How to take back-up and restore F5 BIG-IP configuration files

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What is Load-balancer?

A load balancer is a device that acts as a reverse proxy and distributes the network across a number of servers. It is used to increase the capacity and reliability of applications. Load balancer helps in dividing the user requests among multiple servers, which results in a better user experience.

Load balancer is grouped into two categories:

  • Layer 4

It works upon data found in network and transport layer protocols like IP, TCP, FTP, UDP, etc.

  • Layer 7

It distributes the requests based on data found in application layer protocols such as HTTP.

Some industry algorithms that are followed by load balancers are:

  • Round robin
  • Least response time
  • Weighted round-robin
  • Least connections

What is F5 BIG-IP ?

F5 BIG-IP is similar to a Load balancer which allows you to inspect and encrypt all the traffic passing through your network. It manages and balances the traffic load across a group or cloud of physical host servers by creating a virtual server with a single virtual IP address.

Taking the backup of configuration files

The configuration file of F5 BIG-IP contains all the information of the nodes, pool list, IPs, virtual server details, etc. So it’s very important to take the backup of this configuration. We can take a backup of configuration files of F5 BIG-IP by two methods:-

  • Command Line Interface 
  • Configuration Utility (GUI)

Command Line Interface 

Log in to the virtual server of your F5 BIG-IP and open the command line tool. Navigate yourself to the UCS folder which is located in the var/local/ucs as shown below. The UCS file contains all the files you need to restore your current configuration to a new or existing system.

The system displays the content of the directory. Give the name and save the UCS archive file in the default directory(as shown above). Type the command as shown below:-

This way we can create the backup and keep that file in another server or S3, where you would like to store it.

Configuration Utility (GUI)

Log in to the Configuration utility

Click on systems >> Archives. Then archive page displays. Then select create and enter the name (Make sure the name should be unique) as shown below:-

  • (Optional) In Encryption click on disable and click on finished or enable the encryption and enter the Passphrase.
  • Optional) If you want to exclude SSL private keys from the UCS archive, select Exclude from the Private Keys menu.

The operation status page will appear and then click on OK. As shown below:-

Then it will display the file which you have created and Copy the .ucs file to another system. For more information, you can also visit the official documentation.