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Manual Chapter: Using CloudFormation templates
Manual Chapter
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About CloudFormation templates

To create and repeat F5 deployments in Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can use a CloudFormation template (CFT). A CFT is a JSON-formatted text file (saved with the .json or .template file extension). It defines the AWS resources you want to provision and how you want to provision them. To deploy AWS resources by using a CFT, you use the Amazon CloudFormation service.

When you use a CFT to provision a set of resources, the set of resources is referred to as a stack.

For additional information on how to use CFTs, see the Amazon website at http://aws.amazon.com/documentation/cloudformation/.

About F5 CloudFormation templates

F5® provides several CloudFormation templates (CFTs) that you can use to create common deployments of BIG-IP® Virtual Edition (VE) instances, including deployments with Auto Scaling. To download the templates, go to https://github.com/F5Networks.

Parameters

You will most likely edit two sections in a CFT: Parameters and Resources. For more information about the sections of a CFT, see the Amazon web site at http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSCloudFormation/latest/UserGuide/template-anatomy.html.The Parameters section defines a number of variables. You can specify values for these variables in the CFT, or you can have the user specify values when they deploy the stack. Here is an example of a parameter in an F5 CFT.
   "BigIPAMI" : {
   "Description" : "F5 BIG-IP AMI. The default value is an AMI for region us-east-1.",
   "Type" : "String",
   "ConstraintDescription" : "Must be a valid BIP-IP AMI for the region that it is launched in."
   },
   

Resources

The Resources section is the only required section. It defines the Amazon EC2 and VPC resources. Here are examples of the resources in an F5 CFT:

WebServerAutoScaleGroup
This resource defines attributes of the Auto Scaling group for application pool members. It specifies that pool members should be launched by using WebServerLaunchConfig and that the pool member count should be at minimum 1, and maximum of 3. The frequency of the metrics that determine whether scale up or down is needed are also specified. Metrics are collected once per minute.
WebPoolScaleUpPolicy
This section defines what action is to be taken when a scale down event is triggered. This policy is referred to within the WebPoolLowbytes CloudWatch alarm definition. The policy defines that one pool member is removed from the Auto Scaling group.
WebPoolHighbytes
This resource specifies a usage threshold that triggers a request for more pool members.
WebPoolLowbytes
This resource specifies a usage threshold that triggers a request for fewer pool members.

To perform basic device configuration when an instance starts, you can use CloudInit as part of the CFT. For more information about CloudInit, see https://cloudinit.readthedocs.org/en/latest/.

Create a new CloudFormation stack

Before you create a CloudFormation (CFT) stack, you must:
  • Create a key pair.
  • Create an IAM user, and download the access key and secret key.
  • Obtain an F5® Bring Your Own License (BYOL) key.

To set up BIG-IP VE in AWS, you can use a CFT.

Note: Some parameters listed in these steps are defined by the F5 CFT. If you use a different CFT, the parameters may be different.
  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu, select CloudFormation.
  2. Click Create New Stack.
  3. In the Choose a template section, click Choose File to upload your template.
  4. Click Next and compete the remaining screens in the wizard.
  5. When done, click Create.
    The Create Stack screen opens. While AWS parses the template and the settings you specified, and begins creating the objects necessary to serve your applications, the Status column at the top of the Create Stack screen displays UPDATE_IN_PROGRESS.

When the process completes, the Status column at the top of the Create Stack screen updates.

If the stack creates successfully, the Status displays CREATE_COMPLETE. Additionally, the Outputs tab on the bottom of the screen displays the objects that were created as a result of the process.

If there are issues with the process, the Status displays CREATE_FAILED. The AWS CloudFormation process will most likely roll back the resources that the creation process allocated and display UPDATE_ROLLBACK_COMPLETE when that process finishes.

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