Before you start installing the controller, we recommend that you browse the Administrator Guide and find the load balancing solution that most closely addresses 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 and gather the necessary network information, turn to this Installation Guide for hardware installation instructions, and then return to the Administrator Guide to follow the steps for setting up your chosen solution.
The BIG-IP platform offers both web-based and command line configuration tools, so that users can work in the environment that they are most comfortable with.
All users will use the First-Time Boot utility, a wizard that walks you through the initial system set up. The First-Time Boot utility automatically starts the first time you turn the controller on, and it prompts you to enter basic system information including a root password and the IP addresses that will be assigned to the network interfaces. The Installation Guide provides detailed information about the specific pieces of information that the First-Time Boot utility prompts you to enter.
The Configuration utility is a web-based administrative application that you use to configure and monitor the load balancing setup on the BIG-IP Controller. Once you complete the installation instructions described in this guide, you can use the Configuration utility to the configuration steps outlined in the Administrator Guide. In the Configuration utility, you can also monitor current system performance, and download administrative tools such as the SNMP MIB or the SSH client. The Configuration utility requires Netscape Navigator version 4.7 or later, or Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.1 or later.
The bigpipeTM utility is the command line counter-part to the Configuration utility. Using bigpipe commands, you can configure virtual servers, open ports to network traffic, and configure a wide variety of features. To monitor the BIG-IP Controller, you can use certain bigpipe commands, or you can use the bigtopTM utility, which provides real-time system monitoring. You can use the command line utilities directly on the BIG-IP Controller, or you can execute commands via a remote shell, such as the SSH client (included with the global release only), or a Telnet client (for countries restricted by cryptography export laws). The BIG-IP Controller Reference Guide provides detailed information about command line syntax.
The BIG-IP® Controller Administrator Kit provides simple steps for quick, basic configuration, and also provides detailed information about more advanced features and tools, such as the bigpipe command line utility. The information is organized into the guides described below.
To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, all F5 Networks administrative documentation uses the stylistic conventions described below.
Warning: All examples in F5 Networks 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 addresses.
When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example, a virtual server is a the combination of an IP address and port that maps to a set of back-end servers.
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 bigpipe vip command requires that you include at least one <node> variable.
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/section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. For example, you can find information about bigpipe commands in the bigpipe Command Reference section of the BIG-IP Controller Reference Guide.
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 BIG-IP Controller load balancing mode to Round Robin:
bigpipe lb rr
Table 1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.
|Item in text||Description|
|\||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 square brackets is optional.|
|...||Indicates that you can type a series of items.|
In addition to this administrator guide, you can find technical documentation about the BIG-IP Controller in the following locations:
The BIG-IP Controller offers the following major new features in version 3.3, in addition to many smaller enhancements.
The BIG-IP e-Commerce Controller is a new member of the BIG-IP product family. You can use the BIG-IP e-Commerce Controller to process SSL connections to your network. This controller contains a specific set of software and hardware features that accelerate SSL connections.
This version of the BIG-IP Controller is available as the BIG-IP Cache Controller. The BIG-IP Cache Controller version contains a specific set of features from the BIG-IP Controller that maximizes the efficiency of caches in your network. In addition to the load balancing features available with this controller, this version of the controller has new rule syntax that provides the ability to redirect HTTP requests to caches in your network. These features include:
This version of the BIG-IP Controller includes internal performance enhancements. These enhancements improve the overall performance of the BIG-IP Controller.
The BIG-IP Controller platform offers many different software systems. These systems can be stand-alone, or can run in redundant pairs, with the exception of the BIG-IP e-Commerce Controller, which is only available as a stand-alone system. You can easily upgrade from any special-purpose BIG-IP Controller to the BIG-IP HA Controller, which supports all BIG-IP Controller features.
Note: BIG-IP Controllers distributed outside of the United States to a select few countries, regardless of system type, do not support encrypted communications. They do not include the F-Secure SSH client, nor do they support SSL connections to the BIG-IP web server. Instead, you can use the standard Telnet, FTP, and HTTP protocols to connect to the unit and perform administrative functions.