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Manual Chapter: Configuring CGNAT IPFIX Logging
Manual Chapter
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Configuring CGNAT IPFIX Logging

Overview: Configuring IPFIX logging for CGNAT

You can configure the BIG-IP® system to log information about carrier grade network address translation (CGNAT) processes and send the log messages to remote IPFIX collectors.

IPFIX is a set of IETF standards described in RFCs 5101 and 5102. The BIG-IP system supports logging of CGNAT translation events over the IPFIX protocol. IPFIX logs are raw, binary-encoded strings with their fields and field lengths defined by IPFIX templates. IPFIX collectors are external devices that can receive IPFIX templates, and use them to interpret IPFIX logs.

The configuration process involves creating and connecting the following configuration objects.

Object Reason
Pool of IPFIX collectors Create a pool of IPFIX collectors to which the BIG-IP system can send IPFIX log messages.
Destination Create a log destination to format the logs in IPFIX templates, and forward the logs to the IPFIX collectors.
Publisher Create a log publisher to send logs to a set of specified log destinations.
Logging Profile (optional) Create a logging profile to configure logging options for various large scale NAT (LSN) events. The options apply to all HSL destinations.
LSN pool Associate an LSN pool with a logging profile and log publisher in order to log messages about the traffic that uses the pool.

This illustration shows the association of the configuration objects for IPFIX logging of CGNAT processes.

Associations between CGNAT logging configuration objects

Association of logging configuration objects

Task summary

Perform these tasks to configure IPFIX logging of CGNAT processes on the BIG-IP system.
Note: Enabling IPFIX logging impacts BIG-IP system performance.

Assembling a pool of IPFIX collectors

Before creating a pool of IPFIX collectors, gather the IP addresses of the collectors that you want to include in the pool. Ensure that the remote IPFIX collectors are configured to listen to and receive log messages from the BIG-IP® system.
These are the steps for creating a pool of IPFIX collectors. The BIG-IP system can send IPFIX log messages to this pool.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Pools .
    The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. Using the New Members setting, add the IP address for each IPFIX collector that you want to include in the pool:
    1. Type the collector's IP address in the Address field, or select a node address from the Node List.
    2. Type a port number in the Service Port field.
      By default, IPFIX collectors listen on UDP or TCP port 4739 and Netflow V9 devices listen on port 2055, though the port is configurable at each collector.
    3. Click Add.
  5. Click Finished.

Creating an IPFIX log destination

A log destination of the IPFIX type specifies that log messages are sent to a pool of IPFIX collectors. Use these steps to create a log destination for IPFIX collectors.

  1. On the Main tab, click System > Logs > Configuration > Log Destinations .
    The Log Destinations screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique, identifiable name for this destination.
  4. From the Type list, select IPFIX.
  5. From the Protocol list, select IPFIX or Netflow V9, depending on the type of collectors you have in the pool.
  6. From the Pool Name list, select an LTM® pool of IPFIX collectors.
  7. From the Transport Profile list, select TCP, UDP, or any customized profile derived from TCP or UDP.
  8. The Template Retransmit Interval is the time between transmissions of IPFIX templates to the pool of collectors. The BIG-IP system only retransmits its templates if the Transport Profile is a UDP profile.
    An IPFIX template defines the field types and byte lengths of the binary IPFIX log messages. The logging destination sends the template for a given log type (for example, NAT44 logs or customized logs from an iRule) before sending any of those logs, so that the IPFIX collector can read the logs of that type. The logging destination assigns a template ID to each template, and places the template ID into each log that uses that template.

    The log destination periodically retransmits all of its IPFIX templates over a UDP connection. The retransmissions are helpful for UDP connections, which are lossy.

  9. The Template Delete Delay is the time that the BIG-IP device should pause between deleting an obsolete template and re-using its template ID. This feature is helpful for systems that can create custom IPFIX templates with iRules.
  10. The Server SSL Profile applies Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) to TCP connections. You can only choose an SSL profile if the Transport Profile is a TCP profile. Choose an SSL profile that is appropriate for the IPFIX collectors' SSL/TLS configuration.
    SSL or TLS requires extra processing and therefore slows the connection, so we only recommend this for sites where the connections to the IPFIX collectors have a potential security risk.
  11. Click Finished.

Creating a publisher

A publisher specifies where the BIG-IP® system sends log messages for IPFIX logs.
  1. On the Main tab, click System > Logs > Configuration > Log Publishers .
    The Log Publishers screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique, identifiable name for this publisher.
  4. Use the Log Destinations area to select an existing IPFIX destination (perhaps along with other destinations for your logs): click any destination name in the Available list, and click << to move it to the Selected list.
  5. Click Finished.

Creating an LSN logging profile

You can create an LSN logging profile to allow you to configure logging options for various LSN events that apply to IPFIX logging destinations.
Note: For configuring IPFIX logging of CGNAT processes on the BIG-IP® system, these steps are optional.
  1. On the Main tab, click Carrier Grade NAT > Logging Profiles > LSN .
    The LSN profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New LSN Logging Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the logging profile.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select a profile from which the new profile inherits properties.
  5. Select the Custom check box for the Log Settings area.
  6. For the Log Settings area, select Enabled for the following settings, as necessary.
    Setting Description
    Start Outbound Session Generates event log entries at the start of a translation event for an LSN client.
    End Outbound Session Generates event log entries at the end of a translation event for an LSN client.
    Start Inbound Session Generates event log entries at the start of an incoming connection event for a translated endpoint.
    End Inbound Session Generates event log entries at the end of an incoming connection event for a translated endpoint.
    Quota Exceeded Generates event log entries when an LSN client exceeds allocated resources.
    Errors Generates event log entries when LSN translation errors occur.
  7. Click Finished.

Configuring an LSN pool

You can associate an LSN pool with a log publisher and logging profile that the BIG-IP® system uses to send log messages to a specified destination.
  1. On the Main tab, click Carrier Grade NAT > LSN Pools > LSN Pool List .
    The LSN Pool List screen opens.
  2. Select an LSN pool from the list.
    The configuration screen for the pool opens.
  3. From the Log Publisher list, select the log publisher the BIG-IP system uses to send log messages to a specified destination.
    Important: If you configure a log publisher to use multiple logging destinations, then, by default, all logging destinations must be available in order to log to each destination. Unless all logging destinations are available, no logging can occur. If you want to log to the available logging destinations when one or more destinations become unavailable, you must set the logpublisher.atomic db variable to false.
  4. Optional: From the Logging Profile list, select the logging profile the BIG-IP system uses to configure logging options for various LSN events.
  5. Click Finished.
You now have an LSN pool for which the BIG-IP system logs messages using the specified logging profile.
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