Upgrading NetScaler through GUI is not working

A customer asked me to upgrade a couple of High Available NetScaler pairs. If you’re familiar with
NetScalers and the upgrade process, you know that an upgrade trough the GUI is the easiest way to go. So after all the preparation (saving running config, backup config, snapshot. Blablabla…) I was ready to go.

The steps are very clear. Navigate to System – System Upgrade, choose the new firmware file and press Upgrade. After this a screen pops up saying “Uploading build…” (see below)

After the upload completes, normally the system upgrade window is coming up (see below)

But what if the system upgrade window is not coming up?? Is it spinning up the upgrade process, but not showing me the window?? Or is the operating system crashing?? Can I upload the new firmware again without braking something??
All those question where running through my head when this was happening to me. If you’re in the same situation like I was at that moment, don’t worry!

It seems like this is a bug and Citrix never fixed it. Some people say that it exists since version 10.x. You can try whatever browser you want, it won’t work. I’ve tested it on 2 more standalone NetScalers and 1 of them had the same bug. Normally after the upload the GUI triggers the “./installns” file, but in my case not. Also the “uploaded” firmware is nowhere to find on the appliance with WINSCP. With that in mind, for me, it’s not possible that the NetScaler is upgrading without notifying. So what now?

Citrix also made it possible to upgrade the NetScaler trough the CLI. Although this way isn’t efficient and is not adding anymore functionality for the upgrade process, it’s a good alternative in this case.

In a nutshell

  1. Use PuTTy to set up a SSH connection to your appliance.
  2. Type “shell” to go into the shell mode.
  3. Create a folder with the following command: “mkdir /var/nsinstall/<foldername>”
  4. Browse to that folder with the following command: “cd /var/nsinstall/<foldername>”
  5. With WINSCP, browse to that folder and upload the firmware update in that folder.
  6. Extract the firmware update with the following command: “tar –xvzf <filename>”
  7. Start the upgrade process with the following command: “./installns”
  8. When it’s finished press “Y” to reboot the appliance and you’re done.

For the Citrix version click here. Keep in mind that the GUI is way more efficient than the CLI. So if you ever want to upgrade from version 12.x to a higher version, first check if the luck is on your side by not having a buggy GUI.

Good Luck!