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Release Note: BIG-IP Analytics 11.3.0
Release Note

Original Publication Date: 08/30/2013

Summary:

This release note documents the version 11.3.0 release of BIG-IP Analytics (AVR).

Contents:

- User documentation for this release
- Supported platforms
- Configuration utility browser support
- Installing the software
     - Changing the Resource Provisioning level of the Analytics Module
- New items and fixes in this release
     - New in this release
     - Fixes in this release
- Features and fixes introduced in prior releases
     - New features introduced in 11.2.1
     - Fixes introduced in 11.2.1
     - New features introduced in 11.2.0
     - Fixes introduced in 11.2.0
     - New features introduced in 11.1.0
     - Fixes introduced in 11.1.0
     - New features introduced in 11.0.0
     - Fixes introduced in version 11.0.0
- Known issues
- Legal notices

User documentation for this release

To view a complete list of documentation relevant to this release, see BIG-IP Analytics 11.3.0 Documentation.

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Supported platforms

For a list of supported platforms, see SOL9412: The BIG-IP release matrix. SOL9412: BIG-IP software and platform support matrix. For information about which platforms support which module combinations, see SOL10288: BIG-IP software and platform support matrix.

Important: We no longer support the provisioning of three or more modules, like LTM + AVR + ASM, on all platforms with less than 6.5GB of memory because there is not enough RAM to support all three modules running at once. Platforms with less than 6.5 GB of memory include the 1600 platform, the 3600 platform, and VCMP guests.

In addition, platforms with less than 6.5 GB memory cannot be upgraded to v.11.3.0 if three or more modules are provisioned. Upon attempting to upgrade, users see a clear error message, guiding them to SOL13988. Before upgrading a BIG-IP system with less than 6.5 GB of memory, make sure you have only one or two modules provisioned.

If you are unsure which platform you have, refer to the sticker on the back of the chassis to locate the platform number.

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Configuration utility browser support

The BIG-IP system Configuration utility supports the following browsers and versions:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.x, 9.x
  • Mozilla Firefox 15.0.x
  • Google Chrome 21.x
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Installing the software

The following instructions explain how to install the Analytics Module version 11.3.0. This section lists only the very basic steps for installing the software. You can find complete, step-by-step installation and upgrade instructions in BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active/Standby Systems and BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active-Active Systems, and we strongly recommend that you reference these documents to ensure successful completion of the installation process.

The steps in this section are based on these assumptions:

  • You made a backup or archive of the system and saved it outside of the system in order to perform a rollback if needed.
  • The license and service contract are already updated for this release, if applicable.
  • You downloaded the .iso file from F5 Downloads to /shared/images on the source for the operation.
    (Note that you might need to create this directory. If so, use this exact name, including capitalization.)
  • There is at least minimal partitioning on the system drives.
  • You have already configured a management port.
  • You are logged on to the management port of the system you want to upgrade.
  • You are logged on to a hard drive installation location other than the target for the operation.
  • You logged on using an account with administrative rights.
  • You have saved the user configuration set (UCS) in the /var/local/ucs directory on the source installation location, if applicable.
  • You are logged on to the standby unit in a redundant system, if applicable, and that you will synchronize the configuration to the active unit.
  • You turned off mirroring, if applicable.
  • If you are upgrading from 9.4.x, you ran im <downloaded_filename.iso> to copy over the new installation utility.

To install the software, use one of the following methods:

  • Run the command tmsh install sys software image BIGIP-11.3.0.XXXX.0.iso volume HD1.X. If the volume does not exist, add to the end of this command: [create-volume].
  • Use the Software Management screens in the browser-based Configuration utility.

 

After the installation finishes, you must complete the following steps before the system can pass traffic.

  1. Reboot to the new installation location.
  2. Log on to the browser-based Configuration utility as a user with administrator rights.
  3. Run the Setup utility.
  4. Provision the modules.

You can find complete, step-by-step installation and upgrade instructions in BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active/Standby Systems and BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active-Active Systems, and we strongly recommend that you reference these documents to ensure successful completion of the installation process.

The upgrade process installs the software on the inactive installation location that you specify. This process usually takes between three to seven minutes. During the upgrade process, you see messages posted on the screen. For example, you might see a prompt asking whether to upgrade the End User Diagnostics (EUD), depending on the version you have installed. To upgrade the EUD (recommended), type yes, otherwise, type no.

You can check the status of an active installation operation by running the command tmsh show sys software.

If installation fails, you can view the log file. The system stores the installation log file as /var/log/liveinstall.log.

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Changing the Resource Provisioning level of the Analytics Module

After upgrading or installing a new version, before you can use the Analytics Module, you must set the Analytics Module resource provisioning level to Nominal. You can do this from the command line, or using the Configuration utility.

Important: Wait 5 minutes after you set the resource provisioning level before making any configuration changes to the Analytics Module. The system overrides all configuration changes made before this process is completed. The system informs you when the process is not completed by displaying, in the Configuration utility, the following message: AVR is not ready. The system informs you when the process completed by indicating in the log (/var/log/avr) the following message: AVR started successfully.

To set the Analytics Module resource provisioning level to Nominal from the command line

Open the command-line interface utility, and run the following commands:
      tmsh modify sys provision avr level nominal
      tmsh save sys config

To set the Analytics Module resource provisioning level to Nominal using the Configuration utility

  1. Using the Configuration utility, on the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Resource Provisioning.
    The Resource Provisioning screen opens.
  2. Set the Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) option to Nominal.
  3. Click Submit.
    The screen refreshes, and the resource provisioning level of the Analytics Module is set to Nominal.
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New items and fixes in this release

This release includes the following new items and fixes.

New in this release

This release includes the following new items.

Viewing maximum TPS and throughput statistics
You can now view the maximum TPS and throughput of specific entities. You manage this setting by the db variable enablemaxandglobalhttpstats, which is enabled by default.
To enable this variable globally (for all Analytics profiles) from the command line, run the command: tmsh modify sys db md.enablemaxandglobalhttpstats value 1
To disable this variable globally (for all Analytics profiles) from the command line, run the command: tmsh modify sys db md.enablemaxandglobalhttpstats value 0

DNS Detailed Statistics
You can now view DNS statistics on the BIG-IP system to help you manage and report on the DNS traffic in your network. DNS statistics include DNS requests per: virtual server, query name, query type, client IP address.

To enable Analytics statistics for DNS, you need to enable the avr-dnsstat-sample-rate variable, which is disabled by default.
To enable this variable, from the command line, run the command: tmsh modify ltm profile dns <dns_profile_name> avr-dnsstat-sample-rate 1
To disable this variable, from the command line, run the command: tmsh modify ltm profile dns <dns_profile_name> avr-dnsstat-sample-rate 0

To view DNS statistics, navigate to Statistics > Analytics > DNS.

Enhanced Infrastructure
We changed the underlying Analytics infrastructure to increase performance.

Changes in the Configuration Utility
Due to system changes, we made the following changes to the Analytics Profile Properties screen:

  • We removed the settings for the collected metrics Server Latency and Throughput because they are now automatically collected.
  • We removed the setting Transaction Sampling Ratio. You can enable or disable sampling, but you cannot set the sampling ratio. If sampling is disabled, the system learns information from every transaction, while if sampling is enabled, the system learns information from a sample of the total number of transactions.
  • We moved the Trust XFF configuration setting from the Analytics configuration (on the Analytics Profile Properties screen) to the HTTP profile configuration of the Local Traffic Manager. If you upgrade from a version prior to 11.3.0 an Analytics profile with the Trust XFF setting enabled, after the upgrade, the XFF configuration setting is disabled. To enable the system to accept XFF, navigate to Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > HTTP, open the properties of an HTTP service, and select the Accept XFF check box.

 

Fixes in this release

This release includes the following fixes.

ID Number Description
ID 377110 On a machine running Enterprise Manager, on the Captured Transactions screen, the system now supports global sorting of the shared log data.
ID 384079 You can now use the Configuration utility to associate at once a high number of virtual servers with an Analytics profile. Due to paging, you cannot select thousands of virtual servers simultaneously.
ID 384224 AVR supports up to 4096 virtual servers with explicit configurations. AVR can handle any number of virtual servers, but it applies the default analytics configuration to those beyond the first 4096 virtual servers. The system reports these additional virtual servers as "aggregated" instead of with their explicit names.
ID 384303 On the Analytics profile screen, when you are editing an Analytics profile that resides under the Common partition, the system allows you to assign all virtual servers from all partitions. When you are editing an Analytics profile that resides under any other partition, the system allows you to assign virtual servers from that partition only.
ID 386925 Request and Response details are now displayed on the Captured Transactions screen when using VCMP guest devices.
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Features and fixes introduced in prior releases

New features introduced in 11.2.1

There were no new features introduced in version 11.2.1.

Fixes introduced in 11.2.1

There were no new fixes introduced in version 11.2.1.

New features introduced in 11.2.0

Centralized Reporting
With this release, the BIG-IP® Enterprise Manager supports Analytics. Enterprise Manager is an appliance that helps you streamline the administrative tasks associated with managing multiple BIG-IP devices. You can now use Enterprise Manager to view centralized analytic reports collected by more than one managed BIG-IP device configured to use Analytics.

To view statistical data according to traffic that passes through a specific device, device list, or all devices, you can either use the Device(s) filter in the Configuration utility, or you can run tmsh commands. For a list of commands, see the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide on http://support.f5.com.

tmsh support
With this release you can use tmsh commands to display the analytics of monitored entities.

Notes:

  • The analytics are displayed for statistical data in aggregated mode only.
  • The time-series modes of statistical data and captured traffic are not currently supported.

 

For information regarding the tmsh commands, see the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide on http://support.f5.com.

Exporting Analytic reports
You can now export what appears on the Analytics screens as a PDF file, as a CSV file, or send it as an attachment to an email address. From the Configuration utility, click the Export button or click the Export option from the Widget Configuration icon.

You can also export analytics reports by running tmsh commands. For a list of commands, see the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide on http://support.f5.com.

Centralized SMTP configuration (ID 374481)
SMTP configuration is now a global setting used for all email and alerts on the BIG-IP system. The email alerts sent by Analytics now rely on the global SMTP configuration (found on the screen at System > Configuration > Device > SMTP), and thus this configuration is no longer tied to SNMP and the Syslog. You can specify the SMTP configuration only in the default Analytics profile, and all child profiles use this setting.

Fixes introduced in 11.2.0

URL Decoding (ID 350381)
Analytics now performs URL decoding. As a result, the Captured Transactions screen displays URLs correctly decoded, and therefore both normalized and not-normalized URLs are displayed as the same URL. Note that Analytics functions as though UTF-8 encoding is used as the application encoding.

Maximum latency value in clustered environment (ID 368230)
We fixed a synchronization problem between blades in a clustered environment, so that the maximum latency value that the system records is correct.

Chunked response handling (ID 368599)
We fixed an issue regarding how the system handles chunked responses. In the previous version, under certain circumstances, the system returned chunked responses in an illegal format.

Refreshing the Captured Transactions details (ID 371476)
On the Captured Transactions screen, the Refresh button now works correctly after the user switches between the Details, Request and Response tabs.

Auditor user role permissions (ID 371517)
The Auditor user role now has access to the System > Analytics and System > Classification screens.

Traffic Classification appearing when Analytics is provisioned (ID 372755)
After a user provisions Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR), also known as Analytics, Traffic Classification menus and profile options are no longer visible because Traffic Classification features are not fully supported under the main license in this release.

Core due to lack of memory (ID 372915)
We fixed a TMM core that occurred as a side-effect of an out-of-memory condition. The out-of-memory condition occurred when AVR was configured to capture traffic or collect page-load-time data, and the traffic included large requests or responses. AVR no longer consumes large amounts of memory in this case.

MD memory leak (ID 373223)
We fixed an issue that sometimes caused an MD memory leak.

Traffic capturing memory leak (ID 374759)
We fixed a memory leak that sometimes occurred during traffic capturing.

Badly formatted memcached messages (ID 375963)
The system checks the format of memcached messages and ignores invalid messages, so it is no longer vulnerable to bad formatted memcached messages.

Drilling down from the Overview screen (ID 381630)
You can drill down and view statistics by clicking on data in a chart or table on the Statistics > Analytics > Overview screen.

Provisioning LTM, ASM, and AVR together using a vCMP guest on a multi-blade platform with 3G of memory (ID 385366)
You can now provision Local Traffic Manager (LTM) with Application Security Manager (ASM) and Analytics (AVR) when a vCMP (Virtual Clustered Multiprocessing) guest is deployed on a multi-blade platform with 3G of memory if you set the provisioning levels of all three modules to Minimum.

Provisioning LTM, ASM, and AVR together on the 1600 platform (ID 386379)
You can now provision Local Traffic Manager (LTM) with Application Security Manager (ASM) and Analytics (AVR) on the 1600 platform if you set the provisioning levels of all three modules to Minimum.

New features introduced in 11.1.0

VIPRION and vCMP Support
We now support the AVR module on the VIPRION® platform and on a vCMP system.

iControl Support
You can now use iControl® to configure an Analytics profile.

iRule support
You can obtain and manage AVR statistics in real-time using iRules®. From iRule, use the following expression:

ISTATS::get "<ENTITY> <name> counter <TYPE>"

Where:
ENTITY is one of the following values:

  • vip - local virtual server statistics
  • VIP - global virtual server statistics (cluster)
  • pool - local pool member statistics
  • POOL - global pool member statistics (cluster)
  • GEO - global sessions statistics (cluster)

 

NAME is one of the following values:

  • GEO - 2 capital chars of country code. Example: US
  • VIP/vip - case-sensitive full name of virtual server. Example:/Common/myvip1
  • POOL/pool - pool member name in the following format: IP%RTDOM:PORT. Examples: 172.29.38.211:80, c82d:46f5:800:0:3000:0:200:0.0, 172.29.38.211%1:80

TYPE is the metric type, and is one of the following values:

  • tps
  • request_throughput
  • response_throughput
  • server_latency
  • page_load_time
  • max_server_latency
  • max_page_load_time
  • concurrent_sessions
  • page_load_time_samples

Expression examples:
if { [ISTATS::get "VIP /common/MyVIP1 counter avr_tps"] > 10 } ....
if { [ISTATS::get "POOL 172.29.38.211%1:80 counter avg_page_load_time"] > 200} ...
if { [ISTATS::get "GEO IL counter concurrent_sessions"] > 200} ...

Notes:

  • In order to manage real-time AVR statistics using iRules, besides provisioning AVR and defining an Analytics profile with enabled metrics and entities, you need to ensure that the db variable md.enableistats is set to 1 (enabled).
    To enable the db variable, from the command line, run the command: tmsh modify sys db md.enableistats value 1
    To disable the db variable, from the command line, run the command: tmsh modify sys db md.enableistats value 0
  • Changing AVR or iRule configuration results in the cleaning of all real-time statistics.
  • There is a delay of at least 10 seconds (or more) between the time the event occurred and the time the statistics arrived.

Stop CSPM Injection
You can now use iRules to stop CSPM injection. The iRule syntax is as follows:

when AVR_CSPM_INJECTION {
if { ...expression... } {
AVR::disable_cspm_injection
}
}

Traffic Sampling
From the default Analytics profile provided by the system, you can now configure the ratio of how many transactions from which the system learns information. To do this, navigate to and select one of the following:

  • all: Specifies that the system gathers information from every request and does not perform sampling. This is the default.
  • 1 of every «n»: Specifies that the system samples every nth transaction. For example, if the value is 1 of every 10, then the system samples every tenth transaction.

Sampling should be adjusted according to expected TPS and quantity of entities.

Tip: Sampling improves system performance, so F5 recommends using sampling if you utilize more than 50 percent of the BIG-IP CPU resources, or if you have at least 100 transactions for each entity during 5 minutes.

Note: A high sampling rate results in less precise statistical data learned by the system.

Important: If you enable sampling the User Sessions metric and Traffic Capturing become unavailable.

Route Domain Support
In the Configuration utility, where you enter a client IP address, we now support the following syntax: IP_address%route_domain_id, where the IP address can (optionally) be followed by a percent sign (%) and the numeric ID of a route domain configured in the system (Network > Route Domains).

Note: If not specified, the route domain of an IP address entered in the configuration will default to the default route domain for the partition/path that is selected or current in the configuration utility (and displayed in the drop-down list at the upper right-hand corner of any screen). The default route domain of the selected or current partition/path is not shown in the configuration screens.

IPv6 Support
ASM now supports IPv6 addresses in all parts of the product where you can configure an IP address. Any place where IP addresses are displayed, whether in the GUI or in internal/external logging capabilities, both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are shown in their normal string representations.

GUI enhancements
We made the following enhancements to the Configuration utility:

  • Added an Overview screen that displays different statistical information in graphs about traffic on your system centralized on one screen. This screen is made of widgets that you can customize.
  • You can now edit an Active Rule (in the Alerts and Notifications Configuration area of the Analytics configuration screen) instead of having to delete an unwanted rule and create a new one.

Fixes introduced in 11.1.0

Virtual server traffic when AVR not provisioned (ID 349658)
The system presents an alert with a warning message when AVR is selected to be un-provisioned and has a virtual server with an Analytics profile assigned to it.

Note: If any Analytics profile is assigned to a virtual server and AVR becomes un-provisioned (or if it was already un-provisioned before assigning the Analytics profile to the virtual server), traffic will not pass through the virtual server. To work around this issue, you can set the Analytics Profile setting to None (and then click Update to save the changes). We recommended you do so before un-provisioning AVR to avoid traffic stoppage. In addition, the Analytics Profile setting is visible in the virtual server’s Advanced Properties screen even when AVR is not provisioned.

Pre-filtered countries statistics (ID 360182)
On the Analytics Statistics screen, the list of countries in the "Countries" filter is now pre-filtered to display only countries that accessed the unit.

Records Per Screen setting all inclusive (ID 364715)
The number of Analytics profiles displayed at a time on the Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics screen now conforms to the configuration of the Records Per Screen setting on the System > Preferences screen.

Preserving changes to default Analytics profile settings after restarting the system (ID 368440)
Any changes in default Analytics profile are preserved after you restart the system. In the previous release, the default Analytics profile’s settings were reset and returned to the system’s default values.

New features introduced in 11.0.0

This release introduced BIG-IP Analytics, also known as Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR). Analytics is a module on the BIG-IP® system that lets you analyze performance of web applications. It provides detailed metrics such as transactions per second, server latency, page load time, request and response throughput, and sessions. You can view metrics for applications, virtual servers, pool members, URLs, specific countries, and additional detailed statistics about an application. You can use the Configuration utility filters to configure which traffic the system captures, publishes and analyzes.

Transaction counters for response codes, user agents, HTTP methods, countries, and IP addresses provide statistical analysis of the traffic that is going through the system. You can capture traffic for examination and have the system send alerts so you can troubleshoot problems and immediately react to sudden changes.

Use the remote logging capabilities to consolidate statistics gathered from multiple BIG-IP appliances onto syslog servers or Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) devices, such as Splunk.

You must provision AVR. AVR is provisioned separately from the Local Traffic Manager, but requires the Local Traffic Manager be provisioned.

Once you have provisioned AVR, you can perform the following:

  • Create an Analytics profile. Navigate to Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics.
  • View charts of statistical information about traffic sent to your web application. Navigate to Overview > Statistics > Analytics.
  • View application traffic transactions that the system captured. Navigate to Overview > Statistics > Captured Transactions.

Important: You must have Adobe Flash Player installed on the computer where you plan to view Analytics statistics.

Fixes introduced in version 11.0.0

There were no fixes in version 11.0.0.

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Known issues

The following items are known issues in the current release.

No support for triplet module combinations on low-end platforms (ID 403592)
Platforms with less than 6.5 GB memory cannot be upgraded to version 11.3.0 if three or more modules are provisioned. Upon attempting to upgrade, users see a clear error message that guides them to SOL13988. Before upgrading, make sure you have only one or two modules provisioned if the BIG-IP system has less than 6.5 GB of memory.

Different methods of calculating statistics (ID 344054)
The system calculates statistics differently in the graphs and in the table. In the graphs, the system displays a snapshot of statistics recorded at a specific point in time, every five minutes. In the table, the system displays a cumulative number of statistics recorded.

Report delay (ID 344763)
It may take up to a few minutes for the system to display in the graphs changes made to the Analytics configuration.

Compressed responses (ID 346255)
Analytics does not collect page load time statistics for gzipped (compressed) responses.

Graphs are not automatically refreshed (ID 348588)
The graphs do not are not automatically refresh. To have the graphs update, you must manually refresh the page.

Global Traffic Manager pools and Analytics Statistics (ID 351257)
Health monitor requests for Global Traffic Manager (GTM) pools or servers are shown in Analytics statistics.

AVR and APM (ID 368119)
If an Analytics profile is assigned to a virtual server and an Access profile is assigned to same virtual server, then statistics for pool members are not displayed for page load time.

Restart md after changing sampling ratio (ID 372174)
After changing the sampling ratio, you must restart the MD service by running the command: bigstart restart md.

Chunked response size less than actual (ID 379479)
For chunked responses, the system reports the average HTTP response size in the Configuration utility and database as at least 25 bytes less than its actual size. This is because the system does not report the header "Transfer-Encoding:chunked" and the numbers that indicate the chunked size.

Requests for the Outlook Address Book (ID 391159)
If an Analytics profile is assigned to the Exchange 2010 HTTP virtual server, requests for the Outlook Address Book (/oab) fail. To work around this issue, add the following iRule to the system to disable AVR when a HEAD method is seen:

when HTTP_REQUEST {
if { [HTTP::method] equals "HEAD" } {
AVR::disable
}
}

Error when drilling down statistics (ID 396068)
Sometimes when you drill down on the Statistics > Analytics screen, the system displays the following error: "Cannot drilldown into entity: %s ".

Drilling down statistics for IP address and query name (ID 396131)
Although the system permits you to select options from the filter to view statistics by a client IP address and then drill down to view statistics for a custom domain-name ("query name"), you should not. This filter combination is invalid and does not produce results.

Restarting a bigstart daemon (ID 397064)
If you stop and restart a bigstart daemon (for example, if you run the command bigstart restart mysql) afterward, you must also run the command bigstart start to restart dependent daemons.

Resetting concurrent session statistics (ID 402353)
AVR concurrent session statistics available in iRules are not reset to zero when the traffic is completely stopped. So a later event that triggers iRules and checks for the concurrent number of active sessions does not acquire a value of zero. Instead, it acquires the number of active sessions for some time in the past when there was traffic activity.

HTTPD errors log (ID 402739)
HTTPD errors appear in the httpd_errors log if you navigate to the Security > Overview > Application > Traffic screen and set any value, except for the default value, Show details, for any widget.

Statistic collecting limitations (ID 403654)
AVR collects only the first 128 symbols of a domain name and the first 64 symbols of an ACL Rule and an ACL Rule Context. ACL Rule collection is a part of the Advanced Firewall Module (AFM).

Entering invalid values using tmsh (ID 403864)
When you are entering invalid values for measures, entities or drilldown entities in the various tmsh analytics commands, error messages appear in /var/log/avr/monpd.log and /var/log/ltm (in either the multi-blade system or when accessed from Enterprise Manager).

Traffic Capturing of URLs (ID 403987)
URLs are not displayed on the Traffic Capturing screen even when URL collection is enabled in the AVR profile.

Sending traffic with AVR and Response-Adapt profiles (ID 404106)
When sending HTTP traffic through a virtual server configured with AVR and Response-Adapt profiles, and the ICAP server modifies the response, AVR does not report any activity for the virtual server.

Filtering a widget (ID 404473)
You cannot configure a filter from the popup screen where you add and edit add a widget.

Sampling online help (ID 404893)
The online help on the Analytics Profile Properties screen incorrectly states "If you enable sampling the User Sessions metric and Traffic Capturing become unavailable.” User Sessions and Traffic Capturing are available regardless of the sampling state.

Changing IP address of virtual server (ID 408162)
Changing the IP address, or port, of a virtual server can lead to a mismatch of statistics gathered on this virtual server and other virtual servers created afterward. This issue affects both AVR Analytics and Application Security DOS decisions.
To work around this issue, avoid changing the IP address of a virtual server. Instead, delete the virtual server and create a new one. If you do change the virtual server’s IP address, you must restart TMM by performing the command: bigstart restart tmm.

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