BIG-IP Upgrades Part 1 - Preparation

Note: Most information contained in this article series has also been published on
   K84554955: Overview of BIG-IP system software upgrades -

The information is this series is meant to help a Big-IP administrator complete a software upgrade. I have assisted with hundreds of Big-IP upgrades and hope to help you complete the task as smoothly as possible.
For more information related to a specific Big-IP release, there are additional details in the release notes for each version. For more information, refer to the Release Notes page.

The information in this series applies to:

  • F5 platforms which support Big-IP version 10.x - 13.x
  • Big-IP Virtual Edition
  • vCMP Big-IP Host platforms
  • vCMP Big-IP Guest instances

    For information regarding upgrading from Big-IP 9.x to 10.x, refer to the following guide:
      Manual Chapter: Upgrading from Versions 93x and 94x.   


Note: If you are familiar with Big-IP upgrade behavior and only need to review the actual steps, use the Performing the Software Installation section. To review Big-IP upgrade behavior in more detail, please review the other Parts.


The command output should appear similar to the following example (the sizes may differ):
ACTIVE '/dev/vg-db-sda/dat.share.1' [30.00 GB] normal ACTIVE '/dev/vg-db-sda/dat.log.1' [7.00 GB] normal ACTIVE '/dev/vg-db-sda/set.1.root' [256.00 MB] normal ACTIVE '/dev/vg-db-sda/set.1._usr' [1.34 GB] normal

Recommendations Prior to Installation

  • From the F5 BIG-IP TMOS: Operations Guide; before you upgrade the BIG-IP software, review the release notes on AskF5 ( in the Documentation section for your product and version. Pay close attention to the following items:
    • Review the Known issues list.
    • Review the Behavior change section(s).
    • Review the Upgrading from earlier versions section.
    • Review the Upgrading from earlier configurations section.
    • Review the installation checklist.
  • Verify a connection to the serial console port is working. This not required but will allow monitoring of installation progress and provides additional recovery options. For more information, refer to K7683: Connecting a serial terminal to a BIG-IP system.
  • When you have a date for the upgrade, we recommend starting a proactive Service Request with your plan in case there are complications during your change window. For more information, refer to K16022: Opening a proactive service request with F5 Technical Support.
  • Testing the upgrade procedure on a lab environment using Big-IP Virtual Edition can be helpful to find potential issues before they are encountered in a production environment.
    1. BIG-IP 10Mbps Virtual Edition Lab License (11.4.1 - 13.X)

      - Inexpensive compared to higher throughput Big-IP VE licenses.
      - LTM, GTM, DNS, AFM, ASM, AAM, CGN, APM Lite (10 users).
      - In Big-IP v11.4.1 - 11.6.x, you can import Big-IP 10.x - 11.x UCS archives. In Big-IP v12.x, you can import Big-IP 11.x - 12.x UCS archives. Copy the UCS file to /var/tmp and use the following command:


      tmsh load sys ucs /var/tmp/
      .ucs no-license no-platform-check

      - May not be available in all countries
      - Total system throughput limited to 10Mbps​

    2. K15643: BIG-IP VE license offerings
    3. F5 Product Trials 
  • Retain a UCS archive from every Big-IP in your network on a remote filestore to aid disaster recovery. Even if the archive has aged and does not contain all configuration objects, it will provide faster recovery time than completely reconfiguring the Big-IP. For more information, refer to:
  • For full planning and assistance during an upgrade, F5 Professional Services is a good resource. Support will answer specific questions regarding the upgrade but can't be used start to finish to perform upgrades. For more information, refer to:
Updated Jun 06, 2023
Version 3.0

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  • Harry1's avatar
    Icon for Nimbostratus rankNimbostratus

    Nice Article , Nate. please let me know how can we check before upgradation that there is no issue in iRULE or related to any configuration data. or only lab preparation is the way out , means install the tmos(like 13.x) and import the backup from existing version(like 11.6.x)


  • Precisely right, Harry. The best way I know to test an upgrade is to use a Development or Lab Big-IP (like the low-cost VE Lab License mentioned above) to import the old configuration. This way, the entirety of the Big-IP configuration can be tested with actual client traffic for a better representation.


  • Great Read! I appreciate the help considering I'm getting ready to upgrade all of our F5's!