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Manual Chapter: BIG-IP® version 9.4 Global Traffic Manager and Link Controller Implementations Guide: 5 - Integrating the Global Traffic Manager with BIG-IP Systems
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5

Integrating the Global Traffic Manager with BIG-IP Systems


Understanding the interactions between BIG-IP systems

Many common implementations of Global Traffic Manager systems involve adding the new system to networks in which Local Traffic Managers are already present. In this scenario, the Global Traffic Manager allows you to expand your load balancing and traffic management capabilities beyond the local area network. For this implementation to be successful, however, you must authorize communications between the Global Traffic Manager and any Local Traffic Manager on your network.

BIG-IP systems employ a custom protocol, called iQuery, to exchange information back and forth. To manage this flow of information, both the Global Traffic Manager and any Local Traffic Managers employ a software agent, called big3d. While the Global Traffic Manager can communicate with BIG-IP systems, they must have the same version of the big3d agent as the Global Traffic Manager.

 

 

Figure 5.1 Communications between big3d and gtmd agents

In addition to employing the same version of the big3d agent, you must authorize the communication between the Global Traffic Managers and Local Traffic Managers. You authorize this communication through the use of SSL certificates. These certificates ensure that each BIG-IP system, whether Global Traffic Manager or Local Traffic Manager, trusts the communications sent from any other BIG-IP system.

Consequently, the two tasks you must accomplish when integrating a Global Traffic Manager with BIG-IP systems are:

  • Enable communications between the different BIG-IP systems.
  • Install the latest version of the big3d agent.

Integrating the Global Traffic Manager with other BIG-IP systems

This implementation focuses on adding a Global Traffic Manager to a network that has several BIG-IP systems. A BIG-IP system refers to any F5 product, such as Local Traffic Manager, Global Traffic Manager, or Link Controller. At this point, you have added the Global Traffic Manager to the network, and configured a listener to ensure that DNS traffic is routed to the appropriate resource (either the Global Traffic Manager or another DNS server).

To illustrate how to integrate a Global Traffic Manager with other BIG-IP systems, this implementation uses the fictional company, SiteRequest. SiteRequest currently has two data centers: one located in New York and one located in Los Angeles. Each data center has a BIG-IP redundant system. Table 5.1 displays the details for these BIG-IP systems.

Table 5.1 SiteRequest BIG-IP systems
System
IP Address
New York BIG-IP 1
192.168.5.10
New York BIG-IP 2
192.168.5.11
Los Angeles BIG-IP 1
10.10.5.20
Los Angeles BIG-IP 2
10.10.5.21
New York GTM
192.168.5.30

 

 

 

Figure 5.2 The SiteRequest network

The tasks associated with integrating the Global Traffic Manager are:

  • Define a data center
  • Define the Global Traffic Manager
  • Add the BIG-IP systems
  • Run the big3d_install script

Defining a data center

The first task is to define the data centers in the Global Traffic Manager. Data centers are important entities within the Global Traffic Manager; you cannot add other entities, such as server, without them.

To define a data center

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Global Traffic and then click Data Centers.
    The main screen for data centers opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Data Center screen opens.
  3. In the Name box, type the name of the data center.
    For this example, type New York Data Center.
  4. In the Location box, type the location of the data center.
    In this example, type New York, NY.
  5. From the State option, select Enabled.
  6. Click the Finished button to save the new data center.

You can now repeat these same steps to create the Los Angeles data center.

Defining the Global Traffic Manager

At installation, the Global Traffic Manager has no knowledge of itself. To have the Global Traffic Manager communicate and operate with other systems, you must define it within the user interface.

To define the Global Traffic Manager

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Global Traffic and then click Servers.
    The main screen for servers opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name box, type the name of the server.
    For this example, type New York GTM.
  4. From the Product list, select a server type.
    In this example, select BIG-IP System (Single).
  5. In the Address List setting, complete the following tasks:
    • In the Address box, type the IP address of the server.
      For this example, type 192.168.5.30
    • Click the Add button
  6. From the Data Center list, select New York Data Center.
  7. For the Health Monitors setting, assign the bigip monitor to the server by moving it from the Available list to the Selected list.
  8. From the Virtual Server Discovery list, select Disabled.
  9. Click the Create button to create the server object that defines the two redundant BIG-IP systems at the New York data center.

Adding BIG-IP systems

Once you have defined the two data centers within the Global Traffic Manager, and defined the Global Traffic Manager itself, you can add the BIG-IP systems that reside at each data center.

Note

A BIG-IP system is a specific F5 product, including Local Traffic Manager, Global Traffic Manager, and Link Controller.
Note

The IP addresses in these steps are not the IP addresses that you assign to the management port.

To add the BIG-IP systems to the Global Traffic Manager

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Global Traffic and then click Servers.
    The main screen for servers opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name box, type the name of the server.
    In this example, type New York BIG-IP 1.
  4. From the Product list, select a server type.
    For this example, select BIG-IP System (Redundant).
  5. In the Address List setting, complete the following tasks:
    • In the Address box, type the IP address of the server.
      For this example, type 192.168.5.10
    • Click the Add button
  6. In the Peer Address List setting, complete the following tasks:
    • In the Address box, type the IP address of the second BIG-IP system that completes the redundant system.
      In this example, type 192.168.5.11
    • Click the Add button
  7. For the Health Monitors setting, assign the bigip monitor to the server by moving it from the Available list to the Selected list.
  8. From the Virtual Server Discovery list, select Disabled.
  9. Click the Create button to create the server object that defines the BIG-IP redundant system at the New York data center.

You can now repeat these same steps to add the BIG-IP systems located in the Los Angeles data center.

Running the big3d_install script

At this point, you have configured the Global Traffic Manager with the information it needs to begin communications with the BIG-IP systems on the network. However, before these systems can communicate with each other, you must upgrade the big3d agents on the BIG-IP systems and instruct these systems to authenticate with the other systems through the exchange of web certificates. You can accomplish both of these tasks through the big3d_install script. This script is included with the Global Traffic Manager.

To run the big3d_install script

  1. Log in to the command line interface for the Global Traffic Manager.
  2. At the prompt, type big3d_install <ip addresses>.
    In this example, type the following:
    big3d_install 192.168.5.10 192.168.5.11 10.10.5.20 10.10.5.21
  3. Press the Enter key to run the script.

This script instructs the Global Traffic Manager to connect to each BIG-IP system that you specified by IP address. As it connects to each system, it prompts you to supply the appropriate login information to access that system.

When the script has completed its operations, the following changes take effect on each BIG-IP system:

  • The appropriate SSL certificates are exchanged between each system, authorizing communications between each system.
  • The big3d agent on each system is upgraded to the same version as installed on the Global Traffic Manager.

You have now successfully configured the BIG-IP systems on this network, including the Global Traffic Manager, to communicate with each other. The Global Traffic Manager can now use the BIG-IP systems when load balancing DNS requests, as well as when acquiring statistical or status information for the virtual servers these systems manage.




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