Updating TNSR

With a signed client certificate from Netgate in place, TNSR has access to the Netgate software repositories which contain important updates to TNSR. These updates can be retrieved using the package command in the TNSR CLI, or in the host OS shell.


Updating TNSR also updates the operating system. Even when there are no TNSR updates available, it is a good practice to periodically perform an update to obtain important operating system updates such as security vulnerability mitigations.

See also

Most of this document covers in-place updates. For information on updating by redeploying/reinstalling, see Upgrading by Redeploying TNSR.


There is no method to upgrade in-place from a CentOS-based TNSR installation to an Ubuntu-based TNSR installation. The only way to migrate to Ubuntu is by backing up, reinstalling, and then restoring the old configuration.

Pre-Upgrade Tasks

Before updating TNSR, perform the following tasks:

  • Read through the Netgate TNSR Releases release notes for the new version to identify relevant changes in behavior which may require special actions before or after the upgrade

  • Make sure the signed certificate is in place (Install the certificate)

  • Make sure the TNSR instance has working Internet connectivity

  • Have installation media ready for the new version of TNSR software. Problems during an in-place update may require reinstallation of TNSR software.

  • Take a backup of the running and startup configurations, plus other important files such as the signed certificate and keys (Configuration Backups)

  • Save a configuration history version, if enabled:

    tnsr# configure
    tnsr(config)# configuration history version save before-upgrade-xx.yy

    Replace xx.yy with the new TNSR version.

  • If TNSR is running as a virtual machine, take a snapshot


Though it is optional, best practices for updating include a pre-upgrade reboot. This reboot ensures that the hardware and installation are functional before attempting the upgrade. This can help identify potential hardware and other issues, such as storage failures, so they do not present themselves unexpectedly during the upgrade.

Updating TNSR In-place

These methods may be used to upgrade to later versions of TNSR as well as to obtain regular updates for the operating system.


This only updates TNSR and the current operating system version, it cannot change to a different operating system base.

Updates via the TNSR CLI

The easiest way to update TNSR is from within the TNSR CLI itself.

tnsr# package upgrade

That command will download and apply all available updates. Afterward, exit the CLI and start it again.


There will be no output from this command until the process completely finishes, which may take a few minutes for larger updates.

Updating via the shell

TNSR can also be updated from the command line using the host OS package management commands:

Updating Ubuntu

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Update Script

The following shell script may be used to keep TNSR and the operating system (Ubuntu) updated. In addition to the updates it also makes a local backup before performing the update.

Download: updatetnsr.sh

# Time to make the backups
mkdir -p ~/tnsr-config-backup
sudo cp -p /var/tnsr/running_db ~/tnsr-config-backup/running_db-`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`.xml
sudo cp -p /var/tnsr/startup_db ~/tnsr-config-backup/startup_db-`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`.xml

# Check OS type to determine upgrade method
. /etc/os-release

case "${ID}" in
	# Update via APT
	echo "Upgrading TNSR on Ubuntu"
	sudo apt-get update
	sudo apt-get upgrade -y
	echo "Unrecognized Operating System"
	exit 1

# Start services
sudo tnsrctl restart

Post-Upgrade Reboot

TNSR upgrades include kernel updates, driver updates, and other operating system component updates. As such, the best practice is to reboot after upgrading these to ensure the device is running the proper kernel and is using a consistent set of updated system components.

The reboot procedure is covered in Rebooting the Router.

Updating the Configuration Database

Automatic Configuration Update

TNSR has its own automatic configuration upgrade procedures which accommodate changes made to the configuration database structure between versions.


The TNSR configuration upgrade only alters the running configuration database and not the startup database. After starting TNSR the first time post-upgrade, validate the running configuration. If the running configuration is OK, copy it to the startup configuration:

tnsr# config
tnsr(config)# configuration copy running startup

Manual Configuration Update

Any errors which could not be corrected by the automatic configuration upgrade process must be corrected by hand. Alternately, the configuration databases may be erased and recreated from scratch.

To attempt manual corrections, check the system logs after attempting to start TNSR for information about which configuration entries are causing the failure. View the logs with sudo systemctl status clixon-backend.service, sudo journalctl -xelu clixon-backend.service and sudo journalctl -xe.

A log entry for a configuration problem could look like the following example:

clixon_backend: startup_failsafe: 297: Database error: Startup failed and no
  Failsafe database found, exiting
clixon_backend: <rpc-reply><rpc-error>
  <error-message>namespace is: urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:netconf:base:1.0</error-message>

To correct such problems, stop TNSR, edit the configuration in /var/tnsr/running_db (e.g. sudo vi /var/tnsr/running_db), erase or adjust the offending tag or configuration section, copy the repaired configuration to /var/tnsr/startup_db, and attempt to start TNSR again. Repeat until no errors are reported and TNSR starts normally.

To erase the configuration database, remove its files from /var/tnsr:

$ sudo rm /var/tnsr/*_db

After removing the configuration and starting TNSR, the TNSR configuration will need to be created again manually from scratch using the CLI or RESTCONF. Open the contents of a configuration backup in a text editor to use as a guide.

Additional Reboot / Update Verification

After performing a TNSR update and updating the configuration, administrators may wish to perform a reboot of the router to ensure it starts up correctly with the expected configuration.

This practice ensurs that the router performs as expected at startup during an upgrade maintenance window.

Once the upgrade has been validated as working, create a new configuration history version, if enabled:

tnsr# configure
tnsr(config)# configuration history version save after-upgrade-xx.yy

Replace xx.yy with the new TNSR version.

Upgrading by Redeploying TNSR

Rather than performing an in-place update of a TNSR installation, administrators may instead choose to deploy a fresh instance of TNSR using the new version. This practice is typical of environments such as cloud providers or virtual machines, but may be performed for ISO installations and others as well.

In those cases, follow this general procedure:

  • Take a backup of the configuration and other important files (e.g. PKI data)

  • Deploy a new instance of TNSR using the installation instructions for the chosen platform

  • Restore the configuration and other files

  • Update the configuration (Updating the Configuration Database)

See Configuration Backups for details on saving and restoring configuration backups, and review Updating the Configuration Database for important information about updating the configuration for a new version of TNSR.