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Manual Chapter: Deploying BIG-IP Virtual Edition
Manual Chapter
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Deploying BIG-IP Virtual Edition

Host machine requirements and recommendations

To successfully deploy and run the BIG-IP® VE system, the host system must satisfy minimum requirements.

The host system must include:

  • Microsoft® Windows Server® with the Hyper-V® role enabled. The Virtual Edition and Supported Hypervisors Matrix, published on the AskF5™ web site, http://support.f5.com identifies the versions that are supported.
  • Connection to a common NTP source (this is especially important for each host in a redundant system configuration)

The hypervisor CPU must meet the following requirements:

  • Use 64-bit architecture.
  • Have support for virtualization (AMD-V or Intel VT-x) enabled.
  • Support a one-to-one thread-to-defined virtual CPU ratio, or (on single-threading architectures) support at least one core per defined virtual CPU.
  • If you use an Intel processor, it must be from the Core (or newer) workstation or server family of CPUs.

SSL encryption processing on your VE will be faster if your host CPU supports the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (AES-NI). Contact your CPU vendor for details on which CPUs provide AES-NI support.

The hypervisor memory requirement depends on the number of licensed TMM cores. The table describes these requirements.

Number of Cores Memory Required
1 2 Gb
2 4 Gb
4 8 Gb
8 16 Gb

About BIG-IP VE Hyper-V deployment

To deploy the BIG-IP® Virtual Edition (VE) system on Microsoft Hyper-V, perform these tasks.

  • Verify the host machine requirements.
  • Deploy an instance of the BIG-IP system as a virtual machine on a host system.
  • Power on the BIG-IP VE virtual machine.
  • Assign a management IP address to the BIG-IP VE virtual machine.

After you complete these tasks, you can log in to the BIG-IP VE system and run the Setup utility. Using the Setup utility, you can perform basic network configuration tasks, such as assigning VLANs to interfaces.

Deploying the BIG-IP VE virtual machine

The first steps in deploying BIG-IP® VE are to download the Zip file and extract the virtual hard drive (VHD) file, and save it to the server running Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 R2 or 2012 with the Hyper-V® role enabled. Next, you configure the virtual machine using Hyper-V Manager and the Settings window.

Important: Do not modify the configuration of the Hyper-V guest environment with settings less powerful than the ones recommended in this document. This includes the settings for the CPU, RAM, and network adapters. Doing so might produce unexpected results.
  1. In a browser, open the F5 Downloads page (https://downloads.f5.com).
    If you have not already logged in, you must log in before proceeding.
  2. On the Downloads Overview page, select Find a Download.
    The Select a Product line screen opens.
  3. Under Product Line, select BIG-IP v12.x/Virtual Edition.
    The Select a Product Version and Container for BIG-IP V12.X/VIRTUAL EDITION screen opens.
  4. From the version list at the top of the screen, select the version number that you want to install.
    The screen lists the product containers for BIG-IP VE version you selected.
  5. Under Name, select Virtual-Edition.
    The first time you select an option, the Software Terms and Conditions screen opens. Otherwise, the Select a Download screen opens.
  6. If the End User Software License is displayed, read through it and then click I Accept.
    The Select a Download screen opens.
  7. Download the BIG-IP VE file package ending with vhd.zip.
  8. Extract the file from the Zip archive and save it where your VHD files reside on the Hyper-V server.
  9. Start Hyper-V Manager, log in to the Hyper-V server, and from the Actions pane, click New > Virtual Machine .
    The New Virtual Machine Wizard opens.
  10. In the Name field, type a name for the BIG-IP VE virtual machine, such as: smith_big-ip_ve and click Next.
  11. In the Memory field, type 4096 and click Next.
    Tip: To increase performance, you can specify a value up to 8192.
  12. For the Connection setting, select Management and click Next.
  13. Map the source network HA to the name of a high-availability network in your inventory.
    An example of a destination high-availability network is HA.
  14. Select the Use an existing virtual hard disk check box, browse to the location where you saved your VHD file, select the file, open it, and click Next.
  15. In the Summary page, review your settings and click Finish.
    The New Virtual Machine Wizard closes, and the new BIG-IP VE shows in the Virtual Machines list.
  16. From the Virtual Machines list, select the new BIG-IP VE.
    The name of the BIG-IP VE appears in the bottom half of the Actions pane.
  17. In the lower half of the Actions pane, click Settings.
    The Settings window for the selected BIG-IP VE opens.
  18. From the Hardware list, select Processor, and then change the Number of logical processors to 2, and increase the Virtual machine reserve (percentage) to 100.
  19. Click Add Hardware, select Network Adapter and click Add. Repeat this for a total of three adapters (or four, for a high-availability configuration).
    1. Click the second Network Adapter, and then from the Network list select External.
    2. Click the third Network Adapter, and then from the Network list select Internal.
    3. If the BIG-IP VE will be used in a high-availability configuration, click the fourth Network Adapter, and then from the Network list select HA.
  20. In the Management area, click Automatic Stop Action and select Shut down the guest operating system.
    This setting ensures that the BIG-IP VE virtual machine restarts with all previously-configured virtual hardware, and at the current system time.
  21. Click OK to save your changes and close the Settings window.

Requirements and recommendations for optimum Hyper-V throughput

F5 performance testing has determined a number of configuration "tweaks" that optimize performance throughput for Microsoft Hyper-V VE. While none of these configuration settings and component recommendations are required for 1Gbps performance, F5 Networks testing has certified maximum throughput levels using these specific settings. Note that you may be able to achieve maximum throughput levels with settings and components other than those described here; follow these guidelines to insure success.

Host system recommendations

Optimum settings for the host system include:

  • An Intel X520 network interface card (NICs) with two ports, one for the external and one for the internal interface. The NIC used for the management and/or HA interfaces can be a 1G card. For configurations that include an HA VLAN, the virtual switch can either share the NIC used by the management VLAN or use its own NIC.
  • Each NIC requires a virtual switch.
  • If your are using the Intel X520 NIC, the NIC drivers must be upgraded to a version at least as recent as version 3.8.35.0 NDIS 6.30.
  • The driver properties for the 10G NICs must be modified to disable Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) and Interrupt Moderation. (You can use either the Hyper-V Manager graphic user interface or the PowerShell command line interface to perform this modification.)
Hypervisor recommendations

Optimum settings for the Hyper-V Manager include:

  • Disable NUMA Spanning.
  • Disable VMQ for this specific VE. You should do this even if you've already disabled VMQ for the hypervisor, but especially if you chose not to disable VMQ for the hypervisor NICs.
  • Increase the number of licensed TMM cores to 8 and the amount of memory to 16 Gb.
BIG-IP VE considerations
You may also increase your VE performance by reducing the interrupt coalescing threshold for the BIG-IP VE. (You can use the following tmsh command:
tmsh modify sys db scheduler.unicasleeprxlimit.ltm value 16
.

Powering on the virtual machine

You power on the virtual machine so that you can begin assigning IP addresses.
  1. Open the Hyper-V Manager client.
  2. Select the virtual machine that you want to power on.
  3. From the Action menu, choose Start.
    The status icon changes to indicate that the virtual machine is on. The virtual machine boots and becomes ready for configuration.

There are two default accounts used for initial configuration and setup:

  • The root account provides access locally, or using SSH, or using the F5 Configuration utility. The root account password is default.
  • The admin account provides access through the web interface. The admin account password is admin.

You should change passwords for both accounts before bringing a system into production.

Assigning a management IP address to a virtual machine

The virtual machine needs an IP address assigned to its virtual management port.
Tip: The default configuration for new deployments and installations is for DHCP to acquire the management port IP address.
  1. In the Hyper-V Manager, locate and highlight the virtual machine to which you want to assign the management IP address.
  2. In the Actions pane, choose Connect.
    The console window for opens. After a few seconds, a login prompt appears.
  3. At the password prompt, type default.
  4. Type config and press Enter.
    The F5 Management Port Setup screen opens.
  5. Click OK.
  6. If you want DHCP to automatically assign an address for the management port, select Yes. Otherwise, select No and follow the instructions for manually assigning an IP address and netmask for the management port.

You can use a hypervisor generic statement such as tmsh show sys management-ip to confirm that the management IP address has been properly assigned.

Tip: F5 Networks highly recommends that you specify a default route for the virtual management port, but it is not required for operating the virtual machine.
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