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Manual Chapter: About Logging Policy Enforcement Events to IPFIX Collectors
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Configuring IPFIX logging for PEM

You can configure the BIG-IP® system to log information about Policy Enforcement Manager™ (PEM™) processes and send the log messages to remote IPFIX collectors.

The BIG-IP system supports logging of PEM events over the IPFIX protocol. IPFIX logs are raw, binary-encoded strings with their fields and field lengths defined by IPFIX templates. IPFIX collectors are external devices that can receive IPFIX templates and use them to interpret IPFIX logs.

The configuration process involves creating and connecting the following configuration objects:

Object Reason
Pool of IPFIX collectors Create a pool of IPFIX collectors to which the BIG-IP system can send IPFIX log messages.
Destination Create a log destination to format the logs in IPFIX templates, and forward the logs to the IPFIX collectors.
Publisher Create a log publisher to send logs to a set of specified log destinations.

Task summary

Perform these tasks to configure IPFIX logging of PEM processes on the BIG-IP® system.
Note: Enabling IPFIX logging impacts BIG-IP system performance.

Assembling a pool of IPFIX collectors

Before creating a pool of IPFIX collectors, gather the IP addresses of the collectors that you want to include in the pool. Ensure that the remote IPFIX collectors are configured to listen to and receive log messages from the BIG-IP® system.
These are the steps for creating a pool of IPFIX collectors. The BIG-IP system can send IPFIX log messages to this pool.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Pools .
    The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. Using the New Members setting, add the IP address for each IPFIX collector that you want to include in the pool:
    1. Type the collector's IP address in the Address field, or select a node address from the Node List.
    2. Type a port number in the Service Port field.
      By default, IPFIX collectors listen on UDP or TCP port 4739 and Netflow V9 devices listen on port 2055, though the port is configurable at each collector.
    3. Click Add.
  5. Click Finished.

Creating an IPFIX log destination

A log destination of the IPFIX type specifies that log messages are sent to a pool of IPFIX collectors. Use these steps to create a log destination for IPFIX collectors.

  1. On the Main tab, click System > Logs > Configuration > Log Destinations .
    The Log Destinations screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique, identifiable name for this destination.
  4. From the Type list, select IPFIX.
  5. From the Protocol list, select IPFIX or Netflow V9, depending on the type of collectors you have in the pool.
  6. From the Pool Name list, select an LTM® pool of IPFIX collectors.
  7. From the Transport Profile list, select TCP, UDP, or any customized profile derived from TCP or UDP.
  8. The Template Retransmit Interval is the time between transmissions of IPFIX templates to the pool of collectors. The BIG-IP system only retransmits its templates if the Transport Profile is a UDP profile.
    An IPFIX template defines the field types and byte lengths of the binary IPFIX log messages. The logging destination sends the template for a given log type (for example, NAT44 logs or customized logs from an iRule) before sending any of those logs, so that the IPFIX collector can read the logs of that type. The logging destination assigns a template ID to each template, and places the template ID into each log that uses that template.

    The log destination periodically retransmits all of its IPFIX templates over a UDP connection. The retransmissions are helpful for UDP connections, which are lossy.

  9. The Template Delete Delay is the time that the BIG-IP device should pause between deleting an obsolete template and re-using its template ID. This feature is helpful for systems that can create custom IPFIX templates with iRules.
  10. The Server SSL Profile applies Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) to TCP connections. You can only choose an SSL profile if the Transport Profile is a TCP profile. Choose an SSL profile that is appropriate for the IPFIX collectors' SSL/TLS configuration.
    SSL or TLS requires extra processing and therefore slows the connection, so we only recommend this for sites where the connections to the IPFIX collectors have a potential security risk.
  11. Click Finished.

Creating a publisher

A publisher specifies where the BIG-IP® system sends log messages for IPFIX logs.
  1. On the Main tab, click System > Logs > Configuration > Log Publishers .
    The Log Publishers screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique, identifiable name for this publisher.
  4. Use the Log Destinations setting to select an existing IPFIX destination (perhaps along with other destinations for your logs): click any destination name in the Available list, and click << to move it to the Selected list.
  5. Click Finished.

Implementation result

Now you have an implementation in which the BIG-IP® system logs messages about PEM™ session, flow and transation reporting and sends the log messages to a pool of IPFIX collectors.

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