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F5 iApp Automated Backup

Problem this snippet solves:

This is now available on GitHub!

Please look on GitHub for the latest version, and submit any bugs or questions as an "Issue" on GitHub:



Building on the significant work of Thomas Schockaert (and several other DevCentralites) I enhanced many aspects I needed for my own purposes, updated many things I noticed requested on the forums, and added additional documentation and clarification. As you may see in several of my comments on the original posts, I iterated through several 2.2.x versions and am now releasing v3.0.0. Below is the breakdown!

Also, I have done quite a bit of testing (mostly on v13.1.0.1 lately) and I doubt I've caught everything, especially with all of the changes. Please post any questions or issues in the comments.


Daniel Tavernier (tabernarious)

Related posts:

Original v1.x.x and v2.x.x features kept (copied from an original post):

  • It allows you to choose between both UCS or SCF as backup-types. (whilst providing ample warnings about SCF not being a very good restore-option due to the incompleteness in some cases)
  • It allows you to provide a passphrase for the UCS archives (the standard GUI also does this, so the iApp should too)
  • It allows you to not include the private keys (same thing: standard GUI does it, so the iApp does it too)
  • It allows you to set a Backup Schedule for every X minutes/hours/days/weeks/months or a custom selection of days in the week
  • It allows you to set the exact time, minute of the hour, day of the week or day of the month when the backup should be performed (depending on the usefulness with regards to the schedule type)
  • It allows you to transfer the backup files to external devices using 4 different protocols, next to providing local storage on the device itself
  • SCP (username/private key without password)
  • SFTP (username/private key without password)
  • FTP (username/password)
  • SMB (now using TMOS v12.x.x compatible 'mount -t cifs', with username/password)
  • Local Storage (/var/local/ucs or /var/local/scf)
  • It stores all passwords and private keys in a secure fashion: encrypted by the master key of the unit (f5mku), rendering it safe to store the backups, including the credentials off-box
  • It has a configurable automatic pruning function for the Local Storage option, so the disk doesn't fill up (i.e. keep last X backup files)
  • It allows you to configure the filename using the date/time wildcards from the tcl [clock] command, as well as providing a variable to include the hostname
  • It requires only the WebGUI to establish the configuration you desire
  • It allows you to disable the processes for automated backup, without you having to remove the Application Service or losing any previously entered settings
  • For the external shellscripts it automatically generates, the credentials are stored in encrypted form (using the master key)
  • It allows you to no longer be required to make modifications on the linux command line to get your automated backups running after an RMA or restore operation
  • It cleans up after itself, which means there are no extraneous shellscripts or status files lingering around after the scripts execute

New v3.0.0 features:

  • Supports multiple instances! (Deploy multiple copies of the iApp to save backups to different places or perhaps to keep daily backups locally and send weekly backups to a network drive.)
  • Fully ConfigSync compatible! (Encrypted values now in $script instead of local file.)
  • Long passwords supported! (Using "-A" with openssl which reads/writes base64 encoded strings as a single line.)
  • Added $script error checking for all remote backup types! (Using 'catch' to prevent tcl errors when $script aborts.)
  • Backup files are cleaned up after any $script errors due to new error checking.
  • Added logging! (Run logs sent to '/var/log/ltm' via logger command which is compatible with BIG-IP Remote Logging configuration (syslog). Run logs AND errors sent to '/var/tmp/scriptd.out'. Errors may include plain-text passwords which should not be in /var/log/ltm or syslog.)
  • Added custom cipher option for SCP! (In case BIG-IP and the destination server are not cipher-compatible out of the box.)
  • Added StrictHostKeyChecking=no option. (This is insecure and should only be used for testing--lots of warnings.)
  • Combined SCP and SFTP because they are both using SCP to perform the remote copy. (Easier to maintain!)

New v3.1.0 features:

  • Removed "app-service none" from iCall objects. The iCall objects are now created as part of the Application Service (iApp) and are properly cleaned up if the iApp is redeployed or deleted.
  • Reasonably tested on 11.5.4 HF2 (SMB worked fine using "mount -t cifs") and altered requires-bigip-version-min to match.
  • Fixing error regarding "script did not successfully complete: (can't read "::destination_parameters__protocol_enable": no such variable" by encompassing most of the "implementation" in a block that first checks $::backup_schedule__frequency_select for "Disable".
  • Added default value to "filename format".
  • Changed UCS default value for $backup_file_name_extension to ".ucs" and added $fname_noext.
  • Removed old SFTP sections and references (now handled through SCP/SFTP).
  • Adjusted logging: added "sleep 1" to ensure proper logging; added $backup_directory to log message.
  • Adjusted some help messages.
How to use this snippet:

Copy the snippet below into a text file. Import the text file as an iApp Template. Create an Application Service using the imported Template. Answer the questions (paying close attention to the help sections). Check /var/tmp/scriptd.out for general logs and errors.

Tested on Version:
Comments on this Snippet
Comment made 5 months ago by Darren Walker 190

I've tried this with SCP and SMB and it is working great! I am wondering if it could also cleanup the files in the mount destination: Would I just write that bash logic somewhere in the iAPP?

I noticed a # Clean up local files section and wondered if it's as easy as adding bash there that would rm items older than X days. Something like:

find /var/tmp/cifs/$mountp -mtime +30 -exec rm {} \

Comment made 5 months ago by tabernarious 229

@Darren Walker, I have added your request to the Issues list on the GitHub repository:


Feel free to leave comments or ideas there! There are some nuances/checks that would have to be worked out. If done improperly this could destroy other critical files on the remote backup volume.

Comment made 5 months ago by Tristan Rhodes 1

Thanks for creating this! You have done a really excellent job on a very valuable tool.

It is embarrassing that an enterprise appliance does not include any methods for automated remote backups.


Comment made 2 months ago by snl 380

HI tabernarious

I am facing one issue with your template were destination ip field only accepting the IP address not the FQDN , is there any way we can fix this .

cheers snl

Comment made 2 months ago by tabernarious 229

@snl I have relaxed the destination IP restriction in iApp v3.1.2 (available in the Codeshare above and on GitHub)! You can now use destination FQDN as long as you have DNS configured and functional.

Comment made 2 months ago by snl 380

HI tabernarious

gr8 , thanks for your kind support.

Cheers Snl

Comment made 2 months ago by tabernarious 229

@Darren Walker, I have implemented SMB auto-pruning in iApp v3.1.3 (available in the Codeshare above and on GitHub)! Finally :) Cheers! -Daniel

Comment made 2 months ago by Stanislas Piron 8469


I tried to use this iApp to backup ucs to remote CIFS server.

I encountered an issue with this iApp because the AD team deny browsing intermediate folders.

if I mount with commands :

mount -t cifs //${server}/${msshare}${mssubdir} ${mountp} -o user=${username}%${password},domain=${msdomain}
ls ${mountp}

I can read files in the mount point, but if I mount with commands (like in your script) :

mount -t cifs //${server}/${msshare} ${mountp} -o user=${username}%${password},domain=${msdomain}
ls ${mountp}${mssubdir}

I have following error:

ls: cannot access /var/tmp/cifs/MY/PATH/: Permission denied

after changing the line 296 to :

exec echo -e "\#\!/bin/sh\nf5masterkey=\$(f5mku -K)\nusername=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDUSERNAME\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\npassword=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDPASSWORD\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\nmsdomain=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDMSDOMAIN\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\nserver=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDSERVER\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\nmsshare=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDMSSHARE\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\nmssubdir=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDMSSUBDIR\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\nmountp=\$(echo \"ENCRYPTEDMOUNTP\" | openssl aes-256-ecb -salt -a -A -d -k \${f5masterkey})\ncd /var/local/ucs\nif \[ \! -d \${mountp} \]\nthen\n\tmkdir -p \${mountp}\n\tif \[ \$? -ne 0 \]\n\tthen\n\t\trm -f ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT\n\t\texit 1\n\tfi\nfi\nmount -t cifs //\${server}/\${msshare}\${mssubdir} \${mountp} -o user=\${username}%\${password},domain=\${msdomain} 2>> /var/tmp/scriptd.out\nif \[ \$? -ne 0 \]\n\tthen\n\trm -f ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT\n\texit 1\nfi\nfONSMB=\$(ls -t \${mountp}/\*.ucs 2>/dev/null| head -n 1 2>/dev/null)\nif \[ \"X\"\${fONSMB} \!= \"X\" \]\n\tthen\n\tsum1=\$(md5sum ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT | awk '{print \$1}')\n\tsum2=\$(md5sum \${fONSMB} | awk \'{print \$1}\')\n\tif \[ \${sum1} == \${sum2} \]\n\tthen\n\t\techo \"ERROR: File ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT already exists in //\${server}/\${msshare}/\${mssubdir}\" >> /var/tmp/scriptd.out\n\t\tumount \${mountp}\n\t\trm -f ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT\n\t\texit 1\n\tfi\nfi\ncp ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT \${mountp}\nrm -f ${fname_noext}BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_WITHDOT\n\nif \[ \"PRUNINGMODE\" \!= \"Disabled\" \]; then\n\n\tfiles_tokeep=\$(ls -t \${mountp}\${mssubdir}/*PRUNINGSUFFIX.BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_NODOT 2>/dev/null | head -n CONSERVE\)\n\tfor current_archive_file in `ls \${mountp}\${mssubdir}/*PRUNINGSUFFIX.BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_NODOT 2>/dev/null` ; do\n\t\tcurrent_archive_file_basename=`basename \$current_archive_file`\n\t\tcheck_file=\$(echo \$files_tokeep | grep -w \$current_archive_file_basename)\n\t\tif \[ \"\$check_file\" == \"\" \] ; then\n\t\t\trm -f \$current_archive_file\n\t\tfi\n\tdone\n\tif \[ \"BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_NODOT\" == \"scf\" \] ; then\n\t\ttar_files_tokeep=\$(ls -t \${mountp}\${mssubdir}/*PRUNINGSUFFIX.BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_NODOT.tar 2>/dev/null | head -n CONSERVE\)\n\t\tfor current_archive_tar_file in `ls \${mountp}\${mssubdir}/*PRUNINGSUFFIX.BACKUPFILENAMEEXTENSION_NODOT.tar 2>/dev/null` ; do\n\t\t\tcurrent_archive_tar_file_basename=`basename \$current_archive_tar_file`\n\t\t\tcheck_file=\$(echo \$tar_files_tokeep | grep -w \$current_archive_tar_file_basename)\n\t\t\tif \[ \"\$check_file\" == \"\" \] ; then\n\t\t\t\trm -f \$current_archive_tar_file\n\t\t\tfi\n\t\tdone\n\tfi\nfi\n\numount \${mountp}\n\nexit 0\n\n" > $scriptfile

it works!

I didn't worked with Pruning mode so I didn't try to correct the script in pruning section.

Comment made 2 months ago by tabernarious 229

@Stanislas Piron, Awesome! I have added this as an issue on GitHub:


I'll see if I can work this out sooner than later while it's fresh on my mind.

Comment made 1 month ago by PhillyPDXmike 20

Given that clustered BIG-IP appliances synchronize iApp templates and applications created from iApps, has anyone come across a method with this iApp to backup each appliance in the cluster independently?

Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

@PhillyPDXmike, As long as you use the ${host} variable in the file name iApp setting (this is included in the default file name setting) it will generate archives with unique names per device (regardless of clustering). Are there other settings you are hoping to set independently?

Comment made 1 month ago by PhillyPDXmike 20

@tabernarious, Thanks for the quick response!! I am using version 3.1.2 of the iApp and can confirm that the backup worked on both the active and standby units after I copied the public/private key from the active to the standby, edited the hostname in the public key (/root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub) on the standby, then added that public key to my sftp server's authorized_keys file.

My initial question was prompted from a cosmetic situation where the sample output for the "Select the filename format > Destination Parameters" setting carried over from the active appliance (dev02a) to the standby appliance (dev02b). Image Text

Your question: "Are there other settings you are hoping to set independently?" Since the UCS backup is specific to each appliance, it'd be nice to somehow have device independence within the iApp which is probably more of an F5 iApp software architecture thing than anything to do with this specific iApp. What are your thoughts?

Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

I’m glad it’s working, though I don’t think you should have had to mess with the keys (copying between boxes)—I’ll test that too. I see what you mean about the cosmetic file name example issue. I’ll have to think about if that can be fixed.

As for your question about the overall architecture, I definitely agree that there are situations when it would be nice to keep apps independent, but I think the vast majority of cases support the existing keep-everything-in-sync model.

Comment made 1 month ago by aj1 58

Will this work in version 13.1.x also?

Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

@aj1, This should definitely work on 13.1.x. Most of my recent testing has been on 13.1.0.x.

Comment made 1 month ago by keithhubb


I'm using v3.1.3, and getting this message:

script did not successfully complete: (can't read "::destination_parameters__pruning_mode": no such variable while executing "if { $::destination_parameters__pruning_mode eq "Only Prune iApp-Generated Archives" } { set pruning_suffix $::destination_par..." invoked from within "if { $freq != "Disable" } { Ensure a default $filename_format is set if { $::destination_parameters__filenam..." line:44)

I Fixed it by changing line 54 from this:

if { $::destination_parameters__pruning_mode eq "Only Prune iApp-Generated Archives" } {

To this:

if { [info exists ::destination_parameters__pruning_mode] && ($::destination_parameters__pruning_mode eq "Only Prune iApp-Generated Archives") } {

Basically validating the variable exists as a condition to the 'if' statement.

Comment made 1 month ago by aj1 58

I'm having some issues with authentication: In the logs, it shows the warning banner on the host I'm trying to send the backup to, but then shows this:

Permission denied, please try again.
Permission denied, please try again.
Received disconnect from xx.xx.xx.xx: 2: Too many authentication failures for backuphost
lost connection
f5.automated_backup iApp automated_backups_iapp:loadbalancer.com_20180601_085600.ucs REMOTE COPY (SCP) FAILED (check for errors above)
f5.automated_backup iApp automated_backups_iapp: FINISHED

We tried to enter the username/password, and I also copied the private key from the backuphost but still the same. Also, I checked /var/local/ucs for the local copy it would (should?) be copying over but there is only a "config.ucs" file (~70M) and the file's last dated a few weeks ago when we first installed it, I believe. It's been running every few minutes but failing and I thought it was just the copy part that fails. Any guidance would help. Thanks.

Comment made 1 month ago by PhillyPDXmike 20

In my testing, using the backup files via SCP/SFTP option doesn't save a copy locally.

For the "Copy/Paste the SSH private key to be used for passwordless authentication:" option, I copied/pasted the entire RSA private key including -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----, -----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----, and everything in between. Also, I found these links F5 K13454 and tecmint article very helpful in getting the ssh passwordless authentication working properly, although I didn't have to change any settings on my linux server.

  1. On F5 BIG-IP appliance, create 2048 bit RSA key using the following command at a bash prompt: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048
  2. Accept the default location to save the key (/root/.ssh/id_rsa) by hitting enter
  3. Leave the passphrase blank by hitting enter then hit enter again.
  4. The private key will be save as /root/.ssh/id_rsa and the public key as /root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub
  5. If necessary, create the .ssh directory on the SSH server using the command: ssh user@X.X.X.X mkdir -p .ssh
  6. Copy the public key from the F5 to your SSH server using the following using the command: cat /root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub | ssh user@X.X.X.X 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys'
  7. If necessary, change the permission on the .ssh directory and authorized_keys file using the command: ssh username@ip.address "chmod 700 .ssh; chmod 640 .ssh/authorized_keys"
Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

@aj1, Regarding your search for the local copies of the UCS Archives, the iApp automatically cleans up the local copy whether the remote copy succeeds or fails. If you want local copies I would recommend deploying a second copy of the iApp that just backs up locally and auto-prunes to prevent filling up the /var partition.

Comment made 1 month ago by cbrandys 0

Hello, I a using v3.1.3. When I attempt to implement the script using FTP for remote copy, I receive the following error.

script did not successfully complete: (can't read "::destination_parameters__pruning_mode": no such variable
while executing
"if { $::destination_parameters__pruning_mode eq "Only Prune iApp-Generated Archives" } {
set pruning_suffix $::destination_par..."
invoked from within
"if { $freq != "Disable" } {
Ensure a default $filename_format is set
if { $::destination_parameters__filenam..." line:44)

I am trying to understand the reason for this error. When I choose the "Select the Filename Format" drop-down, I am selecting an option that does include ${host}. Am using code 11.6.1 HF2 on my box. I saw @keithhubb post and resolution but would like to understand the reason for the texterror before I implement on prod boxes. Thank you.

Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

@cbrandys, see keithhubb’s earlier comment for a quick fix (you have to edit the template). I am planning to fix this officially with a release this week (possibly today). Stay tuned.

Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

Released v3.1.4 to GitHub and updated CodeShare above. Release Notes:

  • Fixed can't read "::destination_parameters__pruning_mode" errors using [info exists ...].
  • LTM from "Required Modules" list; now no modules are required.
  • SMB/CIFS now directly mounts the target directory instead of the mount point. This allows administrators to deny access to intermediate directories.
  • Set the pruning_keep_amount default to 3 (previously no default existed).
Comment made 1 month ago by Sylvain Q 0

The script runs perfectelly.

I'd like to know if there is a way to have the ssh done on port 224 instead of 22?

Thank you


Comment made 1 month ago by tabernarious 229

@Silvain Q, If you're referring to the SCP/SFTP option, this could be manually configured relatively easily (it will take me more work to make this customizable through the iApp configuration). In a text editor open the iApp template (f5.automated_backup.v3.1.4.tmpl.tcl), find the line that starts with:

exec echo -e "scp_function()

...then find this part of the line:

\n\tscp -i /var/tmp/TMSHAPPNAME_scp.key

...and replace it with:

\n\tscp -P 224 -i /var/tmp/TMSHAPPNAME_scp.key

(NOTE: -P 224 is the scp option to modify the destination port.)

I would then recommend changing this line:

sys application template /Common/f5.automated_backup.v3.1.4 {


sys application template /Common/f5.automated_backup.v3.1.4_scp224 {

(NOTE: Changing the template name will allow you to have both the original v3.1.4 and the new v3.1.4_scp224 templates on the BIG-IP at the same time.)

Finally, save the file you've been editing (I recommend selecting a new name to avoid confusion with the original) and upload it to the BIG-IP (you will have to select "overwrite" unless you edited the sys application template name above).

Let me know if you're looking for something else.

Comment made 1 month ago by Sylvain Q 0

Thank you...

That worked perfectelly...

It could be a nice "new feature" for v3.1.5 ;)