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Manual Chapter: Configuring a BIG-IP System with iSession in Bridge Mode
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Configuring the BIG-IP system in bridge mode

A bridge deployment is one method of deploying a BIG-IP system directly in the path of traffic, such as between a WAN router and LAN switch. In bridge mode, the BIG-IP system is transparent on the network, and the system optimizes traffic using a single bridge self IP address. This configuration allows the BIG-IP system to bridge the LAN and WAN subnets, and requires no changes to the router configuration.

Note: If you are using IPsec encapsulation, F5 recommends that you use a routed deployment rather than a bridge deployment.

Illustration of a bridge deployment

This illustration shows a pair of BIG-IP systems in a bridge deployment (Site B) on one side of the WAN, and a one-arm deployment on the other side.

Example of a bridge deployment Example of a bridge deployment

Before you begin configuring an iSession connection

Before you configure an iSession connection on the BIG-IP system, make sure that you have completed the following general prerequisites.

  • You must have an existing routed IP network between the two locations where the BIG-IP devices will be installed.
  • One BIG-IP system is located on each side of the WAN network you are using.
  • The BIG-IP hardware is installed with an initial network configuration applied.
  • F5 recommends that both units be running the same BIG-IP software version.
  • The Application Acceleration Manager license is enabled.
  • Application Acceleration Manager (AAM) is provisioned at the level Nominal.
  • The management IP address is configured on the BIG-IP system.
  • You must have administrative access to both the Web management and SSH command line interfaces on the BIG-IP system.
  • If there are firewalls, you must have TCP port 443 open in both directions. Optionally, you can allow TCP port 22 for SSH access to the command line interface for configuration verification, but not for actual BIG-IP iSession traffic. After you configure the BIG-IP system, you can perform this verification from the Configuration utility (Acceleration > Symmetric Optimization > Diagnostics).

Task summary

If you are configuring a BIG-IP system in bridge mode, you configure two VLANs and a VLAN group, and then associate a self IP address with the VLAN group.

Creating VLANs

Create VLANs for the internal and external interfaces on the BIG-IP system.
  1. On the Main tab, click Network > VLANs. The VLAN List screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New VLAN screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type lan.
  4. In the Tag field, type a numeric tag between 1 and 4094 for the VLAN, or leave the field blank if you want the BIG-IP system to automatically assign a VLAN tag. The VLAN tag identifies the traffic from hosts in the associated VLAN.
  5. For the Interfaces setting, click an internal interface (port) in the Available list, and move the selected interface to the Untagged or Tagged list, depending on your network configuration. This VLAN is for the traffic that the BIG-IP system you are configuring will optimize.
  6. Click Repeat. The VLAN lan is added to the VLAN list, and the New VLAN screen opens.
  7. In the Name field, type wan.
  8. In the Tag field, type a numeric tag between 1 and 4094 for the VLAN, or leave the field blank if you want the BIG-IP system to automatically assign a VLAN tag. The VLAN tag identifies the traffic from hosts in the associated VLAN.
  9. For the Interfaces setting, click an external interface (port) in the Available list, and move the selected interface to the Untagged or Tagged list, depending on your network configuration. This VLAN terminates the existing inbound iSession connections.
  10. Click Finished. The screen refreshes, and displays the two new VLANs in the list.

Creating a VLAN group

Create a VLAN group that includes the internal and external VLANS you created.
  1. On the Main tab, click Network > VLANs > VLAN Groups. The VLAN Groups list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New VLAN Group screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type bridge.
  4. For the VLANs setting, move the lan and wan VLANs that you created, from the Available list to the Members list.
  5. If you are using IPsec encapsulation (not recommended for bridge mode), from the Transparency Mode list, select Opaque.
  6. Click Finished.
You have created a VLAN group that bridges the LAN and WAN subnets.
Example of VLAN group for bridge deployment
Example of VLAN Group for bridge deployment

Creating a self IP address for a VLAN group

A VLAN group must be created before you add a self IP address.
Create a self IP address to associate with the VLAN group you created.
  1. On the Main tab, click Network > Self IPs. The Self IPs screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Self IP screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a descriptive name for the self IP address, for example bridge.
  4. In the IP Address field, type an IP address that is not in use and resides on the VLAN group you created. In the example shown, this is 10.150.2.1.
  5. In the Netmask field, type the network mask for the specified IP address.
  6. From the VLAN/Tunnel list, select bridge, which is the VLAN group you created.
  7. From the Port Lockdown list, select Allow None. This selection avoids potential conflicts (for management and other control functions) with other TCP applications. However, to access any of the services typically available on a self IP address, select Allow Custom, so that you can open the ports that those services need.
  8. In the Traffic Group field, clear the check box, and select traffic-group-local-only (non-floating) from the drop-down menu.
  9. Click Finished. The screen refreshes, and displays the new self IP address in the list.
The self IP address is assigned to the VLAN group specified.
Example of self IP address assigned to VLAN group
Example of self IP address assigned to VLAN group

Defining a route

You must define a route on the local BIG-IP system for sending traffic to its destination. In the example shown, the route defined uses the default gateway to send traffic to the router.
  1. On the Main tab, click Network > Routes.
  2. Click Add. The New Route screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the default gateway, such as default-gateway.
  4. In the Destination field, type the IP address 0.0.0.0. An IP address of 0.0.0.0 in this field indicates that the destination is a default route.
  5. In the Netmask field, type 0.0.0.0, the network mask for the default route.
  6. From the Resource list, select Use Gateway. The gateway represents a next-hop or last-hop address in the route.
  7. For the Gateway Address setting, select IP Address and type the IP address of the gateway.

Checking connectivity

Important: Use this task as a checkpoint before proceeding with iSessionsetup.
You can verify connectivity from the command-line interface.
  1. Ping the gateway using the command-line access to the BIG-IP system.
  2. Ping end-to-end across the WAN. In the example shown, this is between Server 1 and Server 2.
  3. Initiate a TCP file transfer between Server 1 and Server 2.

Setting up an iSession connection using the Quick Start screen

You cannot view the Quick Start screen until you have defined at least one VLAN and at least one self IP on a configured BIG-IP system that is provisioned for acceleration.
Use the Quick Start screen to quickly set up symmetric optimization on a single screen of the BIG-IP system using the default settings. To optimize WAN traffic, you must configure symmetric optimization on both sides of the WAN.
  1. On the Main tab, click Acceleration > Quick Start > Symmetric Properties.
  2. In the WAN Self IP Address field, type the local endpoint IP address, if it is not already displayed. This IP address must be in the same subnet as a self IP address on the BIG-IP system, and to make sure that dynamic discovery properly detects this endpoint, the IP address must be the same as a self IP address on the BIG-IP system.
  3. Verify that the Discovery setting is set to Enabled. If you disable the Discovery setting, or discovery fails, you must manually configure any remote endpoints and advertised routes.
  4. Specify the VLANs on which the virtual servers on this system receive incoming traffic.
    Option Description
    LAN VLANs Select the VLANs that receive incoming LAN traffic destined for the WAN.
    WAN VLANs Select the VLANs that receive traffic from the WAN through an iSession connection.
  5. In the Authentication area, for the Outbound iSession to WAN setting, select the SSL profile to use for all encrypted outbound iSession connections. To get WAN optimization up and running, you can use the default selection serverssl, but you need to customize this profile for your production environment.
  6. For the Inbound iSession from WAN setting, leave the default selection wom-default-clientssl or select another SSL profile for which the Non-SSL Connections setting is enabled.
  7. In the IP Encapsulation area, from the IP Encapsulation Type list, select the encapsulation type, if any, for outbound iSession traffic.
    1. If you select FEC, select a FEC profile from the FEC Profile list that appears, or retain the default, default-ipsec-policy-isession.
    2. If you select IPsec, select an IPsec policy from the IPSEC Policy list that appears, or retain the default, default-ipsec-policy-isession.
    3. If you select IPIP, the system uses the IP over IP tunneling protocol, and no additional encapsulation setting is necessary.
    4. If you select GRE, select a GRE profile from the GRE Profile list that appears, or retain the default, gre.
  8. Click Apply.
This example shows a completed Quick Start screen.
Example of completed Quick Start screen Example of completed Quick Start screen
To complete the setup, repeat this task on the BIG-IP system on the other side of the WAN. After you configure the iSession endpoints, use an iApp template to select the application traffic for optimization. Click Acceleration > Quick Start > Deploy Applications. Click Create, from the Template list select f5.replication, and follow the online instructions.

Validating iSession configuration

At this point, you have finished configuring the iSession connection on BIG-IP systems at opposite sides of the WAN, and the systems have discovered their remote endpoints.
Important: Use this task as a checkpoint to allow for troubleshooting before you complete the setup.
You can validate the configuration using the browser and command-line interfaces.
  1. Run diagnostics to verify the configuration.
    1. On the Main tab, click Acceleration > Symmetric Optimization > Diagnostics.
    2. Next to Diagnose WOM Configuration, click Run.
    3. Correct any configuration errors as indicated on the screen.
  2. Transfer data between the servers at the two sites, and verify that the transfer was successful.
  3. Using the command-line interface, enter tmsh show wom remote-endpoint all, and verify the remote endpoint IP address and the STATE: Ready message. The following listing is an example of the results for this command. ----------------------------------------------------------- Remote endpoint: 10.150.3.1 ----------- ----------------------------------------------------------- Status HOSTNAME: clientside3600.example.net MGMT ADDR: 192.X.X.X VERSION: 11.4.0 UUID: 1a28:79aa:d38:6914:e76a:5b9a:b76:1657 enabled STATE: ready ----------- BEHIND NAT: no CONFIG STATUS: none DEDUP CACHE: 43.5G REFRESH count: 0 REFRESH timestamp: 12/31/12 16:00:00 ALLOW ROUTING: disabled ----------------------------------------------------------- Endpoint Isession Statistic: _tunnel_data_10.150.3.1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Connections Current Maximum Total Connections OUT IDLE: 0 0 0 Connections OUT ACTIVE: 0 0 0 Connections IN ACTIVE: 1 1 1 Direction Action Raw Opt Out (to WAN) bits Deduplication 838.8M 839.4M Out (to WAN) bits Compression 841.9M 842.0M Direction Action Opt Raw In (from WAN) bits Decompression 1.2K 1.2K In (from WAN) bits Deduplication 1.2K 880
  4. Using the browser interface, view the green status indicator on the Remote Endpoints screen.
  5. On the Main tab, click Acceleration > Dashboard > WAN Optimization, and view the traffic optimization data.

Viewing pertinent configuration details from the command line

Ensure that you have configured the BIG-IP system in a bridge deployment.
You can view details of the bridge deployment configuration from the command line.
  1. Access the tmsh command-line utility.
  2. At the command prompt, type tmsh net vlan-group. A listing similar to the following example appears. net vlan-group bridge-gp bridge-traffic enabled members { /Common/lan /Common/wan
  3. At the command prompt, type tmsh list all-properties. The following listing is an example of the pertinent information displayed on the command line for a bridge configuration. ltm profile tcp wom-tcp-lan-optimized { abc enabled ack-on-push enabled app-service none close-wait-timeout 5 cmetrics-cache disabled congestion-control high-speed defaults-from tcp-lan-optimized deferred-accept disabled delay-window-control disabled delayed-acks disabled description none dsack disabled ecn disabled fin-wait-timeout 5 idle-timeout 600 init-cwnd 0 init-rwnd 0 ip-tos-to-client 0 keep-alive-interval 1800 limited-transmit enabled link-qos-to-client 0 max-retrans 8 md5-signature disabled md5-signature-passphrase none nagle enabled partition Common pkt-loss-ignore-burst 0 pkt-loss-ignore-rate 0 proxy-buffer-high 1228800 proxy-buffer-low 98304 proxy-mss disabled proxy-options disabled receive-window-size 65535 reset-on-timeout enabled rfc1323 enabled selective-acks enabled selective-nack disabled send-buffer-size 65535 slow-start disabled syn-max-retrans 3 syn-rto-base 0 tcp-options none time-wait-recycle enabled time-wait-timeout 2000 verified-accept disabled zero-window-timeout 20000 } ltm profile tcp wom-tcp-wan-optimized { abc enabled ack-on-push disabled app-service none close-wait-timeout 5 cmetrics-cache enabled congestion-control high-speed defaults-from tcp-wan-optimized deferred-accept disabled delay-window-control disabled delayed-acks disabled description none dsack disabled ecn disabled fin-wait-timeout 5 idle-timeout 600 init-cwnd 0 init-rwnd 0 ip-tos-to-client 0 keep-alive-interval 1800 limited-transmit enabled link-qos-to-client 0 max-retrans 8 md5-signature disabled md5-signature-passphrase none nagle enabled partition Common pkt-loss-ignore-burst 8 pkt-loss-ignore-rate 10000 proxy-buffer-high 196608 proxy-buffer-low 131072 proxy-mss disabled proxy-options disabled receive-window-size 2048000 reset-on-timeout enabled rfc1323 enabled selective-acks enabled selective-nack enabled send-buffer-size 2048000 slow-start disabled syn-max-retrans 3 syn-rto-base 0 tcp-options none time-wait-recycle enabled time-wait-timeout 2000 verified-accept disabled zero-window-timeout 300000 } ltm virtual isession-virtual { app-service none auth none auto-lasthop default clone-pools none cmp-enabled yes connection-limit 0 description none destination 10.150.2.1:any enabled fallback-persistence none gtm-score 0 http-class none ip-protocol tcp last-hop-pool none mask 255.255.255.255 mirror disabled nat64 disabled partition Common persist none pool none profiles { isession { context clientside } wom-default-clientssl { context clientside } wom-tcp-lan-optimized { context serverside } wom-tcp-wan-optimized { context clientside } } rate-class none rules none snat none source-port preserve traffic-classes none translate-address enabled translate-port disabled vlans none vlans-disabled } net interface 1.1 { app-service none description none enabled flow-control tx-rx force-gigabit-fiber disabled mac-address 0:1:d7:7d:ea:c4 media none media-active 1000T-FD media-fixed auto media-max 1000T-FD media-sfp auto mtu 1500 prefer-port sfp stp enabled stp-auto-edge-port enabled stp-edge-port true stp-link-type auto vendor none } net interface 1.2 { app-service none description none enabled flow-control tx-rx force-gigabit-fiber disabled mac-address 0:1:d7:7d:ea:c5 media none media-active 1000T-FD media-fixed auto media-max 1000T-FD media-sfp auto mtu 1500 prefer-port sfp stp enabled stp-auto-edge-port enabled stp-edge-port true stp-link-type auto vendor none } net route 10.x-route { description none gw 10.150.2.254 mtu 0 network default partition Common } net self bridge-10.150.2 { address 10.150.2.1/24 allow-service none app-service none description none floating disabled inherited-traffic-group false partition Common traffic-group traffic-group-local-only unit 0 vlan bridge-gp } net vlan lan { app-service none auto-lasthop default description none failsafe disabled failsafe-action failover-restart-tm failsafe-timeout 90 interfaces { 1.2 { app-service none untagged } } learning enable-forward mtu 1500 partition Common source-checking disabled tag 4094 } net vlan wan { app-service none auto-lasthop default description none failsafe disabled failsafe-action failover-restart-tm failsafe-timeout 90 interfaces { 1.1 { app-service none untagged } } learning enable-forward mtu 1500 partition Common source-checking disabled tag 4093 } net vlan-group bridge-gp { app-service none auto-lasthop default bridge-in-standby enabled bridge-multicast enabled bridge-traffic enabled description none members { /Common/lan /Common/wan } migration-keepalive disabled mode translucent partition Common proxy-excludes none } sys datastor { cache-size 1066 description none disk enabled high-water-mark 90 low-water-mark 80 store-size 97076 } sys disk application-volume datastor { logical-disk HD1 owner datastor preservability discardable resizeable false size 97076 volume-set-visibility-restraint none } sys management-route default { app-service none description none gateway 192.31.3.129 mtu 1500 network default } sys provision wom { app-service none cpu-ratio 0 description none disk-ratio 0 level nominal memory-ratio 0 } sys provision woml { app-service none cpu-ratio 0 description none disk-ratio 0 level none memory-ratio 0 } wom advertised-route 10.150.2.0-24 { app-service none description none dest 10.150.2.0/24 include enabled label none metric 0 origin manually-saved } wom deduplication { description none dictionary-size 256 disk-cache-size 97076 enabled max-endpoint-count 1 wom endpoint-discovery { auto-save enabled description none discoverable enabled discovered-endpoint enabled icmp-max-requests 1024 icmp-min-backoff 5 icmp-num-retries 10 max-endpoint-count 0 mode enable-all } wom local-endpoint { addresses { 10.150.2.1 } allow-nat enabled description none endpoint enabled ip-encap-mtu 0 ip-encap-profile { "" } ip-encap-type none no-route passthru server-ssl serverssl snat none tunnel-port https } wom profile isession isession-http { adaptive-compression enabled app-service none compression enabled compression-codecs { deflate lzo bzip2 } data-encryption disabled deduplication enabled defaults-from isession deflate-compression-level 1 description none mode enabled partition Common port-transparency enabled reuse-connection enabled target-virtual virtual-match-all } wom remote-endpoint 10.150.3.1 { address 10.150.3.1 allow-routing disabled app-service none description none endpoint enabled ip-encap-mtu 0 ip-encap-profile none ip-encap-type default origin manually-saved server-ssl none snat default tunnel-encrypt enabled tunnel-port https } wom server-discovery { auto-save enabled description none filter-mode exclude idle-time-limit 0 ip-ttl-limit 5 max-server-count 50 min-idle-time 0 min-prefix-length-ipv4 24 min-prefix-length-ipv6 128 mode enabled rtt-threshold 10 subnet-filter none time-unit days }

Implementation result

After you complete the tasks in this implementation, the BIG-IP system is configured in a bridge deployment. For symmetric optimization using an iSession connection, you must also configure the BIG-IP system on the other side of the WAN. The other BIG-IP deployment can be in bridge, routed, or one-arm mode.

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