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Archived Manual Chapter: 520/540 Platform Guide: Introducing the 520/540 Platform
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1

Introducing the 520/540 Platform


Reviewing the 520/540 platform

The 520 and 540 platforms are powerful systems capable of managing traffic for medium to large enterprises.

Externally, the 520 and 540 platforms look the same (Figure 1.1 ). However, there are internal differences. The 540 is a dual-processor platform with more memory than the 520 platform. For details, see Reviewing hardware specifications, on page 3-1 .

Three PCI expansion slots are available on both the 540 and 520. These PCI slots provide the option to add SSL accelerator cards, additional 10/100 network interface cards, or Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

Figure 1.1 An example of the 520/540 platform. In this case, a BIG-IP Controller

Getting started

There are several basic tasks you must complete to get the 520/540 platform installed and set up.

  • Review the hardware requirements.
  • Familiarize yourself with the controller hardware.
  • Review the environmental requirements.
  • Connect the controller to the network, and optionally connect the peripheral hardware.
  • Activate the license.

The controller comes with the hardware that you need for installation and maintenance. However, you must also provide standard peripheral hardware, such as a keyboard or serial terminal, if you want to administer the controller directly.

Components provided with the controller

When you unpack the controller, you should make sure that the following components, shown in Figure 1.2 , are included:

  • One power cable
  • Four rack-mounting screws
  • Documentation and Software CD

If you purchased a hardware-based redundant system, you also received one fail-over cable to connect the two controller units together (network-based redundant systems do not require a fail-over cable).

Figure 1.2 Components included with the controller

Peripheral hardware that you provide

For each controller in the system, you need to provide the following peripheral hardware:

  • If you plan to use direct administrative access to the controller, you need standard input/output hardware. Either of the following options is acceptable:

  • If you want to use the default controller configuration, you must have an administrative workstation on the same IP network as the Controller.
  • You also need network hubs, switches, or concentrators to connect to the controller network interfaces. The devices you select must be compatible with the network interface cards installed in the controller. The devices can support 10/100 Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet.

    • Ethernet requires either a 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps hub or switch.
    • Gigabit Ethernet requires a compatible Gigabit Ethernet switch.

    If you plan on doing remote administration from your own PC workstation as most users do, we recommend that you have your workstation already in place. Keep in mind that the Setup utility prompts you to enter your workstation's IP address when you set up remote administrative access.

Familiarizing yourself with the controller

The controller is offered in 520 and 540 hardware configurations. Before you begin to install the controller, you may want to quickly review the following figures that illustrate the controls and ports on both the front and the back of a 520 controller and a 540 controller.

Using the 520/540 hardware

This section describes the front and back layout of a 520/540 controller. Figure 1.3 illustrates the front of a 520/540 controller. On the front of the unit, you can turn the unit off and on, or you can reset the unit. You can also view the indicator lights for hard disk access.

Note


The interfaces on every controller are labeled, so it should be clear what each port is, no matter which hardware configuration you have purchased.



Figure 1.3 Front view of a 520/540 controller

1. Reset button 2. Netboot button 3. Status LEDs
 

If you have a special hardware configuration, such as one that includes more than two interfaces, the ports on the back of your unit differ slightly from those shown in Figure 1.4, on page 1-6 .

Table 1.1 describes the behavior of the LEDs in normal startup and in error conditions.



 

Description

Power LED

Status LED

Activity LED

Alarm LED

Normal Startup:

       

Power is off

Black

Black

Black

Black

Starting Up - BIOS

Green

Black

Black

Yellow

Starting Up - Loader

Green

Black

Yellow

Yellow

Starting Up - Kernel

Green

Blink

Yellow

Flicker Yellow* for storage device

Yellow

System ready - (standby mode)

Green

Yellow

Flicker Green** for Traffic

Black

System ready - (active mode)

Green

Green

Flicker Green for Traffic

Black

         

Error Conditions:

       

Overtemp or fan failure

Green

Yellow or Green

Flicker Green for Traffic

Blink Red

Out of memory or other serious condition

Green

Yellow or Green

Flicker Green for Traffic

Red

One or more virtual servers have all nodes down

Green

Yellow or Green

Flicker Green for Traffic

Blink Yellow

One or more health monitors failed

Green

Yellow or Green

Flicker Green for Traffic

Yellow

Self Test Failed in Phase 1

Green

Black

Black

Red

Self Test Failed in Phase 2

Green

Black

Black

Black

Self Test Failed in Phase 3

Green

Blink Yellow

Black

Red

*After startup, LED3 never flickers yellow, even though the storage device may be accessed.

**Flicker Green means traffic is being load balanced or routed.

 

Figure 1.4 , following, illustrates the back of a 520/540 controller. Note that all ports are labeled, even those which are not intended to be used. Ports marked with an asterisk (*) in the list following do not need to be connected to any peripheral hardware.



1. Fan
2. Power in
3. Mouse port*
4. Keyboard port
5. Universal serial bus ports*
6. Serial terminal port
7. Fail-over port
8. Video (VGA) port
9. Net1 interface (1.1)
10. Net2 interface (1.2)
11. On/off button
12. PCI expansion slots
 

*Not to be connected to any peripheral hardware.

Figure 1.4 Back view of a 520/540 controller

Environmental requirements

Before you install the controller, review the following guidelines to make sure that you are installing and using the controller in the appropriate environment.

General guidelines

A controller is an industrial network appliance, designed to be mounted in a standard 19-inch rack. To ensure safe installation and operation of the unit:

  • Install the rack according to the manufacturer's instructions, and check the rack for stability before placing equipment in it.
  • Build and position the rack so that once you install the controller, the power supply and the vents on both the front and back of the unit remain unobstructed. The controller must have adequate ventilation around the unit at all times.
  • Do not allow the air temperature in the room to exceed 40° C.
  • Do not plug the unit into a branch circuit shared by more electronic equipment than the circuit is designed to manage safely at one time.
  • Verify that the voltage selector is set appropriately before connecting the power cable to the unit.

Guidelines for DC-powered equipment

A DC-powered installation must meet the following requirements:

  • Install the unit using a 20 Amp external branch circuit protection device.
  • For permanently connected equipment, incorporate a readily accessible disconnect in the fixed wiring.
  • Use only copper conductors.

Installing and connecting the hardware

There are two basic tasks required to install the hardware. You simply need to install the controller in a rack, and then connect the peripheral hardware and the interfaces.

Warning


Do not turn on a controller until all peripheral hardware is connected to the unit.
To install the hardware in a rack
  1. Lift the unit into place. This requires more than one person.
  2. Secure the unit using the four rack-mounting screws that are provided.
    Figure 1.5 shows the orientation of the controller and the mounting screws for installation in a standard 19" rack. Figure 1.6 shows the controller installed in the rack.

    Figure 1.5 Platform orientation for rack mounting

    Figure 1.6 Platform installed in a 19" rack

To connect the cables and hardware for input/output
  1. Connect the hardware that you have chosen to use for input/output:

    • If you are using a VGA monitor and keyboard, connect the monitor connector cable to the video port (number 8 in Figure 1.4 ), and connect the keyboard connector cable to the keyboard port (number 4 in Figure 1.4 ).
    • Optionally, if you are using a serial terminal as the console, connect the serial cable to the terminal serial port (number 6 in Figure 1.4 ). In this case, you should not connect a keyboard to the controller. If there is no keyboard connected to the controller when it is started or rebooted, the controller defaults to using the serial port as the console.
  2. Connect the interface labeled Net1 (number 9 in Figure 1.4 ) to the network from which the controller receives connection requests.

    If you have purchased a unit with three or more network interface cards (NICs), be sure to note or write down how you connect the cables to the interfaces. When you run the Setup utility, it automatically detects the number of interfaces that are installed, and prompts you to configure more external interfaces if you want. It is important to select the correct interfaces based on the way you have connected the cables to the back of the unit. For more information about interfaces, see Interfaces , following.

  3. Connect the interface labeled Net2 (number 10 in Figure 1.4 ) to the network that houses the array of servers, routers, or firewalls that the controller load balances.
  4. If you have a hardware-based redundant system, connect the fail-over cable to the fail-over port on each unit (number 7 in Figure 1.4 ).
  5. Connect the power cable to the controller power in (number 2 in Figure 1.4 ), and then connect it to the power source.

Interfaces

This platform can have as few as one network interface. It is helpful to understand interface naming conventions before you perform configuration tasks such as displaying interface status and settings, setting the media type, and setting the duplex mode.

Interface naming conventions

By convention, the Ethernet interfaces on the platform take the name <s>.<p>, where s is the slot number of the NIC, and p is the port number on the NIC. As shown in Figure 1.7 , for the 520/540 platform, slot numbering is top-to-bottom, and port numbering is left-to-right. Note that slot 1 contains the two onboard NICs numbered 1.1 and 1.2. The numbers 2, 3, and 4 in Figure 1.7 illustrate the slot numbering for the PCI expansion slots. For example, if you installed a single port NIC in the PCI slot marked 2, the port number would be 2.1.

Figure 1.7 520/540 platform slot and port numbering

Displaying status and settings for interfaces

From the command line interface, use the following syntax to display the current status and the settings for all installed interfaces:

b interface show

Figure 1.8 shows an example of the output you see when you issue this command on an active/standby unit in active mode.

Figure 1.8 The bigpipe interface show command output


interface speed pkts pkts pkts pkts bits bits errors trunk STP
Mb/s in out drop coll in out
1.1 UP 100 HD 0 213 0 0 0 74.2K 0
1.2 UP 100 HD 20 25 0 0 28.6K 33.9K 0
 

Use the following syntax to display the current status and the setting for a specific interface:

b interface <if_name> show

Media type and duplex mode

Properties that are configurable on the interfaces include media type and duplex mode, as shown in Table 1.2 .


 

Interface Properties

Description

media

You may specify a media type or use auto for automatic detection.

duplex

You may specify a full or half duplex mode, or use auto for automatic selection.

 

Setting the media type

You can set the media type to that of the interface, or to auto for auto-detection. If the media type is set to auto and the card does not support auto-detection, the default type for that interface is used, for example 100BaseTX.

Use the following syntax to set the media type:

b interface <if_name> media <media_type> | auto

(Default media type is auto.)

To view the valid media types for an interface, type the following command:

b interface <if_name> media show

Note


If the platform is inter-operating with an external switch, the media setting should match that of the switch.

Setting the duplex mode

You can set duplex mode to full or half duplex. If the media type does not allow duplex mode to be set, this is indicated by an onscreen message. If media type is set to auto, or if setting duplex mode is not supported for the interface, the duplex setting is not saved to bigip_base.conf.

Use the following syntax to set the duplex mode:

b interface <if_name> duplex full | half | auto

(Default mode is auto.)

Activating the license

Once the platform is installed in the rack and connected to the network, you need a valid license certificate to activate the software. To gain a license certificate, you need to provide two items to the license server: a registration key and a dossier.

The registration key is a 25-character string. In some cases, you may have received the key by email. If you received a CD, the number is on the back of the CD case. The registration key lets the license server know which F5 products you are entitled to license.

The dossier is obtained from the software, and is an encrypted list of key characteristics used to identify the platform

You can obtain a license certificate using one of the following methods:

  • Automatic license activation
    You perform automatic license activation from the command line, the License utility on an unlicensed unit, or from the web-based Configuration utility of an upgraded unit. The automatic method automatically retrieves and submits the dossier to the F5 license server, as well as installing the signed license certificate. In order for you to use this method, the unit must be installed on a network with Internet access.
  • Manual license activation
    You perform manual license activation from the License utility on an unlicensed unit, or from the web-based Configuration utility of an upgraded unit. With the manual method, you submit the dossier to, and retrieve the signed license file from, the F5 license server manually. In order for you to use this method, the administrative workstation must have Internet access.

    Note


    You can open the Configuration utility with Netscape Navigator version 4.7, or Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.0 or 5.5. The Configuration utility is not supported in Netscape Navigator version 6.0.

Automatically activating a license

You can perform automatic license activation from the command line, the License utility on an unlicensed unit, or from the web-based Configuration utility of an upgraded unit. This section describes the automatic license activation process in the following cases:

  • From the web-based License utility or Configuration utility.
  • From the command line, first-time installation.
  • From the command line, upgrading a current installation.

To automatically activate a license using the Configuration utility
  1. Open the Configuration utility according to the type of BIG-IP unit you are licensing:

    • If you are licensing a previously configured BIG-IP unit, open the Configuration utility using the configured address.
    • If you are licensing a new BIG-IP unit, from the administrative workstation, open the Configuration utility using one of the the following addresses:
      https://192.168.1.245
      https://192.168.245.245
      .
      These are default addresses on the unit's local area network.
  2. Type the name and password, based on the type of BIG-IP unit you are licensing:

    • If you are licensing a previously configured BIG-IP unit, type your user name and password at the log on prompt.
    • If you are licensing a new BIG-IP system, type the user name root, and the password default at the log on prompt.

      The product welcome screen displays.

  3. Access the License utility based on the type of BIG-IP unit you are licensing:

    • If the unit does not have a license from a previouse version, click License Utility to open the License Administration screen.
    • If the unit has a license from a previous version, or an evaluation license, click Configuration Utility. In the navigation pane, click System Admin, and then click the License Administration tab.
  4. In the Registration Key box, type the 25-character registration key that you received. If you have more than one key to install, click Enter More Keys to install multiple keys. Once you have entered all registration keys, click Automated Authorization.

    The License Status screen displays status messages, and Process complete appears when the licensing activation is finished.

  5. Click License Terms, review the EULA, and accept it.
  6. At the Reboot Prompt screen, select when you want to reboot the platform.
    License activation is complete only after rebooting.
To automatically activate a license from the command line for first time installation
  1. Type the user name root and the password default at the logon prompt.
  2. At the prompt, type license.
    The following prompts appear:

    IP:
    Netmask:
    Default Route:
    Select interface to use to retrieve license:

    The platform uses this information to make an Internet connection to the license server.

  3. After you type the Internet connection information, continue to the following prompt:

    The Registration Key should have been included with the software or given when the order was placed.

    Do you have your Registration Key? [Y/N]:

  4. Type Y, and the following prompt appears:

    Registration Key:

  5. Type the 25-character registration key you received.

    After you press Enter, the dossier is retrieved and sent to the F5 license server, and a signed license file is returned and installed. A message displays indicating the process was successful. If the licensing process is not successful, contact your vendor.

  6. You are asked to accept the End User License Agreement.
    The system will not be fully functional until you accept this agreement.
  7. You are prompted to reboot the system. Press Enter to reboot. The system will not be fully functional until you reboot.
To automatically activate a license from the command line for upgrades
  1. Type your user name and password at the log on prompt.
  2. At the prompt, type setup.
  3. Choose menu option L.
  4. The following prompt displays:

    Number of keys: 1

    If you have more than one registration key, enter the appropriate number.

  5. The following prompt displays:

    Registration Key:

  6. Type the 25-character registration key you received. If you received more than one key, enter all of the keys separated by blanks.

    After you press Enter, the dossier is retrieved and sent to the F5 license server, and a signed license file is returned and installed. A message displays indicating the process was successful.

  7. If the licensing process is not successful, contact your vendor.
  8. When you are finished with the licensing process, type the following command to restart the services on the system:

    bigstart restart

Manually activating a license

You can perform manual license activation from the License utility on an unlicensed unit, or from the web-based Configuration utility of an upgraded unit. With this method, you submit the dossier to, and retrieve the signed license file from, the F5 license server manually. This section describes the manual license activation process using the Configuration utility or License utility.

To manually activate a license using the License utility or Configuration utility
  1. Open the Configuration utility according to the type of BIG-IP unit you are licensing:

    • If you are licensing a previously configured BIG-IP unit, open the Configuration utility using the configured address.
    • If you are licensing a new BIG-IP unit, from the administrative workstation, open the Configuration utility using one of the following addresses:
      https://192.168.1.245
      https://192.168.245.245
      .
      These are default addresses on the unit's local area network.
  2. Type the name and password, based on the type of BIG-IP unit you are licensing:

    • If you are licensing a previously configured BIG-IP unit, type your user name and password at the log on prompt.
    • If you are licensing a new BIG-IP system, type the user name root, and the password default at the log on prompt.

      The product welcome screen displays.

  3. Access the License utility based on the type of BIG-IP unit you are licensing:

    • If the unit does not have a license from a previouse version, click License Utility to open the License Administration screen.
    • If the unit has a license from a previous version, or an evaluation license, click Configuration Utility. In the navigation pane, click System Admin and then click the License Administration tab.
  4. In the Registration Key box, type the 25-character registration key that you received. If you have more than one key to install, click Enter More Keys to install multiple keys. Once you have entered all registration keys, click Manual Authorization.
  5. At the Manual Authorization screen, retrieve the dossier using one of the following methods:

    • Copy the entire contents of the Product Dossier box.
    • Click Download Product Dossier, and save the dossier to the hard drive.
  6. Click the link in the License Server box.
    The Activate F5 License screen opens in a new browser window.
  7. From the Activate F5 License screen, submit the dossier using one of the following methods:

    • Paste the data you just copied into the Enter your dossier box, and click Activate.
    • At the Product Dossier box, click Browse to locate the dossier on the hard drive, and then click Activate.

      The screen returns a signed license file.

  8. Retrieve the license file using one of the following methods:

    • Copy the entire contents of the signed license file.
    • Click Download license, and save the license file to the hard drive.
  9. Return to the Manual Authorization screen, and click Continue.
  10. At the Install License screen, submit the license file using one of the following methods:

    • Paste the data you copied into the License Server Output box, and click Install License.
    • At the License File box, click Browse to locate the license file on the hard drive, and then click Install License.

      The License Status screen displays status messages, and Process complete appears when licensing activation is finished.

  11. Click License Terms, review the EULA, and accept it.
  12. At the Reboot Prompt screen, select when you want to reboot the platform.
    License activation is complete only after rebooting.

Using the Setup utility

Once you install the platform and obtain a license, you can configure the software with the Setup utility. The Setup utility defines the initial configuration settings required to install the platform into the network.

See the BIG-IP Reference Guide, Chapter 2, Using the Setup Utility for full details and instructions. You can download the guide from the CD.

Additional resources

You can find additional technical information about this product in the following resources:

  • CD
    You can download additional documentation such as the BIG-IP Reference Guide and the BIG-IP Solutions Guide .
  • Release notes
    Release notes for the current version of this product are available from the product web server home page, and are also available on the technical support site. The release notes contain the latest information for the current version, including a list of new features and enhancements, a list of fixes, and, in some cases, a list of known issues.
  • Online help
    You can find help online in three different locations:

    • The web server on the product has PDF versions of the guides included on the Software and Documentation CD.
    • The web-based Configuration utility has online help for each screen. Simply click the Help button.
    • Individual bigpipe commands have online help, including command syntax and examples, in standard UNIX man page format. Simply type the command followed by the word help, and the BIG-IP software displays the syntax and usage associated with the command.
  • Third-party documentation for software add-ons
    The Product and Documentation CD contains online documentation for all third-party software, such as the Advanced Routing Modules.
  • Technical support through the World Wide Web
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site, http://tech.f5.com, provides the latest technical notes, answers to frequently asked questions, updates for administrator guides (in PDF format), and the AskF5 natural language question and answer engine. To access this site, you need to register at http://tech.f5.com.


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