I can't seem to find any simple examples of disabling and re-enabling machines using the
ssh interface. Can someone give me a brief example or a pointer to decent documentation?
http://askf5.com/ is a good source for all kinds of documentation. You're probably going to need the Bigpipe command line reference sections for "pool" and "node". The document for TMOS 10.1 can be found here:
You may want to disable the node complete if it is going down for maintenance*1, or you might want to disable the pool member if you're updating a specific application*2.
b node <node name> down b pool <pool name> members <IP:port> session <enable|disable>
Be aware that the commands might vary slightly between TMOS versions. There is also a configuration documentation error relevant in this case: http://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/11000/800/sol11845.html.