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Release Note: BIG-IP Analytics 11.2.1
Release Note

Original Publication Date: 08/30/2013

Summary:

This release note documents the version 11.2.1 release of BIG-IP Analytics (AVR).

Contents:

- User documentation for this release
- Supported platforms
- Configuration utility browser support
- Installing the 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 11.2.0
     - Fixes introduced in 11.2.0
     - New features introduced in 11.1.0
     - Fixes introduced in 11.1.0
     - 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 Analytics 11.2.1 Documentation.

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Supported platforms

For a list of supported platforms, see SOL9412: The BIG-IP release matrix. SOL9412: BIG-IP software and platform support matrix. For information about which platforms support which module combinations, see SOL10288: BIG-IP software and platform support matrix.

If you are unsure which platform you have, refer to the sticker on the back of the chassis to locate the platform number.

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Configuration utility browser support

The BIG-IP system Configuration utility supports the following browsers and versions:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.x, 8.x, 9.x
  • Firefox 3.6.x and 9.0.x
  • Chrome 16.x
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Installing the software

The following instructions explain how to install the Analytics Module version 11.2.1. This section lists only the very basic steps for installing the software. You can find complete, step-by-step installation and upgrade instructions in BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active/Standby Systems and BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active-Active Systems, and we strongly recommend that you reference these documents to ensure successful completion of the installation process.

The steps in this section are based on these assumptions:

  • 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.

To install the software, use one of the following methods:

  • Run the command tmsh install sys software image BIGIP-11.2.1.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 as a user with administrator rights.
  3. Run the Setup utility.
  4. Provision the modules.

You can find complete, step-by-step installation and upgrade instructions in BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active/Standby Systems and BIG-IP System: Upgrading Active-Active Systems, and we strongly recommend that you reference these documents 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 to 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 (recommended), 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.

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.

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.
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New items and fixes in this release

This release includes the following new items and fixes.

New in this release

There are no new features in this release.

Fixes in this release

There are no fixes in this release.

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Features and fixes introduced in prior releases

New features introduced in 11.2.0

Centralized Reporting
With this release, the BIG-IP® Enterprise Manager supports Analytics. Enterprise Manager is an appliance that helps you streamline the administrative tasks associated with managing multiple BIG-IP devices. You can now use Enterprise Manager to view centralized analytic reports collected by more than one managed BIG-IP device configured to use Analytics.

To view statistical data according to traffic that passes through a specific device, device list, or all devices, you can either use the Device(s) filter in the Configuration utility, or you can run tmsh commands. For a list of commands, see the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide on http://support.f5.com.

tmsh support
With this release you can use tmsh commands to display the analytics of monitored entities.

Notes:

  • The analytics are displayed for statistical data in aggregated mode only.
  • The time-series modes of statistical data and captured traffic are not currently supported.

For information regarding the tmsh commands, see the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide on http://support.f5.com.

Exporting Analytic reports
You can now export what appears on the Analytics screens as a PDF file, as a CSV file, or send it as an attachment to an email address. From the Configuration utility, click the Export button or click the Export option from the Widget Configuration icon.

You can also export analytics reports by running tmsh commands. For a list of commands, see the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide on http://support.f5.com.

Centralized SMTP configuration (ID 374481)
SMTP configuration is now a global setting used for all email and alerts on the BIG-IP system. The email alerts sent by Analytics now rely on the global SMTP configuration (found on the screen at System > Configuration > Device > SMTP), and thus this configuration is no longer tied to SNMP and the Syslog. You can specify the SMTP configuration only in the default Analytics profile, and all child profiles use this setting.

Fixes introduced in 11.2.0

URL Decoding (ID 350381)
Analytics now performs URL decoding. As a result, the Captured Transactions screen displays URLs correctly decoded, and therefore both normalized and not-normalized URLs are displayed as the same URL. Note that Analytics functions as though UTF-8 encoding is used as the application encoding.

Maximum latency value in clustered environment (ID 368230)
We fixed a synchronization problem between blades in a clustered environment, so that the maximum latency value that the system records is correct.

Chunked response handling (ID 368599)
We fixed an issue regarding how the system handles chunked responses. In the previous version, under certain circumstances, the system returned chunked responses in an illegal format.

Refreshing the Captured Transactions details (ID 371476)
On the Captured Transactions screen, the Refresh button now works correctly after the user switches between the Details, Request and Response tabs.

Auditor user role permissions (ID 371517)
The Auditor user role now has access to the System > Analytics and System > Classification screens.

Traffic Classification appearing when Analytics is provisioned (ID 372755)
After a user provisions Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR), also known as Analytics, Traffic Classification menus and profile options are no longer visible because Traffic Classification features are not fully supported under the main license in this release.

Core due to lack of memory (ID 372915)
We fixed a TMM core that occurred as a side-effect of an out-of-memory condition. The out-of-memory condition occurred when AVR was configured to capture traffic or collect page-load-time data, and the traffic included large requests or responses. AVR no longer consumes large amounts of memory in this case.

MD memory leak (ID 373223)
We fixed an issue that sometimes caused an MD memory leak.

Traffic capturing memory leak (ID 374759)
We fixed a memory leak that sometimes occurred during traffic capturing.

Badly formatted memcached messages (ID 375963)
The system checks the format of memcached messages and ignores invalid messages, so it is no longer vulnerable to bad formatted memcached messages.

Drilling down from the Overview screen (ID 381630)
You can drill down and view statistics by clicking on data in a chart or table on the Statistics > Analytics > Overview screen.

Provisioning LTM, ASM, and AVR together using a vCMP guest on a multi-blade platform with 3G of memory (ID 385366)
You can now provision Local Traffic Manager (LTM) with Application Security Manager (ASM) and Analytics (AVR) when a vCMP (Virtual Clustered Multiprocessing) guest is deployed on a multi-blade platform with 3G of memory if you set the provisioning levels of all three modules to Minimum.

Provisioning LTM, ASM, and AVR together on the 1600 platform (ID 386379)
You can now provision Local Traffic Manager (LTM) with Application Security Manager (ASM) and Analytics (AVR) on the 1600 platform if you set the provisioning levels of all three modules to Minimum.

New features introduced in 11.1.0

VIPRION 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 introduced in 11.1.0

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 restarting 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.

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.

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.

Restart md after changing sampling ratio (ID 372174)
After changing the sampling ratio, you must restart the MD service by running the command: bigstart restart md.

Analytics and Enterprise Manager: Captured Transactions screen filter (ID 377110)
On a machine running Enterprise Manager, on the Captured Transactions screen, if you select a Device Group, the results will be sorted first by device, and then according to the selected options.

Chunked response size less than actual (ID 379479)
For chunked responses, the system reports the average HTTP response size in the Configuration utility and database as at least 25 bytes less than its actual size. This is because the system does not report the header "Transfer-Encoding:chunked" and the numbers that indicate the chunked size.

Creating a large Analytics profile (ID 384079)
You cannot use the Configuration utility to associate a high number of virtual servers at once to an Analytics profile. To create very large Analytics profiles, use tmsh.

Assigning virtual servers from different partitions to an Analytics profile in the Common partition (ID 384303)
You cannot use the Analytics Profile Properties screen to assign virtual servers that are on different partitions because that screen displays virtual servers that are on the Common partition. To assign virtual servers from different partitions to an Analytics profile, you must do it from the Virtual Server Properties screen.

Requests for the Outlook Address Book (ID 391159)
If an Analytics profile is assigned to the Exchange 2010 HTTP virtual server, requests for the Outlook Address Book (/oab) fail. To work around this issue, add the following iRule to the system to disable AVR when a HEAD method is seen:

when HTTP_REQUEST {
if { [HTTP::method] equals "HEAD" } {
AVR::disable
}
}

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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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