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Manual Chapter: Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide: Introducing Enterprise Manager
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Introducing Enterprise Manager

Working with Enterprise Manager

Enterprise Manager is a device management appliance that provides you with a wide variety of features to assist in the management of multiple F5 Networks devices. Enterprise Manager can help simplify several administrative tasks associated with managing multiple F5 Networks devices including software and hotfix upgrades, configuration backup and archiving.

Enterprise Manager can automatically discover and manage F5 Networks traffic management devices through a secure socket layer (SSL) connection. It collects and stores information about devices in a database and makes it available through a web-based interface similar to that of other F5 Networks version 9.x traffic management products. The product is scalable so that as you add F5 Networks devices to the network, you can manage them using Enterprise Manager.

Using the features of Enterprise Manager, you can perform the following tasks from a centralized location:

  • Discover F5 Networks devices in your enterprise, and manage them from a central location.
  • Import and store multiple software and hotfix images in a central software repository.
  • Deploy software and hotfix images to one or more devices.
  • Synchronize device configurations between managed peer devices.
  • Manage the active or standby state of devices in high availability systems.
  • Archive and restore multiple device configurations.
  • Schedule automatic archiving of device configurations.
  • Organize devices into device groups to facilitate the management of related devices.
  • Configure custom alerts to notify specific users of network events such as certificate expiration, or a completed software upgrade.
  • Track changes made by users of Enterprise Manager.
  • Monitor basic network health.

Enterprise Manager can currently manage devices running the BIG-IP 9.1.1 or later software version.

Using Enterprise Manager features

You can view a list of all the F5 Networks devices in your network using the Enterprise Manager device list. The device list catalogs all devices that Enterprise Manager remotely manages. Adding devices to the device list is the first step in centrally managing the devices in the network. Once you perform this task, you can centrally manage software, archive device configurations, create alerts, and monitor the health of your network.

Device discovery and grouping

Enterprise Manager can search for devices by individual address, or it can scan an entire subnet. When it discovers devices, Enterprise Manager adds them to the device list, enabling a host of remote management features.

Once devices are part of the managed device list, you can create custom device groups to further enhance your management options. When a number of devices belong to a device group, you can deploy software or assign alerts to the group, ensuring that all individual members of the group receive the same upgrade or are assigned the same alert. For detailed information about device discovery and device groups, see Chapter 4, Discovering and Managing Devices .

Software and hotfix upgrades

You can use Enterprise Manager's software repository to store both software, and hotfix images. Once you add these images to the repository, you can deploy a hotfix or software upgrade to one device, or configure multiple device upgrades. Alternately, you can check which upgrades are compatible on a per device basis and install only the upgrades that suit your needs. In any software upgrade, you can choose multiple upgrade options, including the installation location and reboot location on each device. For detailed information about software upgrades, see Chapter 5, Managing Software Images .

Archiving and restoring device configurations

Enterprise Manager serves as a device configuration archive, enabling you to archive multiple device configurations per device, providing the additional security of stable configurations in the event of a system restore. You can schedule the automatic archiving of device configurations, and you can save multiple known stable configurations. For detailed information about archiving and restoring device configurations, see Chapter 6, Managing Device Configuration Archives

Monitoring the network and creating custom alerts

Enterprise Manager tools for monitoring the health of managed devices in the network give you the ability to create customized alerts to notify people when certain events occur. Using the device list, you can see a simple view of the state of managed devices in the network, including the failover state of high availability pairs.

You can create custom alerts to notify specific team members when a task completes or if a certificate expires, or you can send an SNMP trap to an existing network management server. To assist you in maintaining the health of BIG-IP systems in your network, an alert log provides a record of alerting events. For detailed information about device monitoring and alerting, see Chapter 7, Monitoring and Alerting .

Monitoring certificate expiration dates

Enterprise Manager can monitor every certificate on each managed device in the network. This provides you the opportunity to monitor certificate expiration dates and renew certificates before they expire. When you combine the certificate monitoring features with the alerting features of Enterprise Manager, you can create warnings when certificates expire or near their expiration dates. For detailed information about working with certificates on managed devices, see Chapter 8, Managing Device Certificates .

Auditing Enterprise Manager system events

Enterprise Manager provides a comprehensive set of auditing features so that you can track what types of enterprise management tasks were initiated from a particular Enterprise Manager system. Depending on the options you choose, you can create and view logs of system, local traffic, and audit events on the Enterprise Manager system. See Chapter 9, Auditing Enterprise Manager System Events for more information about system event auditing.

Working with the Enterprise Manager interface

Because Enterprise Manager uses TMOS, like other F5 Networks Application Delivery Networking products, Enterprise Manager presents a web-based interface called the Configuration utility that is similar to the one you use when working on a BIG-IP system.

The Enterprise Manager Configuration utility uses a navigation pane and menu bar comparable to those in other F5 Networks products. It also provides screens that have both a consistent look and feel, and consistent functionality across different management areas.

You can use the navigation tabs to access the device management areas and context-sensitive online help. In each management area, you can use the menu bar to select more specific options.

Navigating object list screens

Once you have selected a management area on the Main tab, the object list screen for that management area opens. Object list screens display a list of all running or completed tasks, managed devices, alerts, or software and hotfix images stored in the Enterprise Manager software repository. You can remove objects from a list by checking the box to the left of an object name, and clicking the appropriate button below the list.



Figure 1.1 Enterprise Management: Software Images object list screen

Management screens are a starting point for all device management tasks, and provide a high-level overview of objects that you can centrally manage.

Enterprise Manager uses several types of screens that share common navigation and behavior across different management areas. These screens work similarly wherever you encounter them. Many screens use check boxes and buttons to enable or disable objects or services, or to select objects for deletion.

The tables on many screens are sortable by column. You can click certain column headings to sort the table, enabling you to more easily find objects among a large list. You can find sortable column headings by looking for the sorting arrows next to a column heading ( ). For example, in the software image list in Figure 1.1 , the software images are sorted in descending order in the Software Image column with the latest version of the software at the top of the list. If you click the Software Image heading, the information in the table re-sorts to show the earliest version of the software available in the software repository.

In certain tables, you can filter objects displayed in the table by a column heading. If you click the Column Filter button ( ), a menu appears to offer filtering options. In the software image list in Figure 1.1 , you can filter the Image Status column. If you click the Column Filter button, you can filter the list to display only software images in a particular state such as Imported, Importing, or Corrupt.

Above the list table on object list screens is a Filter box. You can use this box to limit the list so that the object list displays only objects that contain the terms you type in the filter box.

If the object list contains more items than can appear on one page, a paging control appears below the list table. You can use the arrow buttons to move to the next or previous screen, or you can select a specific screen from the drop down list.

Using General Properties screens

If you click the name or IP address of a device, task, alert, or software image on most object list screens, the General Properties screen opens. As the title suggests, a General Properties screen provides more detailed information about the selected object.

The General Properties screen provides an overview of a device, task, alert, or software image and is usually the starting point for more specific management activity on a particular object.

Using the Menu bar

On General Properties screens (and screens other than an object list screen), a menu bar appears above the main configuration area. From the menu, you can select options to enable specific management tasks, depending on the device, task, alert, or software image you are working with.



Figure 1.2 Device General Properties screen with menu bar

Selecting a menu option opens a screen where you can manage specific details of the currently selected device, task, alert, or software image. Each menu heading opens a particular configuration screen related to the currently selected object.

You will find additional navigation that is specific to the task you are configuring throughout the Enterprise Manager interface. You can find details about these additional navigation methods throughout this guide, as new concepts are introduced.

You can view help specific to a screen, including a definition of screen elements, when you click the Help tab on the navigation pane.

Finding user assistance

This section describes the Enterprise Manager documentation. It outlines the contents of the Administrator Guide, and explains how we refer to examples, introduce new terms, use cross references, and detail the conventions we use in command syntax. It also explains where to find the release notes and online help, and how to get technical support.

Contents of the Administrator Guide

The Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide is designed to help you install and configure the Enterprise Manager to manage devices in your enterprise network. The Administrator Guide contains the following chapters:

  • Introducing Enterprise Manager
    This chapter describes the features and navigation of Enterprise Manager.
  • Installation and Setup
    This chapter explains setting up the networking environments required to work with Enterprise Manager.
  • Licensing and Configuring the System
    This chapter explains the software licensing, basic network settings, and management preferences.
  • Discovering and Managing Devices
    This chapter introduces the initial steps in centrally managing the devices in the network.
  • Managing Software Images
    This chapter illustrates the steps required to centrally manage software and hotfix upgrades on managed devices.
  • Managing Device Configuration Archives
    This chapter explains how Enterprise Manager can store and manage archived device configurations.
  • Monitoring and Alerting
    This chapter describes how you can monitor the health of your network devices and how to create custom alerts when specific events occur.
  • Managing Device Certificates
    This chapter explains how Enterprise Manager monitors certificates on managed devices.
  • Auditing Enterprise Manager System Events
    This chapter examines the options that you have to track changes made to devices in your network.

All references to hardware platforms in this guide refer specifically to systems supplied by F5 Networks, Inc. If your hardware was supplied by another vendor, and you have hardware-related questions, please refer to the documentation from that vendor.

Stylistic conventions

To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, this documentation uses the following stylistic conventions.

Using the solution examples

All examples in this documentation use only private class IP addresses. When you set up the solutions we describe, you must use IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample IP addresses.

Identifying new terms

When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example, a managed device is an F5 Networks device that is managed by Enterprise Manager.

Identifying references to objects, names, and commands

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, browser screen controls, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, to discover devices requires that you include at least one <ip_address> or an <ip_subnet> variable.

Identifying references to other documents

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. For example, you can find information about deploying a hotfix to multiple devices in the Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide, Chapter 5, Managing Software Images .

Identifying command syntax

We show actual, 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.

Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.

Table 1.1 Command line conventions used in this manual
Item in text
Continue to the next line without typing a line break.
< >
You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type your name.
Separates parts of a command.
[ ]
Syntax inside the brackets is optional.
Indicates that you can type a series of items.


Finding documentation and technical support resources

The Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide provides simple instructions for quick, basic configuration, and also provides detailed information about more advanced features and tools.

You can find comprehensive technical documentation using the following resources:

  • Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide
    The Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide introduces the concepts of managed devices, software image management, configuration archiving, and custom alerting. For example, you can learn how to add a variety of devices to the device list, create device groups, and deploy software upgrades to different groups of devices.
  • Platform Guide: Enterprise Manager 500
    The Platform Guide: Enterprise Manager 500 includes information about the Enterprise Manager system hardware platform. It also contains important environmental warnings.
  • Release notes
    Release notes for the Enterprise Manager are available in HTML format on the F5 Networks Technical Support web site, The release note contains the latest information for the current version, including a list of new features and enhancements, a list of fixes, and a list of known issues.
  • Enterprise Manager Quick Start Instructions
    The Enterprise Manager hardware includes the printed Enterprise Manager Quick Start Instructions. This document provides basic instructions for a quick set up and initial configuration of the Enterprise Manager system.
  • Online help for Enterprise Manager features
    Enterprise Manager has online help for each screen. On the navigation pane, click the help tab to receive context-sensitive user assistance.
  • Technical support through the World Wide Web
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest release notes, technical notes, answers to frequently asked questions, updates for the Administrator Guide (in PDF format), and the AskF5 natural language question and answer engine.

Procedures and examples described in the Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide and in the online help assume that the user is an administrator-level user with full access privileges to the Enterprise Manager device. The Enterprise Manager system logs on to managed devices using an administrator-level account, so all users with administrator-level access to Enterprise Manager can perform the high-level management tasks described in this document on devices in the network through the Enterprise Manager interface.

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