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Manual Chapter: Getting Started with BIG-IP Virtual Edition
Manual Chapter
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What is BIG-IP Virtual Edition?

BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE) is a version of the BIG-IP system that runs as a virtual machine (VM) in specifically-supported hypervisors (VMware ESX® or ESXi® for this guide). BIG-IP VE emulates a hardware-based BIG-IP system running a VE-compatible version of BIG-IP software.

Note: The BIG-IP VE product license determines the maximum allowed throughput rate. To view this rate limit, you can display the BIG-IP VE licensing page within the BIG-IP Configuration utility. Lab editions have no guarantee of throughput rate and are not supported for production environments.

BIG-IP Virtual Edition compatibility with VMware hypervisor products

BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE) is compatible with VMware ESX 4.0 and 4.1, and VMware ESXi 4.0 and 4.1 update 1 hosts.
Important: BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE) does not support hypervisors other than those identified in this guide, and installation attempts on these platforms might be unsuccessful.

Hypervisor guest definition

The VMware virtual machine guest environment for the BIG-IP VE, at minimum, must include the following:

  • 2 x virtual CPUs (reserve 2 GHz)
  • 4 GB RAM with a 2-core CPU
  • 8 GB RAM with a 4-core CPU
  • 2 GB RAM with 2-core CPU (upgrade path from version 10.2.x)
  • 1 x virtual Flexible (PCnet32 LANCE) network adapter (for management)
  • 3 x virtual VMXNET3 network adapters
  • 1 x 100 GB SCSI disk, by default
  • 1 x 50 GB SCSI disk, as an extra disk option

A secondary disk is recommended and might be required for certain BIG-IP modules.

When upgrading from version 10.2.x, change the configuration to at least 4 GB of RAM.

Important: Not supplying at least the minimum virtual configuration limits will produce unexpected results.

For production licenses, F5 Networks suggests using the maximum configuration limits for the BIG-IP VE system. Reservations can be less for lab editions.

There are also some maximum configuration limits to consider for deploying a BIG-IP VE virtual machine, such as:

  • CPU reservation can be up to 100 percent of the defined virtual machine hardware. For example, if the hypervisor has a 3 GHz core speed, the reservation of a virtual machine with 2 CPUs can be only 6 GHz or less.
  • RAM reservation can be only 2, 4, or 8 GB.
  • For production environments, virtual disks should be deployed Thick (allocated up front). Thin deployments are acceptable for lab environments.
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