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Archived Manual Chapter: 3-DNS Installation Guide v4.1: Introduction
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Getting started

Welcome to the 3-DNS Installation Guide. Before you get started installing the controller, we recommend that you browse the 3-DNS Administrator Guide to find the configuration solution that most closely matches your needs. Briefly review the basic configuration tasks and the few pieces of information you should gather in preparation for completing the tasks, such as IP addresses and host names.

Once you find your solution in the Administrator Guide and gather the necessary network information, turn to this Installation Guide for instructions on installing the hardware and running the First-Time Boot utility. Then return to the Administrator Guide for instructions on setting up your chosen solution.

Choosing a configuration tool

The 3-DNS Controller provides the following web-based and command line administrative tools that make for easy setup and configuration.

First-Time Boot utility

The First-Time Boot utility is a wizard that walks you through the initial system set up. The utility helps you quickly define basic system settings, such as a root password and the IP addresses for the interfaces that connect the 3-DNS Controller to the network. The First-Time Boot utility also helps you configure access to the 3-DNS web server, which hosts the web-based Configuration utility, as well as the NameSurferTM application that you can use for DNS zone file management.

Configuration utility

The Configuration utility is a web-based application that you use to configure and monitor the 3-DNS Controller. Using the Configuration utility, you can define the load balancing configuration along with the network setup, including data centers, sync groups, and servers used for load balancing and path probing. In addition, you can configure advanced features such as topology settings and the SNMP agent. The Configuration utility also monitors network traffic, current connections, load balancing statistics, and the operating system itself.

The 3-DNS web server, which hosts the Configuration utility, provides convenient access to downloads such as the SNMP MIB, and documentation for third-party applications such as the NameSurfer application.

NameSurfer application

The NameSurfer application, distributed by F-Secure® Corporation, is a third-party application that automatically configures DNS zone files associated with domains handled by the 3-DNS Controller. You can use the NameSurfer application to configure and maintain additional DNS zone files on 3-DNS Controllers that run as primary DNS servers. The Configuration utility provides direct access to the NameSurfer application, as well as the corresponding documentation for the application.

3-DNS Maintenance menu

The 3-DNS Maintenance menu is a command line utility that executes scripts which assist you in configuration and administrative tasks, such as installing the latest version of the big3d agent on all your systems, backing up the load balancing configuration files, or adding a new 3-DNS Controller to an existing network. You can use the 3-DNS Maintenance menu directly on the 3-DNS Controller, or you can use the menu when connected to the controller using a remote shell, such as the MindTerm SSH client (if ssh is configured), or an RSH client (if rsh is configured).

Browser support

The Configuration utility, which provides web-based access to the 3-DNS Controller system configuration and features, supports the following browser versions:

  • Netscape Navigator 4.5 through 4.7
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, versions 5.0 and 5.5

Using the Administrator Kit

The Administrator Kit includes the following items:

  • 3-DNS Software and Documentation CD-ROM
    The 3-DNS Software and Documentation CD-ROM contains PDF files of the 3-DNS Installation Guide, the 3-DNS Administrator Guide, and the 3-DNS Reference Guide. The CD-ROM also contains the Release Notes, optional software downloads, and the documentation for the NameSurfer application. You can insert the 3-DNS Software and Documentation CD-ROM into a workstation CD-ROM drive to view any of the documents. You can also use the CD-ROM as a recovery tool to reinstall the 3-DNS software in the event of a catastrophic failure.
  • 3-DNS Configuration Worksheet
    Use the Configuration Worksheet to gather the information you need to configure the 3-DNS Controller itself, as well as the load balancing configuration.

Overview of the 3-DNS Controller documentation

The 3-DNS Controller documentation provides comprehensive information about the features of the controller, instructions for installing the controller, and configuration steps and examples. The following guides make up the 3-DNS Controller documentation:

  • 3-DNS Installation Guide
    The 3-DNS Installation Guide walks you through the basic steps needed to get the hardware plugged in and the system connected to the network. Most users turn to this guide only the first time that they set up a 3-DNS Controller. The Installation Guide also covers general network administration issues, such as setting up common network administration tools including Sendmail.
  • 3-DNS Administrator Guide
    The 3-DNS Administrator Guide describes essential configuration tasks, basic and advanced load balancing solutions, and monitoring and administration tools. For example, in the Administrator Guide, you can find everything from a basic DNS request load balancing solution to a more advanced content delivery solution.
  • 3-DNS Reference Guide
    The 3-DNS Reference Guide provides basic descriptions of individual 3-DNS Controller objects, such as wide IPs, pools, virtual servers, load balancing modes, the big3d agent, resource records, and production rules. It also provides syntax information for 3dnsmaint commands, configuration utilities, the wideip.conf file, and system utilities.

Stylistic conventions

To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, this documentation uses the stylistic conventions described below.

Warning: All examples in this documentation use only non-routable IP addresses. When you set up the solutions we describe, you must use IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample IP addresses.

Identifying new terms

When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example, a wide IP is a mapping of a fully-qualified domain name to a set of virtual servers that host the domain's content.

Identifying references to objects, names, and commands

We apply bold text to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, the nslookup command requires that you include at least one <ip_address> variable.

Identifying references to other documents

We use italic text to denote a reference to another document. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as a specific chapter or section in the book, we show the book name in bold, italic text, and the chapter or section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. For example, you can find information about 3-DNS Maintenance menu commands in Chapter 6, Administration and Monitoring, in the 3-DNS Administrator Guide.

Identifying command syntax

We show actual, complete commands in bold Courier text. Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. For example, the following command sets the 3-DNS Controller pool load balancing mode to Quality of Service:

pool_lb_mode qos

Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.

Command line conventions used in this manual

Item in text



Continue to the next line without typing a line break.

< >

You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name.


Separates parts of a command.

[ ]

Syntax inside the brackets is optional.


Indicates that you can type a series of items.

Finding help and technical support resources

You can find additional technical documentation about the 3-DNS Controller in the following locations:

  • Release notes
    Release notes for the 3-DNS Controller are available from the home screen of the Configuration utility. The release note contains the latest information for the current version, including a list of new features and enhancements, a list of fixes, and a list of known issues.
  • Online help for 3-DNS Controller features
    You can find help online in three different locations:

    • The Configuration utility home screen has PDF versions of the guides included in the Administrator Kit. The 3-DNS Controller software upgrades replace the guides with updated versions as appropriate.
    • The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. Simply click the Help button in the toolbar.
    • Individual commands have online help, including command syntax and examples, in standard UNIX man page format. Type the command followed by the question mark option (-?), and the 3-DNS Controller displays the syntax and usage associated with the command.
  • Third-party documentation for software add-ons
    The Configuration utility contains online documentation for the third-party software included with the 3-DNS Controller, including NameSurfer.
  • Technical support through the World Wide Web
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, contains the AskF5 knowledge base and provides the latest technical notes and updates for the 3-DNS Administrator Kit guides (in PDF and HTML formats). To access this site you must first email and obtain a customer ID and a password.
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