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Manual Chapter: Introducing the Link Controller
Manual Chapter
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F5 Networks BIG-IP® system is a port-based, multilayer switch that supports virtual local area network (VLAN) technology. Because hosts within a VLAN can communicate at the data-link layer (Layer 2), a BIG-IP system reduces the need for routers and IP routing on the network. This in turn reduces equipment costs and boosts overall network performance. At the same time, the BIG-IP systems multilayer capabilities enable the system to process traffic at other OSI layers. The BIG-IP system can perform IP routing at Layer 3, as well as manage and secure TCP, UDP, and other application traffic at Layer 4 through 7.
The BIG-IP® Link Controller system is a dedicated IP application switch that manages traffic to and from a site across multiple links, regardless of connection type or provider. The Link Controller system provides granular traffic control for Internet gateways, allowing you to define how traffic is distributed across links in a way that meets your business priorities. The Link Controller system also transparently monitors the availability and health of links to optimally direct traffic across the best available link.
Link load balancing is defined as managing traffic across multiple Internet or wide-area network (WAN) gateways. Link load balancing ensures high availability in the network, and improves the performance of a web site or data center. Link load balancing provides a method by which an organization can reliably manage a multi-homed network. A multi-homed network is composed of one or more data centers that have more than one link to the Internet.
As enterprises increase their reliance on the Internet for delivering mission-critical applications and services, using only one link and ISP provider to access the public network represents a single point of failure. The Link Controller system removes the risk of this single point of failure by enabling enterprises to control and monitor multiple links for their Internet connectivity.
Guarantees reliable network connections and eliminates downtime by detecting any type of connection outage, and transparently directing traffic away from malfunctioning or unavailable links.
Distributes traffic to optimize the capacity of each connection by monitoring line throughput so that links do not become over-saturated.
Increases site performance. The Link Controller system measures and directs users over the best performing link to increase site response times.
Directs traffic over the least expensive link. Administrators can define the price of links and tiered pricing schemes. The BIG-IP Link Controller system can direct traffic to the least expensive connection, lowering bandwidth costs.
Controls traffic to match business priorities. Organizations can define traffic policies to direct traffic over specified connections.
With the Link Controller system, you can manage both inbound and outbound traffic over multiple links. You can distribute traffic based on performance, bandwidth cost, and bandwidth availability. The metrics you can specify are the limits on bandwidth usage, and the pricing structure of your purchased bandwidth. When you specify the limits and pricing metrics for your links, the Link Controller system then load balances the links based on those metrics.
Link Statistics
The Link Statistics screen, in the Configuration utility, displays information about the status, bandwidth usage, bandwidth limits, and bandwidth costs for each of the links managed by the Link Controller system.
For more information on link statistics, review Chapter 12, Viewing Statistics.
Transparent monitoring
Transparent monitoring provides the health status of the routers for the managed links.
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