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Manual Chapter: BIG-IP v9.0 New and Updated Commands: Introducing BIG-IP System Commands
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Introducing BIG-IP System Commands

Purpose of this guide

The release of the BIG-IP version 9 system includes several changes and enhancements to the BIG-IP command line interface. The command line interface is one way that customers can configure and manage the BIG-IP system.

If you are an existing BIG-IP system user who has used the command line interface in previous versions of the product, and you want to continue using it, this guide can provide an overview of the changes. This guide is therefore targeted for existing BIG-IP system users familiar with the BIG-IP command line interface, and provides the following information:

  • Summaries of all network management, system management, and local traffic management utilities and commands available from the command line
  • Summaries of all network management, system management, and local traffic management tasks that you can perform to manage the BIG-IP system
  • Procedures that have changed due to the release of new or modified commands, or due to commands becoming obsolete. Note that if a procedure requires the same commands as in previous versions of the BIG-IP system but the detailed syntax of the commands has changed, then those procedures are not included in this guide. Instead, this guide refers the reader to the online man pages for correct syntax information.

If the specific commands or combinations of commands you once used to perform a command line task in version 4.5+ are the same in BIG-IP version 9, the procedures for those tasks are not included here. Instead, you can refer to the BIG-IP Reference Guide (version 4.5) for that information. However, if commands or combinations of commands are different in version 9 from those in version 4.5+, then those tasks are included in this guide.

For example, this guide includes the procedure for configuring SSL certificate-based authorization using a remote LDAP server, because the commands have changed. Instead of using the 4.5+ commands bigpipe authz and bigpipe proxy, you now use the commands bigpipe auth and bigpipe profile.

Also included in this guide are command line procedures for managing any new features in version 9. Thus, for example, the guide includes the command line procedures for implementing HTTP compression and server-side connection pooling.

Introducing the BIG-IP system command line interface

The BIG-IP traffic management system is a powerful combination of hardware and software elements, designed to meet your traffic-management needs in the most efficient, scalable, reliable, and secure ways possible. Although the primary tool for managing the BIG-IP system is the browser-based Configuration utility, there are other tools available that are command-line-based. That is, there are commands and utilities that you can either type at a command-line prompt (such as the BIG-IP system prompt or the LINUX operating system prompt), or use within scripts such as iRulesTM.

While some of these utilities and commands are provided as part of the BIG-IP system, others are industry-standard tools that you can use to further enhance the power of the BIG-IP system.

Understanding command-line utilities and tools

There are several command-line utilities and tools that you can use to manage the BIG-IP system:

  • The config utility
    You use the config utility to define the IP address, network mask, and gateway for the management (MGMT) port, when you initially set up your BIG-IP system.
  • The bigpipe utility
    The bigpipe utility is a set of commands that you can use to configure elements of the BIG-IP system such as load balancing pools and virtual servers. Using bigpipe commands, you can manage the BIG-IP base network and system, and you can control local application traffic to suit your exact needs.
  • The bigtop utility
    The bigtop utility is a command that provides statistical monitoring, and displays connections and throughput. You can set a refresh interval and specify a sort order for this statistical information.
  • The bigstart command
    With the bigstart command, you can start, stop, restart, and check the status of various daemons, such as snmpd.

The industry-standard tools that you can also use to manage the BIG-IP system are:

  • The Syslog daemon
    The Syslog daemon is a LINUX operating system daemon that tracks system events and stores them in log files. This daemon can track not only LINUX system events, but BIG-IP system events, too. The system stores the Syslog configuration file in the /etc/syslog.conf directory and stores the log output in the files in the /var/log directory.
  • he Tools Command Language (Tcl) programming language
    The Tools Command Language (Tcl) programming language is an industry-standard programming language that you can use to create BIG-IP iRules. iRules are scripts you can write to direct and manipulate the way that the BIG-IP system manages application traffic.
  • The openssl utility
    A component of the industry-standard OpenSSL toolkit, the openssl utility is a set of commands that perform various cryptographic functions, such as generating SSL certificates and keys.
This document does not provide the complete syntax for bigpipe commands. For complete syntax information, see the online man page for each bigpipe command.

Using the bigpipe utility

You can display information on each bigpipe command, using a set of online man pages included in the BIG-IP system. These man pages provide all of the detailed syntax you need to use the bigpipe commands.

Displaying man pages

The BIG-IP product distribution includes a complete set of online man pages for the bigpipe commands. To display a man page for a bigpipe command, type the man command, followed by the command name, at the command line prompt. For example, to display the syntax for the bigpipe vlan command, type:

man vlan

An alternative way to display a man page is to type the keyword help after a bigpipe command. For example, you can type:

bigpipe vlan help

In some cases, a bigpipe command might not have an individual man page. In this case, you can display a master help page by simply typing:

bigpipe help

Understanding syntax conventions

To help you use the bigpipe commands, Table 1.1 explains the conventions that appear in the syntax section of the bigpipe man pages.

Table 1.1 Command line conventions
Item in text Description
Indicates that syntax continues to the next line without typing a line break.
< >
Indicates that you should enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command syntax shows <your name>, type your name.
Separates alternate options for a command.
Indicates that syntax inside the brackets is optional.
Indicates that you can type a series of items.


When using the bigpipe command, you can either type the entire command at the command-line prompt, or you can simply type the letter b. For example, to configure a load balancing pool, you can type this command:
b pool <pool_name> <arguments>

For more information

In addition to this guide, you can find information about the command line interface in the following locations:

  • Online man pages
    The BIG-IP product includes a complete set of online man pages for the commands that make up the bigpipe utility. For more information see Using the bigpipe utility .
  • HTML command line interface guide on CD
    This is a printable collection of the bigpipe man pages included with the version 9 product.
  • The LINUX Syslog daemon man page
    This man page is included with the standard set of LINUX operating system man pages.
  • TUser-supplied third-party Tcl reference books
    Various third-party reference books on the Tcl programming language are available that you can use to write iRules for managing local application traffic.

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