How do I upgrade from 2.5 to 3.0/3.1?

By Arunkumar posted Jul 01, 2014 07:33 PM


Product and Software: This article applies to all Aruba controllers and to upgrading ArubaOS from 2.5.3 or higher 2.5.x version to 3.0.x or 3.1.x version.


When upgrading from 2.5.x to any 3.x release, there are many considerations to take into account and certain procedures to follow. This article describes the upgrade procedure and different options you can follow.

Question: What is the difference between the 2.5 and 3.1 configuration?

Usually when you upgrade from one 2.5.x release to another 2.5.x release, the same configuration file (default.cfg by default) will be used because the configuration architecture is the same within 2.5 releases. However, 3.x has different architecture than 2.5.x, so the configuration should be rebuilt when you upgrade. The main things that are different in 3.x are:
· AP name and groups: 3.x releases use the concept of AP names and groups instead of locations to identify APs and apply the required configuration to them. Every AP should have a unique name and should be part of only one group. If no name or group is configured for AP, then AP wired MAC will be used as AP name and it will be part of the default group.
· Profiles: Profiles are powerful tools that allow administrators increased flexibility over other configuration methods. All aspects of the configuration have been abstracted into profiles that are then applied to individual APs or (more commonly) to AP groups.
The concept of AP name/group and profiles changes the way the configuration is built in 3.x. There is no more global configuration because everything is under profiles assigned to different AP groups. The concept of location-specific configuration is changed to AP group-specific configuration, with location 0.0.0 mapped to the default group.
· Mobility domain: In 2.5, all controllers managed by the same master are considered one mobility domain. In 3.1, the mobility domain controllers are configurable and are not linked to the controller managed by the same master. So, L3 mobility configuration should be reconfigured after upgrading to 3.x.
· FQLN: In 2.5, the floor plans was built based on location ID (building.floor.AP), but because 3.x does not support the concept of location ID, the FQLN (Fully Qualified Location Name) mechanism was created to associate APs to different campuses, buildings, and floors. FQLN Format (APname.Floor.Building.Campus) is used to map AP to Campus, Building, and Floor in RF Plan. This does not conflict with AP name/group used for assigning profiles.
· Controller country code: Beginning with 3.1, the country code is saved to the hardware and, for certain countries cannot be changed. If the country code is United States or Israel, the Mobility Controller is restricted to operating only in these countries.
· Captive portal: In ArubaOS 2.5.2 and later 2.5.x releases, captive portal users in the base operating system are placed into the predefined cpbase initial user role before authentication. The cpbase role is not supported in ArubaOS 3.1. You need to create captive portal authentication profiles in the base operating system, as described in "Configuring Captive Portal" in Volume 4 of the ArubaOS User Guide. Creating a captive portal authentication profile automatically generates the required policies and role. In 3.1, the captive portal authentication profile instance is configured for a user role. The user role can be the logon user role, a role that is configured for that SSID, or a role that is derived from user or server derivation rules. You must manually apply the captive portal authentication profile to a user role.

Question: Will the configuration be upgraded automatically by the script when upgrading the AOS from 2.5 to 3.x?

When should I go for clean sheet upgrade?

Yes for most cases, but some configuration will not be upgraded, like:

  • User derivation rules
  • Mac Auth
  • L3 (IP) Mobility

You must go for clean sheet upgrade if you have any of these features. Actually, clean sheet upgrade is recommended in all cases because it will use the new default values, smaller configuration, and will give more control over profiles to be created and names to be used.

Question: What backup should I perform before the upgrade?

It is always a good practice to take a flash backup before performing any major changes in the controller or image, or even on a frequent basis. To take flash backup, you can use WEBUI or CLI.
From WEBUI: 1. Navigate to the Maintenance > File > Backup Flash page. 2. Click Create Backup to back up the contents of the Compact Flash file system to the file flashbackup.tar.gz. 3. Click Copy Backup to copy the file to an external server.
From CLI: backup flash copy flash: backup.flash tftp:< your tftp server ip> backup.flash
In addition, the following backups are also useful, although they are part of flash backup. Having them in small separate files will give fast access to them when needed: · An unencrypted copy of the configuration: use the following CLI commands and capture the output: encryption disable no paging show run encryption enable
· License activation keys Show license verbose

Question: What steps should I do to prepare for the upgrade?


  1. Take required backup as described above.
  2. Make sure that the country code is correct.
  3. Understand your network and configuration.
  4. Check if you have any configuration that is different in 3.x and cannot be upgraded automatically. In this case, you will need to do clean sheet upgrade.
  5. Make sure that you have no issue in IP connectivity or FW between you and one of the controllers. This is needed specially if you will use FTP or TFTP as you should make sure that there is no FW or ACL in the path blocking these ports.

Question: How can I install the new AOS image to the controller?

In current 2.5 releases, you can use WebUI, FTP or TFTP to upload the new AOS image to the controller. Using WebUI is the easiest option, but it does not include progress indication (what percentage of the file has been transferred already). FTP and TFTP give you more detailed monitoring on the status of file transfer process. FTP is more secure and reliable because it is TCP and has username/password authentication.

Before installing the image, verify the following: · Check the current image version installed in partition 0 and 1. · Verify which partition is the current default partition. To check these two points, you can go to Maintenance > Controller > Boot Parameters in WebUI, or type the show image version command in CLI. · Make sure to install the new image in the other partition, not the current default one so you can do a fall back if needed.

Using WEBUI to Install the Software Image

The following steps describe how to install the ArubaOS software image from a PC or workstation using the WebUI on the Mobility Controller. (You can also install the software image from a TFTP or FTP server using the same WebUI page.)


  1. Upload the new software image to a PC or workstation on your network.
  1. Log in to the WebUI from the PC or workstation.
  1. Navigate to the Maintenance > Controller > Image Management page.
  1. Select the Upload Local File option, and then click the Browse button to navigate to the image file on your PC or workstation.
  1. Determine which memory partition will be used to hold the new software image. It is recommended to load the new image into the backup partition. (To see the current boot partition, navigate to the Maintenance > Controller > Boot Parameters page.)
  1. Select Yes for Reboot Controller after Upgrade.
  1. Click Upgrade. When the software image is uploaded to the Mobility Controller, a popup appears.
  1. Click OK in the popup window. The boot process starts automatically within a few seconds (unless you cancel it).
  1. When the boot process is complete, log in to the WebUI and navigate to the Monitoring > Controller > Controller Summary page to verify the upgrade, including country code. The Country field displays the country code configured on the controller.

Using the CLI to Install the Software Image

The following steps describe how to install the ArubaOS software image using the CLI on the Mobility Controller. You need to have a TFTP or FTP server on your network from which the image will be downloaded to the Mobility Controller. The following steps are for TFTP server, the same steps apply to FTP but you will use the command copy ftp instead of copy tftp.


  1. Upload the new software image to a TFTP server on your network.
  2. From the CLI on the Mobility Controller, verify the network connection from the target Mobility Controller to the TFTP server. Note that a valid IP route must exist between the TFTP server and the Mobility Controller and a placeholder file with the destination filename and proper write permissions must exist on the TFTP server prior to executing the copy command.
  1. Determine which memory partition will be used to hold the new software image. To check the memory partitions, use the following command:

(aruba) # show image version ---------------------------------- Partition : 0:0 (/dev/hda1) **Default boot** Software Version : ArubaOS Build number : 13515 Label : 13515 Built on : 2006-10-24 13:22:04 PDT ---------------------------------- Partition : 0:1 (/dev/hda2) /dev/hda2: Image not present
It is recommended that the new image be loaded into the backup partition. In the above example, partition 0 contains the active image. Partition 1 is empty (image not present) and can be used for loading the new software.


  1. Use the copy command to load the new image into the Aruba Mobility Controller. Note that when using the copycommand to load a software image, the specified partition automatically becomes active the next time the Mobility Controller is rebooted. There is no need to manually select the partition.

(aruba) # copy tftp: <server address> <image filename> system: partition {0|1}

  1. Verify that the new image is loaded:

(aruba) # show image version
Information about the newly loaded software image should be displayed for the appropriate partition.

  1. Reboot the Mobility Controller:

(aruba) # reload

  1. When the boot process is complete, use the show version command to verify the upgrade.

(aruba) # show version

Question: How do I choose the appropriate AOS image?

· Go to the latest released GD image. · Read the release notes to verify the known bugs, caveats, and issues. · Check if there are any notes in the Aruba Support website about the new release. · If you have a complex configuration or setup, check with Aruba TAC.

Question: What sequence should I follow if I have a multiple-controller environment like Master - Local controllers or Master redundancy? Should I upgrade the master or locals first? active or backup first?

In a multi-Mobility Controller network (a network with two or more Mobility Controllers), special care must be taken to upgrade all Mobility Controllers in the proper sequence, based on the Mobility Controller type (master or local). Be sure to back up all Mobility Controllers being upgraded. Note that for proper operation, all Mobility Controllers in the network must be upgraded to use the same version of ArubaOS software. For redundant (VRRP) environments, the Mobility Controllers should be the same model.
To upgrade an existing multi-Mobility Controller system to ArubaOS 3.1 follow these steps:

  1. Load the 3.1 software image onto all controllers (including redundant master controllers).
  2. Reload all controllers at the same time.

Question: How can I go for clean sheet upgrade?

To go for a clean sheet upgrade, you should back up your flash, save unencrypted copy of your configuration, save a copy of licenses, and then write erase the current configuration before reloading with the new 3.x image.
After the upgrade, you should enter the configuration manually. Before the upgrade, read the 2.5-3.x Upgrade Training.pdf and watch the videos available in Aruba Support website. Note that you need to have a controller in the lab to do the configuration in lab and verify it before the time of the upgrade.

Question: Does Aruba have any tools that can help in the upgrade process? (Are these tools available for partners / customers?)

There are some tools that can help you in the upgrade process. Contact Aruba TAC if you need more info about available tools than can help you to:

  1. Upgrade location codes to FQLN for floor maps in RF planning.
  2. Estimate the complexity of your upgrade and if you must go for clean sheet upgrade or just use the automatic script.
  3. Create an optimized version of your configuration that was generated by the automatic script.

Question: If I have any issue with the new image, can I revert back to the previous 2.5 image?

Yes, and that's why you should have the previous image and flash backup available in the flash after the upgrade so that reverting back to the previous image will be easier.
To revert back to the previous 2.5 image (assuming you still have it in the other partition and you still have flash backup that was done before the upgrade available in your mobility controller flash), follow these steps:

  1. Verify the system partition for the previous 2.5 image. You can go to Maintenance > Controller > Boot Parameters in WebUI, or type the show image version command in the CLI to verify the image in each partition and the current default partition.
  1. Change the default boot partition back to the old 2.5 image partition. Go to Maintenance > Controller > Boot Parameters in WebUI or use the command:

(aruba) (config) # boot system partition {0|1}

  1. Reboot the Mobility Controller

(aruba) # reload

  1. When the boot process is complete, use the show version command to verify the upgrade.

(aruba) # show version

  1. Restore the flash from the previous back up you did before the upgrade (it should be still in the flash). To restore the backup file to the Compact Flash file system:

From WEBUI: Navigate to the Maintenance > File > Restore Flash page. Click Restore.
From CLI: Use the restore command to untar and uncompress the flashbackup.tar.gz file to the Compact Flash file system:
(aruba) # restore flash

Question: Any suggested readings before planning for the upgrade?

Many resources and tools for the upgrade are available on the Aruba Support web site Check the following documents before performing the upgrade: · ArubaOS3_1UpgradeGuide.pdf · Make sure to read all documents and watch all videos under TOOLS & RESOURCES \ArubaOS 2.5 to 3.1 Migration Assistance