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Manual Chapter: Essential Configuration Tasks
Manual Chapter
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When you integrate a Link Controller into your network, you must complete a specific set of tasks for the capabilities of the Link Controller to be available to you. These tasks are:
Once you complete these essential configuration tasks, you can customize how the Link Controller system manages inbound and outbound traffic. For example, you can determine if you want to load balance traffic based on cost, bandwidth, or application. You can also define specific geographic regions, called topologies, that allow you to load balance traffic based on the traffic destination.
Note: The Link Controller uses an auto-discovery feature to manage and maintain links. You can access this feature from the Main tab of the navigation pane by expanding System, clicking General Properties, and then choosing General from the Global Traffic menu. Do not disable this feature; doing so causes the Link Controller to mark all links as down, and to be unable to manage traffic.
Tip: If your environment requires that the Link Controller operate in a fail-safe or high availability mode, see the section titled Configuring fail-safe in Chapter 13, Setting Up a Redundant System, in the TMOS® Management Guide for BIG-IP® Systems.
One of the most important tasks you want to complete when adding links to the Link Controller system configuration is the creation of a default gateway pool. A default gateway pool is a collection of the routers available for handling the networks inbound and outbound traffic. The Link Controller system requires the default gateway pool to load balance traffic across different routers, ensuring that network traffic flows in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Local Traffic and then click Pools.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
In the Name box, type the name of the pool.
F5 Networks recommends that you use a name such as default_gateway_pool.
Note: The pool name is limited to 63 characters.
4.
For the New Members setting, add the IP addresses associated with each router, to add the routers to the pool.
5.
Configure additional options for the pool as needed.
The system displays additional options when you select Advanced from the Configuration list.
6.
Click Finished to save your changes.
After you create a default gateway pool, you must instruct the Link Controller system to use the pool as the default gateway connection between the internal network and the Internet.
1.
2.
Click the Add button.
3.
From the Type list, select Default Gateway.
4.
From the Resource list, select Use Pool.
5.
From the Pool list, select the pool name that represents the group of links you want to use as the default gateway pool.
6.
Click Finished to save your changes.
Before you can load balance inbound and outbound traffic on the Link Controller system, you must add at least one link and configure its basic properties. These properties include settings such as the router address of the link, as well as the limit thresholds for inbound and outbound traffic.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Link Controller, and then click Links.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
In the Name box, type a name for the link.
Note: The link name is limited to 63 characters.
4.
For the Router Address List setting, in the Address box, type the IP address that you want to associate with the link.
5.
In the Uplink Address box, type the IP address that you want to associate with the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to which outgoing traffic is sent.
6.
In the Service Provider box, type the name of the Internet Service Provider.
b)
Use the Move [<<] button to add the monitor to the Enabled list.
F5 Networks recommends that you add at least the bigip_link and snmp_link monitors.
8.
Click the Create button to save your changes.
One of the most crucial aspects of integrating the Link Controller system into your network is providing it with the means of identifying the network traffic for which it is responsible. A listener is a resource for the Link Controller system that monitors an IP address on which the system intercepts traffic. Listening is a process in which a component, known as a listener, passively checks incoming traffic and initiates an action only if a packet matches a set of criteria. Each listener that you define monitors only for DNS packets on port 53. The Link Controller system then handles only network traffic sent to that IP address.
In most situations, a Link Controller system is responsible for traffic that traverses multiple VLANs. Consequently, you can configure a listener to monitor as many or as few VLANs as necessary.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Link Controller, and then click Listeners.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
In the Destination box, type the IP address on which you want the Link Controller to listen for network traffic.
The Link Controller system handles only network traffic sent to this IP address.
4.
From the VLAN Traffic list, select a VLAN setting appropriate for this listener.
For additional assistance with this setting, see the online help for this screen.
5.
Click the Finished button to save the new listener.
A load balancing pool is a set of devices, such as web servers, that you group together to receive and process traffic. Instead of sending client traffic to the destination IP address specified in the client request, the Link Controller system sends the request to any of the servers that are members of that pool.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Local Traffic and then click Pools.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
The screen displays additional settings.
4.
In the Name box, type a name for the pool.
Note: The pool name is limited to 63 characters.
5.
Specify, retain, or change each of the other settings.
For information on pool settings, refer to the online help for this screen.
6.
Click the Finished button to save your changes.
A key requirement for the Link Controller system is that you add the virtual servers to which the Link Controller system load balances inbound and outbound traffic. A virtual server is a specific network resource and, at a minimum, is identified by an IP address and port number.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Local Traffic and then click Virtual Servers.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
In the Name box, type the name of the virtual server.
Note: The virtual server name is limited to 63 characters.
4.
For the Destination setting:
b)
In the Address box, type the IP address of the virtual server.
5.
In the Service Port box, type the port number that the virtual server uses.
Alternatively, you can select a port from the adjacent list. For example, if you select HTTP from the list, the corresponding box automatically updates to contain the corresponding port number, 80.
7.
Click the Finished button to save the new virtual server configuration.
A wide IP is a mapping of a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) to a set of virtual servers that host the domains content, such as a web site, an e-commerce site, or a content delivery network (CDN). You establish wide IPs within a Link Controller system to determine how the system manages inbound traffic.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Link Controller, and then click Inbound Wide IPs.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
In the Name box, type a name that identifies the wide IP.
4.
In the TTL box, type the time-to-live value you want to associate with this wide IP.
5.
For the Load Balancing Method setting, select the appropriate load balancing modes.
You can select a load balancing mode at three different levels: Preferred, Alternate, and Fallback. These modes are described in detail in Chapter 9, Inbound Load Balancing.
6.
In the Member List setting, add the virtual servers that belong to this wide IP.
7.
Click the Create button to save the new wide IP.
A virtual server configured on a Link Controller system translates the destination IP address of an incoming packet to another destination IP address, for the purpose of load balancing that packet. Normally, the source IP address remains unchanged.
As an option, you can also create a secure network address translation (SNAT). A SNAT is an object that maps an original client IP address (that is, a source IP address) to a translation address that you choose. Thus, a SNAT causes the Link Controller system to translate the source IP address of an incoming packet to an address that you specify. The purpose of a SNAT is simple: to ensure that the target server sends its response back through the Link Controller system rather than to the original client IP address directly.
As an alternative to SNAT, the Link Controller system also supports network address translation (NAT). A NAT provides an alias IP address that a node can use as its source IP address when making or receiving connections to clients on the external network. (This distinguishes it from a SNAT, which can initiate but not receive a connection.)
The Link Controller system supports multiple types of SNAT and NAT implementations. The following procedure outlines the most basic SNAT implementation, referred to as a standard implementation, which maps a source IP address directly to another IP address.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Local Traffic, and then click SNATs.
2.
Click the Create button.
3.
In the Name box, type a unique name for the SNAT.
4.
From the Translation list, select IP Address.
6.
Click the Finished button to save your changes.
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