Overview of the RMA Process (For F5 Support Process)
The F5 Return Material Authorization (RMA) process provides Advanced Exchange replacement units for defective hardware.
- Requesting an RMA for a defective unit
To request an RMA for a defective unit, contact F5 Technical Support, or refer to K2633: Instructions for submitting a support case to F5.
If F5 Technical Support determines after troubleshooting the device that hardware replacement is appropriate, they will begin the process to replace the defective unit. F5 Technical Support representative will create a RMA Service Order (SO) number to start the RMA process. An email containing the RMA SO number and RMA template will be sent to you. You must reply directly to the email after completing all of the required fields in the RMA template. To assist you in the collection of the necessary data, refer to K13000: Return Materials Authorization request.
After F5 Technical Support receives the required information, the replacement product is scheduled to ship according to the RMA Service Level Metric (SLM) purchased for the appliance.
- RMA Service Level Metrics
The following SLM cover shipping and delivery times for hardware replacement:
Advanced replacement shipped from the United States by the following business day
Next Business Day
Advanced replacement delivered by the following business day
Next Business Day Ship
Advanced replacement shipped by the following day from within the host country (limited geographic availability)
Advanced replacement delivered within 4 hours
Note: Delivery metrics do not start until F5 verifies all RMA-related details.
Upon shipment of the replacement parts, a confirmation email with tracking information and return instructions is automatically sent to the case contact.
- Replacement of the defective unit
Note: For a visual guideline of the F5 return process, refer to the F5 Customer Return Instructions video.
Physical installation and configuration
- Retain the packaging material from the original or replacement unit to use for the return of the defective unit to F5.
- For information regarding the physical installation of the replacement unit, refer to the appropriate Platform Guide for your specific hardware platform.
- The replacement device will not ship with any peripherals. Retain all the power cables, serial cables, failover cables, removable faceplates, GBICs, SFPs, and XFPs from the original defective unit.
Software installation and configuration
- For information about configuring a replacement BIG-IP device, refer to K12880: Configuring a replacement BIG-IP device after a Return Materials Authorization.
- For information about configuring a replacement FirePass controller, refer to K9205: Restoring configuration data to a FirePass RMA unit.
- For information about configuring a replacement ARX system, refer to the Preparing for Switch Replacement section of the Connecting the Switch to the Network chapter in the ARX Hardware Installation Guide.
Note: For information about how to locate F5 product guides, refer to K12453464: Finding product documentation on AskF5.
- Advanced replacement units may not have the same software version installed as the defective unit. If the device requires a software upgrade, refer to K2200: Most recent versions of F5 software for complete details regarding available software and installation procedures.
- Returning the defective unit
Note: For a visual guideline of the F5 return process, refer to the F5 Customer Return Instructions video.
- You must properly package all shipments. Any damage sustained during shipping as a result of insufficient or improper packaging will be invoiced at full list price. F5 recommends retaining the packaging material from the original or replacement unit to package the defective unit.
- You must return the defective unit to F5 within 10 business days. Units not returned within 10 business days will be invoiced at full list price for the replacement unit.
- When packaging the unit, do not include cables, removable faceplates, XFP/SFPs, GBICs, FIPS card readers, resource CDs, or any other peripherals.
- Do not return any hardware until F5 Technical Support issues you an RMA number.
- Once the unit is packaged, write the following information clearly on the included RMA sticker and affix it to the outside of the shipping box:
- RMA number
- Serial number of the defective unit
This information is necessary to ensure proper tracking and handling of returned material. Return shipments that do not have an F5 authorized RMA number will be refused at time of delivery and returned to the shipper using collect freight, and will result in delays to crediting your account.
- Keep a record of all tracking information and ship dates. You will need this information to track lost or delayed shipments. Failure to provide F5 with adequate proof of return will result in an invoice at full list price for the defective unit.
Returns from within the United States
Use the prepaid, self-addressed return label included with the replacement unit. For domestic US return shipments, contact the appropriate courier directly and schedule a pickup for ground shipment:
- Federal Express
If you are unable to locate the enclosed return label, contact F5 Technical Support in your region or send an email to email@example.com and reference the RMA number and the serial number of the defective unit.
Returns from outside the United States
Return shipments from outside the US require additional steps to complete the return of the defective unit. Refer to K12883: F5 RMA Return readme instructions, by country and follow all additional instructions specified for your country.
If you have questions or require assistance with this process, contact an RMA Coordinator by calling F5 Technical Support in your region or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You need below prerequisite before proceeding for RMA build.
- Latest backup file
- Device Physical access (Hand and feet support)
- Downtime window and Replacement activity approval from customer
- Datacenter Access
- Room and Rack details
- Device version
- Intermediate, Latest version or hotfix files to upgrade the RMA device to current version
- Additional power backup for offline build
- Site and contact person details
- FE details (FE should carry laptop, fast Internet dongle, Console cable, etc)
- Base license from F5 RMA support to regenerate license.
- Offline Building
If F5 Device is configured in HA mode then we can perform RMA process in two steps. Please note if device is standalone then we have to merge both steps in single and we require extended window to perform.
Step 1: Offline building new device.
We can build new device in offline mode to avoid any foreseen issue. We would require window and agreement with customer to perform this activity offline.
In this step FE or site contact person will provide direct access to new device.
We need to regenerate the License with base registration key provided by F5 Support.
- How to login to device first time:
Ask FE or site contact to connect his/her laptop with device management port via patch cord (Ethernet cable)
Set IP to your laptop 192.168.1.244/24
Access F5 device using default management IP address is 192.168.1.245. If this IP address is unsuitable for your network, the traffic management software uses an alternate IP address, 192.168.245.245. For command line and serial console access, the default root account name is root and the password is default.
- How to regenerate Base License in F5 device:
Login to F5 Device:
Navigate to Main -> System -> License
Click on option Reactivate
Copy and paste Base registration key here which has been provided by F5 support.
Select Activation mode Manual and click on next
Please note: you can also add-on key if you have purchase separately.
Copy Dossier :
Open F5 Licensing Server: using this link: https://activate.f5.com/license/dossier.jsp
Paste copied dossier into “enter your dossier” and click on next.
It will generate new license.
Please copy or download it to your local system and upload to Device.
It will active the license and reboot is require to apply change in device application as per the license and modules.
It will give you option to select modules which need to be installed and use in this device:
You can select require modules and reboot the device.
We have to verify the current running version in new device and upgrade to latest firmware and hotfix if require.
You can check current/latest firmware installed in device using below path:
Main-> System-> Configuration -> Device -> General
You can upload and install latest firmware using below path to Device:
Main-> System->Software Management -> Image list
Click on import to import new firmware from local Machine:
It will appear below window as Available Images, Please select and installed.
It will replaced the old installed image. You can also chose desire image to overwrite.
- How to install hotfix files
Navigate to Main-> System->Software Management -> hotfix List
Follow the same process to upload required hotfix file as image.
Select the hotfix which need to installed and clicked on it.
Note: You need to select boot location and for new hotfix files. It will automatically reboot the device. You may require to reactive the license once again after each firmware upgrade.
To verify the requested Image applied on device you can see it through boot locations or general property.
Once you complete the re imaging of device you can proceed further for restoration of base configuration of device.
Copy base configuration file to your PC local folder.
Format of backup file should be: filename.ucs
- You can restore/upload this backup file using below path:
It will restore the backup file and overwrite existing file.
This process require reboot of device to apply base configuration.
Please verify the configurations as below are correctly restored on new device:
- Interfaces configuration
- Trunk ports
- Self IPs
- HA configuration
- Username/password (Please note username password will change according to old device credential)
If everything is OK please proceed for second step to introduce device in production environment.
- Introduce new device in Production environment
Take proper approval and downtime window from Customer and arrange FE accordingly to introduce new device in live environment as a HA pair.
Please remove faulty device from HA pair.
Please make sure all connected cable should be tagged to avoid any re-cabling issue.
Un-mount old/faulty device from Rack.
Mount new device to rack.
Login to new device:
Check device status:
Check synchronization status:
It will show out of sync.
Sync Device from Active device:
Once sync, it will replicate all VS and other configuration from Active node to secondary node.
Please proceed for post implementation checks.
- Post checks
- Check all virtual servers are replicate to secondary node.
- All VS are up and node are showing green/live.
- Check Floating IPs are configured properly.
- Do failover of device to check resiliency.
If all tests results are positive please proceed for closer of RMA and return the faulty device back to F5. Please follow return process and policy as describe in this document.