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Manual Chapter: Introducing Local Traffic Management
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The BIG-IP® system is a port-based, multilayer switch that supports virtual local area network (VLAN) technology. Because hosts within a VLAN can communicate at the data-link layer (Layer 2), a BIG-IP system reduces the need for routers and IP routing on the network. This in turn reduces equipment costs and boosts overall network performance. At the same time, the BIG-IP systems multilayer capabilities enable the system to process traffic at other OSI layers. The BIG-IP system can perform IP routing at Layer 3, as well as manage TCP, UDP, and other application traffic at Layers 4 through 7. The following modules provide comprehensive traffic management and security for many traffic types. The modules are fully integrated to provide efficient solutions to meet any network, traffic management, and security needs.
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager includes features that help make the most of network resources. Using the powerful Configuration utility, you can customize the way that the BIG-IP system processes specific types of protocol and application traffic. By using features such as virtual servers, pools, and profiles, you ensure that traffic passing through the BIG-IP system is processed quickly and efficiently, while meeting all of your security needs. For more information, see the remainder of this guide.
BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager
BIG-IP® Global Traffic Manager provide intelligent traffic management to your globally available network resources. Through the Global Traffic Manager, you can select from an array of load balancing modes, ensuring that your clients access the most responsive and robust resources at any given time. In addition, the Global Traffic Manager provides extensive monitoring capabilities so the health of any given resource is always available. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Global Traffic Management.
BIG-IP Link Controller
BIG-IP® Link Controller seamlessly monitors availability and performance of multiple WAN connections to intelligently manage bi-directional traffic flows to a site - providing fault tolerant, optimized Internet access regardless of connection type or provider. BIG-IP® Link Controller ensures that traffic is always sent over the best available link to maximize user performance and minimize bandwidth cost to a data center. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Link Controller.
BIG-IPApplication Security Manager
BIG-IP® Application Security Manager provides web application protection from application-layer attacks. BIG-IP® Application Security Manager protects web applications from both generalized and targeted application layer attacks including buffer overflow, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and parameter tampering. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Application Security Management.
The BIG-IP local traffic management system is specifically designed to manage your local network traffic. Local traffic management refers to the process of managing network traffic that comes into or goes out of a local area network (LAN), including an intranet.
This configuration guide applies to the set of local traffic management products that are part of the BIG-IP system family of products.
A commonly-used feature of the BIG-IP system is its ability to intercept and redirect incoming network traffic, for the purpose of intelligently tuning the load on network servers. However, tuning server load is not the only type of local traffic management. The BIG-IP system includes a variety of features that perform functions such as inspecting and transforming header and content data, managing SSL certificate-based authentication, and compressing HTTP responses. In so doing, the BIG-IP system not only directs traffic to the appropriate server resource, but also enhances network security and frees up server resources by performing tasks that web servers typically perform.
Off-loading standard server tasks, such as HTTP data compression, SSL authentication, and SSL encryption to improve server performance.
Handling application-traffic authentication and authorization functions based on user name/password and SSL certificate credentials.
Improving performance by aggregating multiple client requests into a server-side connection pool. This aggregation of client requests is part of the BIG-IP systems OneConnectTM feature.
Applying configuration settings to customize the flow of application-specific traffic (such as HTTP and SSL traffic).
Customizing the management of specific connections according to user-written scripts based on the industry-standard Tool Command Language (Tcl).
For multi-processor platforms, enhancing traffic-management performance by configuring the system to process traffic using multiple instances of the systems Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM) service.
While some of the functions on this list offer the basic ability to balance the load on your network servers, other functions on the list offer specialized abilities that are worth noting. These abilities include managing specific types of application traffic, optimizing server performance, and enhancing the security of your network. The following sections describe these specialized capabilities.
Applying configuration settings to customize the flow of application-specific traffic is a key feature of local traffic management. The BIG-IP system can control many different kinds of traffic, each in a different way. You do this by establishing a policy for managing each type of network traffic. Examples of traffic types that the system can manage are: TCP, UDP, HTTP, FTP, SSL, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), i-mode®, and Microsoft® Remote Desktop Protocol (MSRDP).
In addition to creating separate policies to systematically manage these different traffic types, you can also do the following:
Write iRulesTM to assign certain behaviors to individual application-specific connections. iRules can search the content of a particular type of traffic, such as an HTTP request or response, and direct the traffic accordingly.
Insert header data into application-specific requests, such as HTTP requests, and then direct the request based on that header data.
Implement session persistence. Using the BIG-IP systems powerful configuration tools, you can configure session persistence, based on data such as HTTP cookies, source IP addresses, destination IP addresses, and SSL session IDs.
Monitor the health or performance of servers in a pool. For example, the BIG-IP system can monitor Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) servers on a network, and if the system determines that a target LDAP server is non-functional, the BIG-IP system can redirect the request to a different LDAP server.
Use the dynamic ratio load-balancing algorithm to assess the current load on a particular type of server, such as a Windows Management Infrastructure (WMI) server, and then redirect a request based on that assessment. The ability to monitor servers corresponding to specific types of applications is a key tool for maintaining optimal performance of your network.
The BIG-IP system includes several features designed to optimize server performance. Such features either offload labor-intensive traffic management tasks, such as SSL certificate verification, or enable the pooling, re-use, and overall persistence of server-side connections.
SSL certificate-based authentication, including the checking of certificate revocation status through the use of certificate revocation lists (CRLs), Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP), or Certificate Revocation List Distribution Point (CRLDP) technology.
Authentication and authorization of application traffic when using remote authentication servers such as LDAP and RADIUS servers
The rewriting of Microsoft® Remote Desktop connections
The BIG-IP system manages TCP and HTTP connections in certain ways to optimize server performance. Primary network optimization features are: OneConnectTM, HTTP pipelining, HTTP data compression, RAM caching, and rate shaping.
The OneConnectTM feature contains the following components:
Content Switching
When an HTTP client sends multiple requests within a single connection, the BIG-IP system is able to process each of those requests individually, sending those requests to different destination servers if necessary.
Connection Pooling
With this feature, the BIG-IP system combines server-side connections that are not in use, so that other clients can use them. This can significantly reduce the number of servers required to process client requests.
OneConnect transformation
Sometimes, for HTTP/1.0 requests, you might want to add Keep-Alive support to HTTP Connection headers, to ensure that server-side connections remain open. This manipulation of HTTP Connection headers is a feature known as OneConnect transformation. This feature works best when used in conjunction with connection pooling.
The OneConnect feature is disabled by default, but can easily be enabled by configuring a OneConnect profile. For more information on OneConnect, see Chapter 6, Managing Application Layer Traffic, and Chapter 11, Using Additional Profiles.
In addition to the OneConnect feature, the BIG-IP system has the ability to process pipelined requests. This means that the BIG-IP system can process a client request even if the previous request has not yet received a response. Pipelining is an optimization feature available for HTTP/1.1 requests only.
To reduce the load on your back-end servers, you can configure an HTTP profile to compress HTTP responses. When the BIG-IP system compresses HTTP responses, the back-end servers processing the HTTP traffic no longer need to use resources to perform data compression.
The BIG-IP system can store HTTP objects in the BIG-IP systems RAM. Subsequent connections can then re-use these objects, to reduce the amount of load on back-end servers.
Rate shaping is a feature that allows you to categorize certain types of connections into rate classes, for the purpose of customizing the throughput of those connections. This is useful, for example, when you want to optimize web-server performance for preferred Internet customers.
Security is an important consideration in managing local network traffic. Accordingly, the BIG-IP system contains a number of features designed to assist in preventing security breaches. These features pertain not only to authenticating and authorizing users and applications, but also to detecting intrusions and mitigating DOS attacks.
An important consideration for any networked environment is the authentication and authorization mechanism that you use to authenticate users and their client requests and to control user and application access to server resources. To this end, the BIG-IP system supports Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) technology, and provides a complete set of PAM authentication modules that you can choose from to handle your authentication or authorization needs.
An LDAP module
Uses a remote LDAP server to perform user name/password user authentication.
A RADIUS module
Uses a Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS) server to perform user name/password user authentication.
A TACACS+ module
Uses a remote Terminal Access Controller Access Control System (TACACS+) server to perform user name/password user authentication.
An SSL Client Certificate LDAP module
Uses a remote LDAP server to perform SSL certificate-based authorization of client SSL traffic.
An OCSP module
Uses a remote Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) server to provide up-to-date SSL certificate revocation status for the purpose of authenticating client and server SSL traffic.
A CRLDP module
Uses the industry-standard Certificate Revocation List Distribution Point (CRLDP) technology to manage SSL certificate revocation status for the purpose of authenticating client and server SSL traffic.
Not only can you control authentication and authorization of application traffic, you can also control access to BIG-IP system resources by BIG-IP system administrators. You do this using the administrative domains feature, which consists of partitions and user roles. Partitions are logical containers that you can use to group local traffic management objects. User roles define both the scope of user access to system objects, and the types of tasks users can perform on those objects.
Once you have set up your base network and you have administrative access to the BIG-IP system, and at least a default VLAN assignment for each interface, the next step is to configure a network for managing traffic targeted to your internal servers.
At the heart of the BIG-IP system are virtual servers and load balancing pools. Virtual servers receive incoming traffic, perform basic source IP and destination IP address translation, and direct traffic to servers, which are grouped together in load balancing pools.
In addition to using the Setup utility to set up the management network and initial traffic management software configuration, you use the Configuration utility to customize and maintain the BIG-IP system. In the Configuration utility, you can also monitor current system performance, and view a network map that shows the virtual servers that you have created, along with the pools (and pool members) that the virtual servers reference.
For information on setting user preferences for the Configuration utility, see the BIG-IP® Network and System Management Guide. For information on supported browsers, see the applicable release notes on AskF5.
To configure a basic local traffic management system, you use the Configuration utility. With this utility, you can create a complete set of configuration objects that work together to perform local traffic management. Each object has a set of configuration settings that you can use as is or change to suit your needs. These objects are:
Network map
The network map displays a visual representation of the local traffic configuration that you have implemented, such as virtual servers and their associated pools. The network map also displays statistics about existing virtual servers , pools, nodes, and iRulesTM.
Virtual servers
The primary function of a virtual server is to receive requests and distribute them to pool members according to criteria you specify.
Nodes represent server IP addresses on your network that you can enable and disable, and for which you can obtain status.
Load balancing pools
Load balancing pools contain servers to which requests can be sent for processing.
Application-type profiles
Application-type profiles contain settings that define the behavior of various application types that use protocols such as TCP, HTTP, and SSL.
Authentication-type profiles
Authentication-type profiles provide authentication interoperability between remote authentication servers and the BIG-IP system.
SSL Certificates
The SSL Certificates object allows you to generate SSL certificate requests and install SSL certificates on the BIG-IP system, for the purpose of terminating and initiating SSL connections.
Session Persistence profiles
Session persistence profiles allow you to implement session persistence based on a variety of criteria such as HTTP cookies, source IP addresses, and destination IP addresses.
Monitors track the current health or performance of pool members.
Secure Network Address Translations (SNATs) translate the source IP address in an outgoing request, and allow multiple hosts to share the same source IP address.
Rate Shaping
Rate shaping controls bandwidth consumption, using rate classes that you define.
iRules® can define criteria for pool-member selection, as well as perform content transformations, logging, custom protocol support, and so on. For complete information on iRules, see the F5 Networks DevCentral web site,
You choose a basic configuration when you want to primarily use the default values for your object settings. When you choose a basic configuration, the Configuration utility displays only those few settings that you would most likely need to modify. The other settings remain hidden and retain their default values. Choosing a basic configuration is an easy way to create configuration objects.
You choose an advanced configuration when you want to modify many of the values for your object settings. When you choose an advanced configuration, the Configuration utility displays all of the objects settings and allows you to modify any of them.
The BIG-IP system has a number of time-outs that can be set to promote active connection management. The system manages each load-balanced connection explicitly by keeping track of the connection in the connection table while the connection is still active. The connection table contains state information about client-side and server-side connections, as well as the relationships between them.
Each connection in the connection table consumes system resources to maintain the table entry and monitor connection status. The BIG-IP system must determine when a connection is no longer active and then retire the connection to avoid exhausting critical system resources. Resources such as memory and processor cycles are at risk if the connection table grows and remains unchecked.
Connections that close or reset in a normal way are retired from the connection table automatically. A significant number of connections, however, often remain idle without closing normally, for any number of reasons. Consequently, the BIG-IP system must reap these connections once they have been determined to be inactive. Reaping is the process of retiring or recycling connections that would otherwise remain idle.
To promote proactive reaping, you can configure several different timeout settings to tear down connections that have seen no active traffic after a specified period of time. While a few of these timeout settings are not user-configurable, you can actively configure most of these timeout settings, to meet the needs of any application.
Since you can configure timeout settings in multiple places, it is important to understand that sometimes more than one timeout setting affects the same connection. The optimal timeout configuration is one that retains idle connections for an appropriate amount of time (variable by application) before deciding that the connections are inactive and should be retired, to conserve system resources.
Idle connections can be timed out by protocol profiles or SNATs associated with the virtual server handling the connection. Connections that a virtual server does not manage can be timed out based on SNAT automap or VLAN group settings.
Table 1.1 shows a list of objects containing idle connection timeout settings that affect reaping. For each object type, the table lists the default value and whether that value is user-configurable.
The shortest timeout value that applies to a connection is the value that always takes effect. In some cases, however, you might want to change this behavior.
For example, you might have configured a forwarding virtual server that is intended to carry long-standing connections, and these connections might become idle for long periods of time (such as SSH sessions). In this case, you can configure a long idle timeout value on the related protocol profile (in this case, TCP).
However, if the SNAT automap feature is also enabled, the default 300-second static timeout value still takes effect.
The BIG-IP system includes two other idle timeout settings, but these settings do not affect connection reaping. These settings appear in the OneConnect and persistence profile types. Table 1.2 shows the default values for these settings and whether the settings are user-configurable.
Cookie Hash, Destination Address Affinity, Hash, SIP, Source Address Affinity, and Universal persistence profiles
The OneConnect timeout value controls the length of time that an idle server-side connection is available for re-use; that is, this timeout value might cause the system to close a server-side connection after becoming idle for a certain period of time. In this case, since that connection was never actively in use, no active client-side connections are affected, and the system transparently selects or establishes another server-side connection for new connections. The OneConnect timeout setting need not be coordinated with the idle timeout settings of other profiles.
Persistence timeout settings are actually idle timeout settings for a session, rather than for a single connection. Thus, persistence timeout settings should typically be set to a value slightly larger than the applicable connection idle timeout settings, to allow sessions to continue even if a connection within the session has expired.
To configure a working traffic-management system, you need to create a virtual server, a load balancing pool, and possibly a profile.
When you create a virtual server, you specify the type of virtual server you want, that is, a host virtual server or a network virtual server. Then you can attach various properties and resources to it, such as application-specific profiles, session persistence, and user-written scripts called iRules that define pool-selection criteria. All of these properties and resources, when associated with a virtual server, determine how the BIG-IP system manages local traffic. When you create and configure a virtual server, you use the Virtual Servers screen of the Configuration utility.
A load balancing pool is a collection of internal servers that you group together to service client requests. A server in a pool is referred to as a pool member. Using the default load balancing algorithm, known as Round Robin, the BIG-IP system sends a client request to a member of that pool.
To implement a load balancing pool, you first create the pool, and then you associate the pool name with an existing virtual server. A virtual server sends client requests to the pool or pools that are associated with it.
Pools have settings associated with them, such as IP addresses for pool members, load balancing modes, and health and performance monitors. When you create a pool, you can use the default values for some of these settings, or change them to better suit your needs. To create and configure a load balancing pool, you use the Pools screen of the Configuration utility.
A profile is a group of configuration settings that apply to a specific type of network traffic, such as HTTP connections. If you want the virtual server to manage a type of traffic, you can associate the applicable profile with the virtual server, and the virtual server applies that profiles settings to all traffic of that type.
For example, you might want the BIG-IP system to compress HTTP response data. In this case, you can configure an HTTP profile to enable compression, and associate the profile with a virtual server. Then, when the virtual server processes an HTTP request, the BIG-IP system compresses the response.
There are several types of profiles that you can create for your own needs. They are: HTTP, FTP, RTSP, SCTP, Persistence, Fast L4, Fast HTTP, HTTP Class, TCP, UDP, Client and Server SSL, Authentication, OneConnect, Statistics, and Stream. When you create a profile, you can use the default values for the settings, or change them to better suit your needs. To create and configure a profile, you use one of the profiles screens of the Configuration utility.
The Configuration utility includes a feature known as the network map. The network map feature shows a summary of local traffic objects, as well as a visual map of the virtual servers, pools, and pool members on the BIG-IP system. For both the local traffic summary and the network map, you can customize the display using a search mechanism that filters the information that you want to display, according to criteria that you specify. The system highlights in blue all matches from a search operation.
You can filter the results of the network map feature by using the Type and Status lists in the filter bar, as well as a Search box. With the Search box, you can optionally type a specific string that you want the system to use in a search operation. The default is asterisk ( * ). The settings of the Status and Type fields determine the scope of the search. The system uses the specified search string to filter the results that the system displays on the screen.
For example, if you constrain the search to include only unavailable nodes whose IP address includes 10.10, the operation returns those nodes, along with the members of the pool, the pool itself, the associated virtual server, and any iRules that you explicitly applied to that virtual server. The system sorts results alphabetically, by virtual server name.
The system supports searching on names, IP address, and IP address:port combinations, in both IPv4 and IPv6 address formats. The system processes the string as if an asterisk wildcard character surrounds the string. For example, you specify 10, the system effectively searches as if you had typed *10*. You can also specifically include the asterisk wildcard character. For example, you can use the following search strings: 10.10.10.*:80, 10.10*, and *:80. if you specifically include a wildcard character, the system treats the string accordingly. For example, if you specify 10*, the system assumes you want to search for objects whose IP addresses begin with 10.
Tip: Browsers have limits as to how much data they can render before they become sluggish and halt processing. Mapping large configurations might approach those limits; therefore, memory constraints might prevent the system from producing a network map of the whole configuration. If this might happen, the system posts an alert indicating that you can use the Network Map summary screen to determine the complexity of the configuration, which can give you an indication of the size of the resulting map. You can modify the search criteria to return fewer results, producing a map that does not encounter those limits.
When you first open the Network Map screen, the screen displays a summary of local traffic objects. This summary includes the type of objects specified with the search mechanism, the number of each type of object, and, for each object type, the number of objects with a given status.
Note: A local traffic summary includes only those objects that are referenced by a virtual server. For example, if you have configured a pool on the system but there is no virtual server that references that pool, the local traffic summary does not include that pool, its members, or the associated nodes in the summary.
Figure 1.1, shows an example of a network map screen that summarizes local traffic objects on the system.
For each object type listed in the summary, the system shows the number of objects with each type of status. Table 1.3 shows the various status indicators that the summary screen can display for a local traffic object.
Status indicator
The objects are enabled but are currently unavailable. However, the objects might become available later, with no user action required.
An example of an object showing this status is a virtual server whose connection limit has been exceeded. When the number of connections falls below the configured limit, the virtual server becomes available again.
The objects are enabled but offline because an associated object has marked the object as unavailable. To change the status so that the object can receive traffic, you must actively enable the object.
On the Main tab, expand Local Traffic, and click Network Map.
The Network Map screen opens.
From the Status list, select a status.
This causes the system to limit the search results to objects with that status. Possible values are Any Status (the default value), Available, Unavailable, Offline, and Unknown.
From the Type list, select an object type.
This causes the system to limit the search results to objects of that type. Possible values are All Types (the default value), Virtual Servers, iRules, Pools, Pool Members, and Nodes.
If you want to further limit the search results, type a string in the Search box.
For example, you can limit the search to only those objects that include the string 10.10 in their names.
Note: For performance reasons, the system does not normally search within iRule text for the specified search string. If you want the search results to include iRules that contain the specified string, see step 5. Otherwise, see step 6.
Note: Enabling this setting could affect system performance while the system performs the search operation.
Click the Update Summary button.
This action refreshes the local traffic summary displayed on the screen.
The network map presents a visual hierarchy of the names and status of virtual servers, pools, pool members, nodes, and iRules defined on the system. The map shows all objects in context, starting with the virtual servers at the top. The Status, Type, and Search settings at the top of the screen determine the objects that the map includes.
When you position the cursor over an object, the system presents hover text containing information about the object. When you position the cursor over the status icon accompanying an object, the system presents hover text containing information about the object's status, text which also appears on the pool's Properties screen.
Due to the way that a network map presents objects in context, the updated screen also shows objects of other statuses, types, and names that relate to those objects. This is because a network map always shows objects in context with the objects that depend on them, and the objects they depend on.
For example, if you have an available virtual server with an available pool and two pool members, one available and one offline, then selecting Offline from the Status list causes the system to show the offline pool member in context with the available virtual server and the available pool. This is because the available virtual server and the available pool depend on the offline pool member.
On the Main tab, expand Local Traffic, and click Network Map.
The Network Map screen opens.
From the Status list, select a status.
This causes the system to limit the search results to objects with that status. Possible values are Any Status (the default value), Available, Unavailable, Offline, and Unknown.
From the Type list, select an object type.
This causes the system to limit the search results to objects of that type. Possible values are All Types (the default value), Virtual Servers, iRules, Pools, Pool Members, and Nodes.
If you want to further limit the search results, type a string in the Search box.
For example, you can limit the search to only those objects that include the string 10.10 in their names.
Note: For performance reasons, the system does not normally search within iRule text for the specified search string. If you want the search results to include iRules that contain the specified string, see step 5. Otherwise, see step 6.
Note: Enabling this setting could affect system performance while the system performs the search operation.
Click the Show Map button.
This action displays the requested network map on the screen.
Before you use this guide, we recommend that you run the Setup utility on the BIG-IP system to configure basic network and network elements such as static and floating self IP addresses, interfaces, and VLANs, to name a few.
After running the Setup utility, you can further customize your system by using the Configuration utility to create local traffic management objects such as virtual servers, load balancing pools, and profiles.
In addition to this guide, there are other sources of the documentation you can use in order to work with the BIG-IP system. The information is organized in the guides and documents described below. The following printed documentation is included with the BIG-IP system.
Configuration Worksheet
This worksheet provides you with a place to plan the basic configuration for the BIG-IP system.
BIG-IP® Quick Start Instructions
This pamphlet provides you with the basic configuration steps required to get the BIG-IP system up and running in the network.
The following guides are available in PDF format from the AskF5SM web site, These guides are also available from the first web page you see when you log in to the administrative web server on the BIG-IP system.
The following guides are available in PDF format from the AskF5SM Knowledge Base web site, These guides are also available from the first web page you see when you log in to the administrative web server on the BIG-IP system.
Platform Guide: 1500, 3400, 6400, and 6800
Platform Guide: 8400 and 8800
These guides include information about the BIG-IP system. They also contain important environmental warnings.
Installation, Licensing, and Upgrades for BIG-IP® Systems
This guide provides detailed information about installing upgrades to the BIG-IP system. It also provides information about licensing the BIG-IP system software and connecting the system to a management workstation or network.
BIG-IP® Network and System Management Guide
This guide contains any information you need to configure and maintain the network and system-related components of the BIG-IP system. With this guide, you can perform tasks such as configuring VLANs, assigning self IP addresses, creating administrative user accounts, and managing a redundant system.
BIG-IP® Command Line Interface Guide
This guide contains information you need if you choose to configure the BIG-IP system using the command line interface instead of the Configuration utility. It includes instructions for handling specific tasks, but it does not include instructions for configuring every aspect of the system. It also contains an appendix with detailed information about the bigpipe commands.
To help you easily identify and understand important information, our documentation uses the stylistic conventions described below.
All examples in this documentation use only private class IP addresses. When you set up the configurations we describe, you must use valid IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample addresses.
To help you identify sections where a term is defined, the term itself is shown in bold italic text. For example, a virtual server is a specific combination of a virtual address and virtual port, associated with a content site that is managed by a BIG-IP system or other type of host server.
We apply bold text to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, you can set the Idle Timeout value to 5.
We use italic text to denote a reference to another document. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as a specific chapter or section in the book, we show the book name in bold, italic text, and the chapter/section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. For example, for installation instructions, see the guide titled Installation, Licensing, and Upgrades for BIG-IP® Systems.
We show complete commands in bold Courier text. Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. For example, the following command shows the configuration of the specified pool name:
Table 1.4 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.
< >
Identifies a user-defined parameter. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name, but do not include the brackets.
Online help for local traffic management
The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. The online help contains descriptions of each control and setting on the screen. Click the Help tab in the left navigation pane to view the online help for a screen.
Welcome screen in the Configuration utility
The Welcome screen in the Configuration utility contains links to many useful web sites and resources, including:
F5 Networks Technical Support web site
The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest documentation for the product, including:
The AskF5SM Knowledge Base
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