How and when to update your load balancer

How and when to update your load balancer

How-Tos
Updated on 7 mins

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A quick guide from our Solutions Engineer, Oliver Warren, outlining when, why and how to update your hardware, virtual and cloud Loadbalancer.org appliances.

Should you even be updating your appliance?

Well, we don’t mind if you do or not - the choice is yours. The pros are that with our feature-rich appliance, often when you update you gain additional features - notable features included over the years are our GSLB and WAF. You will also get patches for any security errors and other miscellaneous fixes.

Although, the age-old advice always stands...if it ain't broke, don’t fix it! Don’t worry about your appliance not being supported either, because we support every version of our appliance from day dot! So we will never push you to update.

How do I know if my current version is secure?

The recommended versions are listed on our support page:

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But our preference is for you to pick up the phone and talk to our support people! Then we can make sure we understand your real security requirements and whether we can recommend improvements. Just updating a product doesn't necessarily make you secure...

For more details, check out our Loadbalancer.org product roadmap.

Upgrading to 1G or 10G?

You may be upgrading your product from an R20 or a MAX to an alternative model in our range, for example, the 1G or 10G.

If so, you will need to hit the minimum version of 8.5.1 in order to install the new license key.

We've got your back

Got questions about an update?

When should I update my appliance?

You should always update in a maintenance window. We do our best to ensure updates have minimal downtime, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and allow time for a complete system test after an update.

In fact, why not pre-warn our support people if you are planning this kind of maintenance.  

Happy? Ok, great. Lets do it!


First thing to note is that the updates are incremental. You can not jump from version v8.0 to v8.4.1 in one update. Yes, I know that's a bit annoying and we’re working on a better solution. However, for now you must go through each update stepwise. This is where this blog may be useful to you…

To check what version you are on, the version number will be located at the bottom of your web interface. If you are unsure if there is an update available, navigate the WebUI to:

Maintenance -> Software Update -> Online update.

If there is an update available you will see a message similar to this:

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Online update method

The process for online updating an HA clustered pair can be summarised like so:

(1) Schedule a maintenance window.  While updating should only cause momentary interruptions to the services while the failover process occurs, it's always best to schedule a maintenance window when performing changes on a production server.

(2) Generate a fresh support download archive file.  This will contain a current version of the running configuration which can be used to restore from, or to reference, in case of any issues.

(3) On the passive appliance, open the 'Maintenance -> Software Update' page in the WebUI, select the "Online Update" button.  On some releases you will need an authorisation key to proceed, however, this has been removed in v8.0.2 and above. Repeat this process until you have successfully installed all the incremental updates in the correct sequence.

Note: Please DO NOT navigate away from the page while the update is being installed.  When the update installation is complete, there will be a green banner line indicating success.  Sometimes the process can appear to not do anything but this is normally when packages are being installed/updated in the underlying O/S, so it is very important to just wait for the successful completion message.

(4) Install all of the incremental updates in sequence until you have successfully installed the latest.  Once you have successfully installed the last reboot the host using the 'Maintenance -> System Control' page in the WebUI.  You might see several prompts to restart services during the update process but these can be safely ignored as they will be handled during the reboot.

(5) Once the updated appliance has restarted, open the WebUI and initiate the failover process.  Looking at the 'System Overview' page you will see a green banner indicating it's operating in the passive capacity.  Click the '[Advanced]' link in the bottom right corner of the banner, it will expand to show a "Take Over" button which should be clicked.

(6) Once the updated appliance becomes "Active", repeat steps (3), (4) & (5) on the remaining node.

(7) Finally install any new licenses on each node which you may have been given.


It should be underlined that this method only works if your load balancer is connected to the internet!

If your load balancer has no internet connection, you can also find the latest version by emailing support and they will provide you with the latest offline update files. Once you have the files, the method of updating looks like this...

Offline update method

The process for offline updating an HA clustered pair can be summarised like so:

(1) Schedule a maintenance window.  Again, while updating should only cause momentary interruptions to the services while the failover process occurs, it's always best to schedule a maintenance window when performing changes on a production server.

(2) Generate a fresh support download archive file.  This will contain a current version of the running configuration which can be used to restore from or to reference in case of any issues.

(3) On the passive appliance, open the 'Maintenance -> Software Update' page in the WebUI, select the "Offline Update" button.  Then upload both the binary and md5 checksum file from your local host.  Repeat this process until you have successfully installed all the incremental updates in the correct sequence.

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Note: Please DO NOT navigate away from the page while the update is being installed.  When the update installation is complete, there will be a green banner line indicating success.  Sometimes the process can appear to not do anything but this is normally when packages are being installed/updated in the underlying O/S and so it is very important to just wait for the successful completion message.

(4) Install all of the incremental updates in sequence until you have successfully installed the latest.  Once you have successfully installed the last reboot the host using the 'Maintenance -> System Control' page in the WebUI.  You might see several prompts to restart services during the update process but these can be safely ignored as they will be handled during the reboot.

(5) Once the updated appliance has restarted, open the WebUI and initiate the failover process.  Looking at the 'System Overview' page you will see a green banner indicating it is operating in the passive capacity.  Click the '[Advanced]' link in the bottom right corner of the banner, it will expand to show a "Take Over" button which should be clicked.

(6) Once the updated appliance becomes "Active", repeat steps (3), (4) & (5) on the remaining v7.5.3 node.

(7) Finally install any new licenses on each node which you may have been given.

If you are on the latest version you will see a page similar to this:

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Another way to check what the latest version is, is by subscribing to our mailing list which will tell you about any future updates.

If you are running a virtual machine and you find yourself quite a few versions behind, there is a way to be on the latest version without having to do the incremental updates. To do this, you will need to take a back-up of your load balancer (preferably a technical support download as this includes files such as your XML config and manual configs).

If in any doubt, contact the Support team who will look at your current deployment and advise you of everything that needs to be done for the migration to be successful. If you want more info we also have another blog on backups here.

You can then deploy a fresh VA on the latest version and contact support to make the relevant changes to the XML in order to get the XML ready for the new deployment. From here you can navigate to Maintenance -> Backup and Restore and then select the restore tab to upload the relevant files.

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It is always a good practice to take a technical support download before updating or making any significant changes in general. This is a precaution in case anything goes wrong you would have a working XML to revert back to. This can be done by navigating to the following page in your load balancers WebUI:

Support -> Technical Support Download and pressing the “Generate Archive” button.

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However, it should be noted that the TSD does NOT contain SSL certificates and this will need to be backed up separately. When restoring from the back up, if you have any SSL certificates these should be restored first and then the XML.

The back up page looks like this:

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How long does the update process take?

The online update times can vary slightly - depending on the resources of the appliance and the speeds of your internet connection - but 5 to 10 minutes is typical. Some updates take considerably longer than others, it is also recommended a maintenance window is scheduled before updating your appliances.

In order to receive the offline update files, please contact support with the version you are on so we can give you the correct files to get you up to date. The offline updates only depend on the size of the update. However, each update you have to manually select the files.

The offline update page will look similar to this:

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If you have any questions at all about how long your update will take or the process itself, please contact support@loadbalancer.org!

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