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Manual Chapter: Introducing the VIPRION Platform
Manual Chapter
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The VIPRIONTM platform is one of the most robust systems capable of managing traffic for any size of enterprise.
The VIPRION platform consists of a unique chassis/blade configuration. This configuration allows you to add, remove, and change components on the fly, without interrupting the essential services of the BIG-IP® software installed on the platform. Everything from the blades to the power supplies, the fan tray to the LCD panel, is available for you to add, remove, or change as needed.
The highly extensible nature of the VIPRION platform has been designed to be easy to implement; however, some familiarity with the components of the VIPRION platform can ensure that you install and integrate the platform successfully and effectively.
Note: If you have not already done so, we recommend that you read the Setting Up the VIPRIONTM Platform guide. This guide provides a detailed explanation of how to unpack, rack, install components, and power the platform.
Connect the VIPRION platform to the network, and optionally connect the peripheral hardware. For more information on mounting the hardware and attaching cables, see Installing and connecting the hardware, on page 2-1.
The VIPRION platform comes with the hardware that you need for installation. However, you must also provide standard peripheral hardware, such as a serial terminal, if you want to administer the VIPRION platform directly.
The power cables included with this unit are for exclusive use with this unit and should not be used with other electrical appliances.
For each VIPRION platform in the system, the peripheral hardware you provide is determined by the configuration you want to create:
If you plan to use direct administrative access to the VIPRION platform, you need standard input/output hardware. This requires a serial terminal and a null modem cable.
If you want to use the default VIPRION platform configuration, you must have an administrative workstation on the same IP network as the platform.
You also need network hubs, switches, or concentrators to connect to the VIPRION platform network interfaces. The devices you select must be compatible with the network interface cards installed in the VIPRION platform.
You can use a USB drive compatible with the system for installing upgrades and for system recovery. You can perform an upgrade or system recovery with almost any non-CDRW USB drive. Even though most USB CD-ROMs should work, we cannot guarantee compatibility with all makes and models.
If you plan on doing remote administration from your own PC workstation as most users do, we recommend that you have your workstation already in place on the same subnet to which the management interface is connected.
The VIPRION Platform includes two primary components: the chassis, which houses the components, and blades, which reside within the chassis and provide the hardware and software needed to manage network traffic.
The VIPRION chassis is the housing unit that contains all of the components necessary for the VIPRION platform to operate effectively. One of the most powerful features of the VIPRION platform is that you can add, remove, or change any or all of the essential components of the platform. These components include blades, power supplies, the fan tray, the LCD panel, and the System ID card. This configuration allows for an extremely robust and flexible system that can manage large amounts of application traffic, and remain operational even if one of its components goes offline.
A blade is the primary component that handles the traffic management within the VIPRION platform. You can install up to four blades in a single VIPRION chassis. These blades exist in a single group, called a cluster. In instances where you do not have a blade for a given slot in the VIPRION chassis, the chassis includes a blank which helps protect the airflow within the platform. These blanks also ensure the EMC compliance of the unit and must be installed on all unused slots.
This guide describes the features of the VIPRION platform. This guide contains the following information about these features:
Installing the hardware
You can learn how to install the hardware in a rack. For more information, see Chapter 2, Installing the VIPRION Platform.
Understanding the ports and interfaces
You can understand the intended use of the ports and interfaces on each platform. For more information, see Working with interfaces, on page 4-6.
Using the LCD panel
You can learn how to understand and use the LCD panel. For more information see Chapter 3, Operating the LCD Panel.
Managing clusters
You can learn how to manage the IP addresses and other management interface settings associated with clusters. For more information, see Managing clusters with the LCD menus, on page 3-5.
Understanding LED behavior
You can learn how to decipher what conditions are signaled by the LEDs. For more information, see Understanding LED behavior, on page 4-1.
Changing blades
You can learn how to add, remove, and change blades. For more information, see Changing blades, on page 5-1.
Replacing a fan tray
You can learn how to replace a fan tray. For more information see Changing the fan tray, on page 5-6.
Changing a power supply
You can learn how to replace a power supply. For more information, see Changing a power supply, on page 5-7.
Understanding the environmental guidelines
You can read detailed environmental guidelines for each platform. For more information, see Chapter 7, Working with Environmental Guidelines for the VIPRION Platform.
Learning the hardware specifications
You can see details about the hardware specifications for each platform. For more information, see Chapter 8, Reviewing Hardware Specifications.
In addition to this guide, there are other sources of documentation you can use in order to work with the VIPRION platform. The information is available in the guides and documents described below.
The printed documentation, Setting Up the VIPRIONTM Platform, is included with the VIPRION system. This guide provides you with the basic configuration steps required to get the VIPRION system up and running in the network.
In addition, the following guides are available from the AskF5SM Knowledge Base web site (
Configuration Guide for the VIPRIONTM System
This guide contains information on how to implement the cluster-specific features of the BIG-IP software.
Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management
This guide contains any information you need for configuring the BIG-IP system to manage local network traffic. With this guide, you can perform tasks such as creating virtual servers and load balancing pools, configuring application and persistence profiles, implementing health monitors, and setting up remote authentication.
BIG-IP® Network and System Management Guide
This guide contains any information you need to configure and maintain the network and system-related components of the BIG-IP system. With this guide, you can perform tasks such as configuring VLANs, assigning self IP addresses, creating administrative user accounts, and managing a redundant system.
BIG-IP® Command Line Interface Guide
This guide contains information you need if you choose to configure the BIG-IP system using the command line interface instead of the Configuration utility. It includes instructions for handling specific tasks, but it does not include instructions for configuring every aspect of the system. It also contains an appendix with detailed information about the bigpipe commands.
To help you easily identify and understand important information, our documentation uses the stylistic conventions described following.
All examples in this documentation use only private class IP addresses. When you set up the solutions we describe, you must use valid IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample addresses.
To help you identify sections where a term is defined, the term itself is shown in bold italic text. For example, a virtual server is a specific combination of a virtual address and virtual port, associated with a content site that is managed by a BIG-IP system or other type of host server.
We apply bold text to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, with the bigpipe pool <pool_name> show command, you can specify a specific pool to show by specifying a pool name for the <pool_name> variable.
We use italic text to denote a reference to another document. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as a specific chapter or section in the book, we show the book name in bold, italic text, and the chapter/section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. This is an example of a reference:
For details about connecting the system to a management workstation or network, see the chapter on, Connecting a Management Workstation or Network, in Installation, Licensing, and Upgrades for BIG-IP® Systems.
We show complete commands in bold Courier text. Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. For example, the following command shows the configuration of the specified pool name:
Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.
Identifies a user-defined parameter. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name, but do not include the angle brackets.
Means is defined as. Indicates that an argument is followed by the description of the elements that you can use for the argument.
Online help
The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. The online help contains descriptions of each control and setting on the screen. Click the Help tab in the left navigation pane to view the online help for a screen.
Welcome screen in the Configuration utility
The Welcome screen in the Configuration utility contains links to many useful web sites and resources, including:
F5 Networks Technical Support web site
The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest documentation for F5 products, including:
The AskF5SM Knowledge Base
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