Updating your Loadbalancer.org hardware to the latest software v8.3 with a USB stick (bare metal restore).

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Sometimes its easier just to do a complete bare metal re-install of your hardware devices to the latest version - rather than running through all of the separate online/offline updates - which can be time consuming if you haven't done it in a while :-).

One of the nice things about the Loadbalancer.org appliance is the ability to do a bare metal restore from USB stick, we've supported this right from the very earliest versions of the product using mkcdrec.. but the procedure has changed quite a lot recently:
Loadbalancer USB

Prerequisite checks

The prerequisites are that you have a 4 GB DOM or larger in your Loadbalancer and that it is 64-bit compatible. If you fail on either of these counts, continue no further and contact support@loadbalancer.org about what to do next.

V6 users only probably need to double check the size of your DOM and to see if you are 64-bit compatible you will have to log into the Loadbalancer console with SSH, or connect a keyboard and a monitor directly to the loadbalancer.

To check the disk size run the command:

fdisk -l

You should get an output similar to this:

Disk /dev/sda: 4009 MB, 4009549824 bytes

Anything greater than or equal to 4009MB and you have passed the first hurdle onto v8.

The next thing to check is if your appliance is 64-bit. Run the command:

cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep 'flags'

You may get multiple lines returned (usually you get one line per core on your CPU), you are looking for lm or long mode. If any of the lines contain it you have successfully passed the second hurdle. The output will look similar to below:

flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm movbe lahf_lm

If you have the required prerequisites and a current support contract you will be able to update to the latest version.

NOTE:  After installing the new image you will have to completely reconfigure your Loadbalancer from scratch. A version 6.X XML and associated configuration files are NOT compatible with v8.x. Contact support or use our XML converter if you prefer.

Things you will need for the install:

  • USB sticks of size 4GB or larger
  • New iso image installed on USB
  • Monitor
  • Keyboard
  • A version of dd
  • Your licence keys files.

If you don't have a v8 licence key file then you will need to contact support@loadbalancer.org to obtain one.
The license key system was changed with the release of v8 and the license keys previously issued for v6 or v7 appliances will not work. If you are already running a version 8 appliance you do not need to request new licenses.
All v8.2.2 images are shipped as 'Loadbalancer.org R20' as default so to unlock it to a MAX / 10g model you will need your license key file(s).

Writing the USB key with the v8.2.2 image file

Installing the images to USB-

It is always good to have the option to roll-back should the upgrade run into any unforeseen issues.  So we recommend that you prepare a USB stick with a backup of your current system as well as your usual back files.  Details of how to backup a whole system to USB stick can be found in an earlier blog post:

The procedure for loading the v8.2.2 image file onto a USB stick has changed and we no longer use Unetbootin and Mkcdrec.

We now use dd to create images of the Loadbalancer.org appliance.

For Linux users to create the USB stick-

  • Download the compressed image file to your Linux box.
  • Uncompress the file.
  • Insert the USB stick use fdisk -l to work out where the USB stick is (no need to mount it, and if you have auto mount enabled, un-mount the drive) mount -lshould tell you if its mounted or not.
  • Run the command - dd if=/imagefilename.img of=/dev/nameofusbdisk bs=2M Do not use /dev/sddx where x is a number, for example -  /dev/sdd1 as this will install to a partition on your usb stick. Instead use the whole disk /dev/sdd (NOTE: Be careful using this command, if you specify your system disk not the USB stick  as the of (output file) by accident this will write over your system disk and you will have to re-install your OS.)
  • Once the dd command completes, run the sync command to ensure all data is written and flush file system buffers.
  • Wait for it to complete and remove the USB stick.

Linux dd process

Writing the Loadbalancer.org image file using dd under Linux

For Windows users to create the USB stick-

  • Download the compressed img file to your windows machine.
  • Uncompress the file.
  • Insert the USB stick.
  • We have been using http://hddguru.com/software/HDD-Raw-Copy-Tool/ in the office to copy the dd image to the USB stick but if you have a preferred method feel free to use that.
  • Wait for it to complete and remove the USB stick.

Installing the image to your Loadbalancer

NOTE: Please Remember to back up your existing configuration before starting the upgrade.

  • Connect the Keyboard and monitor to the Loadbalancer.
  • Power down Loadbalancer.org appliance. This can be done by using the web interface or issuing shutdown -h now on the command line.
  • Insert the USB stick in an available USB port
  • Power on the loadbalancer
  • Select the USB stick as the first boot device from the BIOS (with some Supermicro and Dell appliances you can just push F11 to select the boot device).
  • Boot onto the USB Stick.
  • Wait for the question - "Do you wish to continue? please enter yes or no"
  • Typing yes will install V8.2.2. Typing no will shutdown the loadbalancer so you can remove the stick and no changes will be made to your system.
  • After the installation is complete you will be prompted to press enter to shutdown the loadbalancer
  • After shutdown remove the USB stick
  • Power on the loadbalancer and if the installation has gone successfully you should be presented with login prompt.
  • Login to the loadbalancer username: root password: loadbalancer
  • Run the command lbrestore && lbfirstboot and then reboot to reboot the appliance
  • If you are happy to set your own IP address login as username: root password: loadbalancer and begin configuration. If you are not, login as user: setup password: setup and it will guide you through the initial configuration of an IP address.
  • You should now be able to connect to the loadbalancer's IP address in your web browser and continue the configuration.

The archive also contains an md5 checksum, after downloading and unpacking check the md5 checksum matches the .img file. If it does not, re-download the file.

md5sum check example

md5sum being used to verify the downloaded Loadbalancer.org img file is suitable for use

If you run into issue with the installation, the log is located under /install.log on the USB stick. Shutdown the Loadbalancer and insert the USB stick into your PC and grab the file and mail it over to support@loadbalancer.org.

For the image files please contact support@loadbalancer.org who will be happy to assist.