Apply a Hotfix to F5 vCMP Guests

These are just some quick notes with screenshot on how to apply a hotfix to your F5s when running vCMP guests.  Let’s assume you’re also running HA.  Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Upload the Hotfix ISO and F5 OS ISO to each of our vCMP guests and the parent host.
  2. Force the standby guests offline
  3. Install the OS on an unused or new partition. 
  4. Install the hotfix onto that new partition.
  5. Update the boot location and activate
  6. After the guests are upgraded, do the same for the parent host.
  7. Bring the guests back online
  8. Force the current active units to standby, and perform the same operations.

In my situation, I wanted to apply hotfix 7 to my currently running 11.4.1 hotfix 3 installation.  I downloaded the necessary files from downloads.f5.com:

Screenshot at Jan 23 13-54-06

In HA environment, force standby host offline

Now, to avoid any unexpected failovers or prevent others from making changes, it is recommended to force the units you’re going to upgrade offline.  Do this on the standby. This is equivalent to a “maintenance mode”.  See this article for more information: 

SOL15122: Overview of the Force Offline option
https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/15000/100/sol15122.html

Screenshot at Jan 22 07-27-19

Upload and install the Image

Now navigate System > Software Management.  You should see something similar to below, listing out your currently available partitions and which images are installed on them.  Note that HD1.1 is active, install is complete and is running 11.4.1 build 637.0.  Also note that there are currently no “Available Images” to install.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-32-52

We need to upload the 11.4.1 image so it can be installed on another partition (i.e. Boot Location).  Click “Import” and browse for your ISO.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-33-35

Click Import.  Do NOT navigate away from this page.  If you do, the upload will cease and you’ll have to start over again.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-34-23

After it completes you should now see this listed in your “Available Images”.  Ensure that this is MD5 verified.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-40-50

Now install this image onto an unused partition.  Here I’ll use HD1.2.  Click “Install”

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-41-27

You’ll see progress

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-42-06

After it completes, you’ll see it installed, and note the build is the default without a hotfix:

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-44-37

Upload and install the Hotfix

Navigate to the Hotfix tab, and follow the same steps to import the hotfix.  After it’s imported you should see something like this:

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-45-01

Click install and choose the partition that you just installed the image on.  For us, HD1.2.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-45-23

You’ll see it installing

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-46-08

Boot into the newly patched image

Once complete, move over to the “Boot Locations” tab.  You’ll see your new install on HD1.2 as an option.  

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-47-56

When you are ready, click on HD1.2.  You’ll be given the option to install this configuration and choose your source volume, which is HD1.1 in this case.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-48-17

Click “Activate”.  This will cause the unit (or vCMP guest in this case) to reboot into the new boot location with the hotfix applied.  This process should take about 5-10 minutes.  Just be patient, and you should eventually see the page load when complete.  Give it a few more minutes after you see this page, it takes a bit to load the full configuration.

Screenshot at Jan 22 06-53-44

You have a couple of options now – You can patch your host parent unit (recommended), or if you are only needing to patch a single vCMP guest, you can now login to the upgraded guest and “release from offline” to take bring the unit back online.  Let’s assume you also want to patch the host itself.

Patch the Host

Log into the host management and follow the same exact steps above to import and install the OS and Hotfix.  Before activating the boot location, ensure that your vCMP guests are offline or at least in standby.  Activate and wait about 10 minutes for the upgrade to complete.  After completed, you’ll need to navigate to vCMP > Guest List.  You’ll see that your vCMP guests are in “configuration” mode.  I unfortunately did not capture a screen shot of this, but instead of green status dots you’ll see gray, and the “Requested State” will be “Configured”:

Screenshot at Jan 23 15-02-43

Click on the individual guests, set the correct hotfix, then move the requested state to “Provisioned”, and finally to “Deployed”:

Screenshot at Jan 23 15-03-43

Your vCMP guests will now be deployed:

Screenshot at Jan 23 15-08-22

You can now login to the guests, release from offline if necessary, and ensure that HA is restored, the device should be in standby.

Screenshot at Jan 23 14-49-10

Next steps to complete the other side (HA environment)

Force your active guests to standby, should be zero downtime.  Ensure operations, then take your now-standby guests offline.  Complete the same exact steps above to complete the full install.  

References:

Hotfix Information:
https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/14000/800/sol14835.html

Managing Hotfixes:
https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/13000/100/sol13123.html

Additional activation when working with vCMP guests:
https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/14000/700/sol14704.html

5 comments

  1. Hi David,

    I’m following your guide to upgrade a vCMP guest from 11.5 HF0 to HF7, but when I am going to change the boot location, I cannot choose to “install configuration”. The field does exists, but I cannot open it to select “Yes”.

    Would you know why?

    Thanks,
    Luis.

    1. Luis,

      As long as the image is loaded on the partition, you should be able to install the configuration. I haven’t come across a situation where the option is grayed out unless I missed a step. We’re you able to figure it out?

      1. Thanks, Varnumd,

        A little after leaving the comment, I saw this article: https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/14000/700/sol14704.html, and there it says:

        Important: For Virtual Clustered Multiprocessing (vCMP) guests on multi-bladed VIPRION platforms, the configuration is automatically installed to boot locations during the software installation process and the following procedure does not apply.

        Which is my situation. I tried to upgrade a guest, and I restarted with the configuration, without any problem.

        Thanks!

  2. Hello Folks,

    Pretty useful article.

    The “install configuration” option could be useful if there is any configuration already exist on that volume and you want to overwrite the configuration exist in boot location.

    If you select “no”, it will boot with the existing configuration of that volume.
    If you select “yes”, it will overwrite the configuration.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

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