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Manual Chapter: Configuring HTTP Load Balancing with Cookie Persistence
Manual Chapter
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Overview: HTTP load balancing with cookie persistence

Many computing environments want to use a BIG-IP system to intelligently manage their HTTP traffic. You can easily control your HTTP traffic by implementing a BIG-IP system feature known as an HTTP profile. An HTTP profile is a group of settings that affects the behavior of HTTP traffic. An HTTP profile defines the way that you want the system to manage HTTP traffic.

You can use the default HTTP profile, with all of its default values, or you can create a custom HTTP profile. When you create a custom HTTP profile, you not only modify the setting values, but you can enable more advanced features such as data compression of server responses.

When you configure the BIG-IP system to manage HTTP traffic, you can also implement cookie-based session persistence. Cookie persistence directs session requests to the same server based on HTTP cookies that the BIG-IP system stores in the client’s browser.

Task summary

This implementation describes how to set up a basic HTTP load balancing scenario and cookie persistence, using the default HTTP profile.

Because this implementation configures HTTP load balancing and session persistence using the default HTTP, you do not need to specifically configure this profile. Instead, you simply configure some settings on the virtual server when you create it.

Task list

Creating a custom cookie persistence profile

A good way to implement cookie persistence is to create a custom cookie persistence profile.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Persistence. The Persistence profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Fast L4 Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the profile. Names must begin with a letter, and can contain only letters, numbers, and the underscore (_) character.
  4. From the Persistence Type list, select Cookie.
  5. From the Parent Profile list, select cookie.
  6. Select the Custom check box. The fields in the Settings area become available for configuring.
  7. From the Cookie Method list, select HTTP Cookie Insert.
  8. Clear the Session Cookie check box.
  9. Type 60 in the Minutes field.
  10. Click Finished.
The custom cookie persistence profile appears in the Persistence list.

Creating a pool to manage HTTP traffic

Use this procedure to create a pool to manage HTTP connections.
  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. For the Health Monitors setting, from the Available list, select the http monitor, and click << to move the monitor to the Active list.
  5. From the Load Balancing Method list, select how the system distributes traffic to members of this pool. The default is Round Robin.
  6. For the Priority Group Activation setting, specify how to handle priority groups:
    • Select Disabled to disable priority groups. This is the default option.
    • Select Less than, and in the Available Members field type the minimum number of members that must remain available in each priority group in order for traffic to remain confined to that group.
  7. Using the New Members setting, add each resource that you want to include in the pool:
    1. Type an IP address in the Address field, or select a node address from the Node List.
    2. Type 80 in the Service Port field, or select HTTP from the list.
    3. (Optional) Type a priority number in the Priority field.
    4. Click Add.
  8. Click Finished.
The new pool appears in the Pools list.

Creating a virtual server for HTTP traffic

This task creates a destination IP address for application traffic. As part of this task, you must assign the relevant pool to the virtual server.
Note: You can also use HTTP Cookie Insert persistence with a Performance (HTTP) type of virtual server.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers. The Virtual Server List screen displays a list of existing virtual servers.
  2. Click the Create button. The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. Type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the Destination setting, in the Address field, type the IP address you want to use for the virtual server. The IP address you type must be available and not in the loopback network.
  5. In the Service Port field, type 80, or select HTTP from the list.
  6. From the HTTP Profile list, select http.
  7. In the Resources area of the screen, from the Default Pool list, select a pool name.
  8. From the Default Persistence Profile setting, select the name of the custom cookie profile you created earlier, such as mycookie_profile. This implements cookie persistence, using a custom cookie persistence profile.
  9. Click Finished.
You now have a virtual server to use as a destination address for application traffic.
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