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Manual Chapter: Introducing the VIPRION System
Manual Chapter
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The VIPRION® system is a complete traffic management solution that offers high performance, reliability, scalability, and ease of management. Based on chassis and blade technology, this system is designed to meet the needs of large, enterprise networking environments that normally require multiple BIG-IP systems to process large volumes of application traffic.
The VIPRION system consists of a chassis with a four-blade capacity. The four blades work together as one powerful system to process application traffic. For traffic coming into a single virtual server, the system distributes that traffic over multiple blades, utilizing the full multi-processing capacity of each blade. Moreover, if a blade unexpectedly becomes unavailable, another blade can complete the processing of the request.
Figure 1.1 shows the VIPRION system with a four-slot chassis.
A chassis with blades
The multi-slot chassis significantly reduces the amount of rack space required for the BIG-IP systems by housing blades instead of traditional switch systems. Hardware resources such as cooling and power systems, normally required for individual BIG-IP systems, are now part of the chassis instead.
Cluster technology
The VIPRION systems cluster technology means that all blades in the cluster function as one high-performance VIPRION system. A cluster is a group of slots in the VIPRION system chassis. Each slot in the cluster represents a cluster member, and any blades that you insert into the slots of a cluster work together as a single VIPRION system to process application traffic. With cluster technology, you utilize the power of multiple blades, but manage the entire cluster as if it were a single system.
Live installation
When you upgrade the BIG-IP software on a running system, the system automatically upgrades the BIG-IP software on all blades in the cluster.
Configuration synchronization
The primary blade automatically propagates the system configuration to all secondary blades, even when a new blade is introduced into the cluster.
Connection mirroring
When you create a virtual server for the cluster, you can enable connection mirroring. Connection mirroring ensures that if a blade, or a cluster within a redundant system configuration, becomes unavailable, the system can still process any existing connections.
Before configuring a VIPRION system, it is helpful to have a brief overview of cluster configuration and the available configuration tools.
The VIPRION system contains a four-slot chassis. Each system is configured with a default cluster named default. This default cluster includes the four slots as its cluster members.
One of the first configuration tasks that you perform is to insert the blades and then assign a unique cluster IP address to the default cluster. When you subsequently use this IP address to log on to the system, you can access the Configuration utility to continue configuring the system. For example, as with a non-clustered system, you can configure features such as trunks, VLANs, administrative partitions, and virtual servers. If you have a redundant system configuration, you can configure failover IP addresses, as well as connection mirroring between clusters.
Once you have completed the configuration, all blades in the cluster function as a single, powerful VIPRION system.
To configure and maintain the VIPRION system, you can use either the browser-based Configuration utility or one of the command line interfaces (tmsh or bigpipe).
Using 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 supported browsers, see the applicable release notes on the Ask F5SM Knowledge Base web site,
In addition to this guide, there are other sources of the documentation you can use in order to work with the VIPRION system and platform hardware. The following guides are available in PDF format from the Ask F5SM Knowledge Base web site, These guides are also available from the first web page you see when you log on to the administrative web server on the VIPRION system. The guides and their descriptions are:
Platform Guide: VIPRION®
This guide includes comprehensive hardware information about the VIPRION platform. The guide also contains important environmental warnings.
Setting Up the VIPRION® Platform
This guide contains all information required for initially installing and configuring the platform hardware. Topics include removing the system from its packaging, installing the rackmount kit, inserting blades, and licensing the VIPRION system software.
BIG-IP® Systems: Getting Started Guide
This guide contains detailed information about installing upgrades to the BIG-IP system. It also contains information about licensing and provisioning the BIG-IP system software, and connecting the system to a management workstation or network.
TMOS® Management Guide for BIG-IP® Systems
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.
Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic ManagerTM
This guide contains any information you need for configuring the BIG-IP system to manage local network traffic. With this guide, you can perform tasks such as creating virtual servers and load balancing pools, configuring application and persistence profiles, implementing health monitors, and setting up remote authentication.
BIG-IP® Local Traffic ManagerTM: Implementations
This guide contains complete procedures for implementing specific goals, such as processing SSL traffic with data compresson, or assigning privileges to remotely-authenticated user accounts. This guide ties together the detailed information contained in the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic ManagerTM and the TMOS® Management Guide for BIG-IP® Systems to help you implement specific traffic-management configurations.
Bigpipe Utility Reference Guide
This guide contains syntax information for using the bigpipe utility command line interface.
Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide
This guide contains syntax information for using for the tmsh command line interface.
To help you easily identify and understand important information, all of our documentation uses the stylistic conventions described here.
All examples in this document 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 floating IP address is an IP address assigned to a VLAN and shared between two computer systems.
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, with the bigpipe self <ip_address> show command, you can specify a specific self IP address to show by specifying an IP address for the <ip_address> variable.
We use italic text to denote a reference to another document or section of a document. We use bold, italic text to denote a reference to a book title. For example, for installation instructions, see the guide titled Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic ManagerTM.
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 1.1 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 Ask F5SM Knowledge Base
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