : https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/products/big-ip_ltm/manuals/product/ve-supported-hypervisor-matrix.html

Note : If running vCMP systems, verify also the vCMP host and compatible guest version matrix

Link : https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K14088

Step 2 : Check supported BIG-IP upgrade paths and determine if you can upgrade directly

Link: https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K13845

In this case, you must be running BIG-IP 10.1.x - 11.x to upgrade directly to BIG-IP 12.x

Step 3 : Download .iso files needed for the upgrade from F5 Downloads

Link: https://downloads.f5.com/esd/index.jsp

Step 4 : Check if you need to re-activate the license before upgrading

Link: https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K7727

First, determine the "License Check Date" of the version you want to install. In this case, the version 12.1.2 was released on 2016-03-18 (License Check Date). Then, determine your "Service check date" by executing the following command from CLI :

> grep "Service check date" /config/bigip.license

The output appears similar to the following example:

> Service check date : 20151008

Since the "Service check date" (20151008) is older than the "License Check Date" (2016-03-18), a license a reactivation is needed before upgrading. To reactivate, follow the steps under paragraph "Reactivating the system license" from the link given above.

Step 5 : Use "iHealth Upgrade Advisor" to determine if any configuration modification is needed before/after the upgrade

Link: https://ihealth.f5.com/

Generate a qkview and then upload it to iHealth (link above).

For more info about how to generate a qkview read following article

Link: https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K12878

For more info about "iHealth Upgrade Advisor" read following article

Link: https://devcentral.f5.com/articles/ihealth-upgrade-advisor-making-upgrades-a-little-easier-20001

Step 6 : Backup the configuration by generating a UCS archive and download it on a safe place

Link: https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K13132

a) If are using the "Configuration Utility", follow the procedure under "Backing up configuration data by using the Configuration utility"

b) If you prefer using CLI, follow the procedure under "Backing up configuration data using the tmsh utility"

Step 7 : From the release note of the version you wish to install read the "Installation checklist"

Link: https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/products/big-ip_ltm/releasenotes/product/relnote-ltm-12-1-2.html

Under the paragraph "Installation checklist" of the release note, ensure that you have read and verified listed points.

Tested on Version:
Comments on this Snippet
Comment made 09-Jun-2017 by F.Ibrahim 2

Thank JT, very helpful 5/5!

Comment made 09-Jun-2017 by Jad Tabbara (JTI) 2361

Thanks F.Ibrahim :)

Comment made 25-Oct-2017 by testimony 152

Please Team, I just want to confirm if firmware 13.1.0 for Big-IP LTM upgrade has been released by F5.

Comment made 25-Oct-2017 by Yann Desmarest 4489

Not yet.

Comment made 22-Jan-2018 by Carl Brothers

F5 Support has put together a document on how to upgrade BigIP software with the following article - K84554955: Overview of BIG-IP system software upgrades

Also one of our senior support engineers wrote this indepth series about the upgrade procedure -

BIG-IP Upgrades Part 1 - Preparation

BIG-IP Upgrades Part 2 - Upgrade Behavior

BIG-IP Upgrades Part 3 - Versions, Misconceptions and a Back-Out Plan

BIG-IP Upgrades Part 4 - Performing the Software Installation

Comment made 03-May-2018 by Othman Othman 1

Well done feedback thanks JTI

Comment made 04-May-2018 by Jad Tabbara (JTI) 2361

Thanks Othman for your comment :)

Comment made 04-Jun-2018 by daniel 51

Hello, just a note that happened to me. I have many upgrades since version 9. In recent upgrades I have some problems when in the new bigip version losted configurations from the previous version. This happens in general when you install the new version, then one week/month after you run the switchboot to the new version. But this in my case is true and false, because when I installed and the next thin is to reboot. I checked the configuration installed from the previous partition/version and I lost configuration on the way. The 'Install Configuration' option has no effect in some cases. So after some ungrateful events, I have another must step, restore the backup I made before the upgrade. With this step I assuring that I'm installing the latest configuration.

Comment made 05-Jun-2018 by Jad Tabbara (JTI) 2361

Thanks for the feedback Daniel

Comment made 14-Sep-2018 by portoalegre 62

This is a rather worrying situation, you shouldn't need to perform a full UCS restore when you upgrade your box software to another partition after clicking "Install Configuration" before rebooting and choosing the new Active partition. I'm sure this happened a while ago to me but I believe the "Install Configuration" function was only brought in from 11.5.x my upgrade was from an earlier version, though by default it should always copy the config when booting into the new volume.

Daniel, was this install to a new partition that was empty or did the partition have another version of software installed?...out of interest

Comment made 1 month ago by Priyanga Kalansuriya 0

Thank you! Incredibly useful.

Comment made 1 month ago by Jad Tabbara (JTI) 2361

Thanks Priyanga !