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Release Note: BIG-IP Analytics 11.1.0
Release Note

Original Publication Date: 11/28/2011

Summary:

This release note documents the version 11.1.0 release of the BIG-IP Analytics Module.

Note: F5 offers general availability releases and general sustaining releases. For detailed information on our policies, refer to SOL8986: F5 software lifecycle policy.

Contents:

- User documentation for this release
- Supported platforms
- Installing the software
     - Installing the current software
     - Changing the Resource Provisioning level of the Analytics Module
- New items and fixes in this release
     - New in this release
     - Fixes in this release
- Features and fixes introduced in prior releases
     - New features introduced in 11.0.0
     - Fixes introduced in version 11.0.0
- Known issues
- Contacting F5 Networks

User documentation for this release

To view a complete list of documentation relevant to this release, see BIG-IP AVR 11.1.0 Documentation.

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Supported platforms

To view a list of supported platforms, see SOL10288: BIG-IP software and platform support matrix.

If you are unsure which platform you have, look at the sticker on the back of the chassis to find the platform number.

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Installing the software

The following instructions explain how to install the Analytics Module version 11.1.0.

Installing the current software

This section lists only the very basic steps for installing the software. The BIG-IP® Systems: Getting Started Guide contains details and step-by-step instructions for completing an installation. F5 recommends that you consult the getting started guide for all installation operations.

The steps in this section assume that:

  • The license and service contract are already updated for this release, if applicable.
  • You downloaded the .iso file from F5 Downloads to /shared/images on the source for the operation.
    (Note that you might need to create this directory. If so, use this exact name, including capitalization.)
  • There is at least minimal partitioning on the system drives.
  • You have already configured a management port.
  • You are logged on to the management port of the system you want to upgrade.
  • You are logged on to a hard drive installation location other than the target for the operation.
  • You logged on using an account with administrative rights.
  • You have saved the user configuration set (UCS) in the /var/local/ucs directory on the source installation location, if applicable.
  • You are logged on to the standby unit in a redundant system, if applicable, and that you will synchronize the configuration to the active unit.
  • You turned off mirroring, if applicable.
  • If you are upgrading from 9.4.x, you ran im <downloaded_filename.iso> to copy over the new installation utility.

Installation consists of the following steps.

  1. To copy the upgrade utility, run the command im (for first-time 11.x installation).
  2. To install the software, use one of the following methods:
    • Run the command tmsh install sys software image BIGIP-11.1.0.XXXX.0.iso volume HD1.X. If the volume does not exist, add to the end of this command: [create-volume].
    • Use the Software Management screens in the browser-based Configuration utility.

After the installation finishes, you must complete the following steps before the system can pass traffic.

  1. Reboot to the new installation location.
  2. Log on to the browser-based Configuration utility.
  3. Run the Setup utility.
  4. Provision the modules.

Each of these steps is covered in detail in the BIG-IP® Systems: Getting Started Guide, and we recommend that you reference the guide to ensure successful completion of the installation process.

The upgrade process installs the software on the inactive installation location that you specify. This process usually takes between three minutes and seven minutes. During the upgrade process, you see messages posted on the screen. For example, you might see a prompt asking whether to upgrade the End User Diagnostics (EUD), depending on the version you have installed. To upgrade the EUD, type yes, otherwise, type no.

You can check the status of an active installation operation by running the command tmsh show sys software.

If installation fails, you can view the log file. The system stores the installation log file as /var/log/liveinstall.log.

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Changing the Resource Provisioning level of the Analytics Module

After upgrading or installing a new version, before you can use the Analytics Module, you must set the Analytics Module resource provisioning level to Nominal. You can do this from the command line, or using the Configuration utility.

To set the Analytics Module resource provisioning level to Nominal from the command line

Open the command-line interface utility, and run the following commands:
      tmsh modify sys provision avr level nominal
      tmsh save sys config

To set the Analytics Module resource provisioning level to Nominal using the Configuration utility

  1. Using the Configuration utility, on the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Resource Provisioning.
    The Resource Provisioning screen opens.
  2. Set the Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) option to Nominal.
  3. Click Update.
    The screen refreshes, and the resource provisioning level of the Analytics Module is set to Nominal.

Important: Wait 5 minutes after you set the resource provisioning level before making any configuration changes to the Analytics Module. The system overrides all configuration changes made before this process is completed. The system informs you when the process is not completed by displaying, in the Configuration utility, the following message: AVR is not ready. The system informs you when the process completed by indicating in the log (/var/log/avr) the following message: AVR started successfully.

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New items and fixes in this release

This release includes the following new items and fixes.

New in this release

VIRPION and vCMP Support
We now support the AVR module on the VIPRION platform and on a vCMP system.

iControl Support
You can now use iControl® to configure an Analytics profile.

iRule support
You can obtain and manage AVR statistics in real-time using iRules. From iRule, use the following expression:

ISTATS::get "<ENTITY> <name> counter <TYPE>"

Where:
ENTITY is one of the following values:

  • vip - local virtual server statistics
  • VIP - global virtual server statistics (cluster)
  • pool - local pool member statistics
  • POOL - global pool member statistics (cluster)
  • GEO - global sessions statistics (cluster)

NAME is one of the following values:

  • GEO - 2 capital chars of country code. Example: US
  • VIP/vip - case-sensitive full name of virtual server. Example:/Common/myvip1
  • POOL/pool - pool member name in the following format: IP%RTDOM:PORT. Examples: 172.29.38.211:80, c82d:46f5:800:0:3000:0:200:0.0, 172.29.38.211%1:80

TYPE is the metric type, and is one of the following values:

  • tps
  • request_throughput
  • response_throughput
  • server_latency
  • page_load_time
  • max_server_latency
  • max_page_load_time
  • concurrent_sessions
  • page_load_time_samples

Expression examples:
if { [ISTATS::get "VIP /common/MyVIP1 counter avr_tps"] > 10 } ....
if { [ISTATS::get "POOL 172.29.38.211%1:80 counter avg_page_load_time"] > 200} ...
if { [ISTATS::get "GEO IL counter concurrent_sessions"] > 200} ...

Notes:

  • In order to manage real-time AVR statistics using iRules, besides provisioning AVR and defining an Analytics profile with enabled metrics and entities, you need to ensure that the ISTATS variable is enabled in /etc/bigstart/scripts/md.
  • Changing AVR or iRule configuration results in the cleaning of all real-time statistics.
  • There is a delay of at least 10 seconds (or more) between the time the event occurred and the time the statistics arrived.

Stop CSPM Injection
You can now use iRules to stop CSPM injection. The iRule syntax is as follows:

when AVR_CSPM_INJECTION {
if { ...expression... } {
AVR::disable_cspm_injection
}
}

Traffic Sampling
From the default Analytics profile provided by the system, you can now configure the ratio of how many transactions from which the system learns information. To do this, navigate to and select one of the following:

  • all: Specifies that the system gathers information from every request and does not perform sampling. This is the default.
  • 1 of every «n»: Specifies that the system samples every nth transaction. For example, if the value is 1 of every 10, then the system samples every tenth transaction.

Sampling should be adjusted according to expected TPS and quantity of entities.

Tip: Sampling improves system performance, so F5 recommends using sampling if you utilize more than 50 percent of the BIG-IP CPU resources, or if you have at least 100 transactions for each entity during 5 minutes.

Note: A high sampling rate results in less precise statistical data learned by the system.

Important: If you enable sampling the User Sessions metric and Traffic Capturing become unavailable.

Route Domain Support
In the Configuration utility, where you enter a client IP address, we now support the following syntax: IP_address%route_domain_id, where the IP address can (optionally) be followed by a percent sign (%) and the numeric ID of a route domain configured in the system (Network > Route Domains).

Note: If not specified, the route domain of an IP address entered in the configuration will default to the default route domain for the partition/path that is selected or current in the configuration utility (and displayed in the drop-down list at the upper right-hand corner of any screen). The default route domain of the selected or current partition/path is not shown in the configuration screens.

IPv6 Support
ASM now supports IPv6 addresses in all parts of the product where you can configure an IP address. Any place where IP addresses are displayed, whether in the GUI or in internal/external logging capabilities, both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are shown in their normal string representations.

GUI enhancements
We made the following enhancements to the Configuration utility:

  • Added an Overview screen that displays different statistical information in graphs about traffic on your system centralized on one screen. This screen is made of widgets that you can customize.
  • You can now edit an Active Rule (in the Alerts and Notifications Configuration area of the Analytics configuration screen) instead of having to delete an unwanted rule and create a new one.

Fixes in this release

This release includes the following fixes.

Virtual server traffic when AVR not provisioned (ID 349658)
The system presents an alert with a warning message when AVR is selected to be un-provisioned and has a virtual server with an Analytics profile assigned to it.

Note: If any Analytics profile is assigned to a virtual server and AVR becomes un-provisioned (or if it was already un-provisioned before assigning the Analytics profile to the virtual server), traffic will not pass through the virtual server. To work around this issue, you can set the Analytics Profile setting to None (and then click Update to save the changes). We recommended you do so before un-provisioning AVR to avoid traffic stoppage. In addition, the Analytics Profile setting is visible in the virtual server's Advanced Properties screen even when AVR is not provisioned.

Pre-filtered countries statistics (ID 360182)
On the Analytics Statistics screen, the list of countries in the "Countries" filter is now pre-filtered to display only countries that accessed the unit.

Records Per Screen setting all inclusive (ID 364715)
The number of Analytics profiles displayed at a time on the Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics screen now conforms to the configuration of the Records Per Screen setting on the System > Preferences screen.

Preserving changes to default Analytics profile settings after restartig the system (ID 368440)
Any changes in default Analytics profile are preserved after you restart the system. In the previous release, the default Analytics profile's settings were reset and returned to the system's default values.

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Features and fixes introduced in prior releases

New features introduced in 11.0.0

This release introduced BIG-IP Analytics, also known as Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR). Analytics is a module on the BIG-IP® system that lets you analyze performance of web applications. It provides detailed metrics such as transactions per second, server latency, page load time, request and response throughput, and sessions. You can view metrics for applications, virtual servers, pool members, URLs, specific countries, and additional detailed statistics about an application. You can use the Configuration utility filters to configure which traffic the system captures, publishes and analyzes.

Transaction counters for response codes, user agents, HTTP methods, countries, and IP addresses provide statistical analysis of the traffic that is going through the system. You can capture traffic for examination and have the system send alerts so you can troubleshoot problems and immediately react to sudden changes.

Use the remote logging capabilities to consolidate statistics gathered from multiple BIG-IP appliances onto syslog servers or Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) devices, such as Splunk.

You must provision AVR. AVR is provisioned separately from the Local Traffic Manager, but requires the Local Traffic Manager be provisioned.

Once you have provisioned AVR, you can perform the following:

  • Create an Analytics profile. Navigate to Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics.
  • View charts of statistical information about traffic sent to your web application. Navigate to Overview > Statistics > Analytics.
  • View application traffic transactions that the system captured. Navigate to Overview > Statistics > Captured Transactions.

Important: You must have Adobe Flash Player installed on the computer where you plan to view Analytics statistics.

Fixes introduced in version 11.0.0

There were no fixes in version 11.0.0.

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Known issues

The following items are known issues in the current release.

Different methods of calculating statistics (ID 344054)
The system calculates statistics differently in the graphs and in the table. In the graphs, the system displays a snapshot of statistics recorded at a specific point in time, every five minutes. In the table, the system displays a cumulative number of statistics recorded.

Report delay (ID 344763)
It may take up to a few minutes for the system to display in the graphs changes made to the Analytics configuration.

Compressed responses (ID 346255)
Analytics does not collect page load time statistics for gzipped (compressed) responses.

Graphs are not automatically refreshed (ID 348588)
The graphs do not are not automatically refresh. To have the graphs update, you must manually refresh the page.

URL Decoding (ID 350381)
Analytics does not perform URL decoding, and therefore logs normalized and not normalized URLs as different URLs.

Global Traffic Manager pools and Analytics Statistics (ID 351257)
Health monitor requests for Global Traffic Manager (GTM) pools or servers are shown in Analytics statistics.

AVR and APM (ID 368119)
If an Analytics profile is assigned to a virtual server and an Access profile is assigned to same virtual server, then statistics for pool members are not displayed for page load time.

Maximum latency value in clustered environment (ID 368230)
In a clustered environment, in rare cases there might be a synchronization problem between blades. This will cause the system to record a maximum latency value lower than the actual value.

Auditor user role visibility limitation (ID 371517)
The Auditor user role does not have access to the System > Analytics and System > Classification screens.

Traffic Classification appearing when Analytics is provisioned (ID 372755)
After provisioning Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR), also known as Analytics, Traffic Classification menus and profile options also become visible. Although you can configure several options, because Traffic Classification features are not fully supported under the main license in this release, they cannot function as expected. Therefore, we recommend that you do not configure Traffic Classification features in this release.

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Contacting F5 Networks

  Phone: (206) 272-6888
Fax: (206) 272-6802
Web: http://support.f5.com
Email: support@f5.com

For additional information, please visit http://www.f5.com.


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