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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:
Add a pool that will contain the virtual servers to which the Link Controller will load balance inbound traffic.
Add virtual servers that represent the resources to which the Link Controller will load balance inbound traffic.
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 be unable to manage traffic.
Note: 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.
The main pools screen appears.
2.
Click the Create button.
The create pool screen appears.
3.
In the Name box, type the name of the pool.
We recommend you use a name such as default_gateway_pool.
5.
Configure additional options for the pool as needed.
Additional options for pools are displayed 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.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Network and then click Routes.
The main routes screen opens.
2.
Click the Add button.
The add route page opens.
3.
From the Type list, select Default Gateway.
4.
From the Resource list, select Use Pool.
A list appears, allowing you to select the pool of links.
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.
The main link screen opens.
2.
Click the Create button.
The New Link screen opens.
3.
In the Name box, type a name for the link.
4.
In the Router Address box, type the IP address to associate with the link.
5.
In the Uplink Address box, type the IP address to associate with the Internet Service Provider to which outgoing traffic is sent.
6.
In the Service Provider box, type the name of the Internet Service Provider.
a)
Click the name of the monitor from the Available list within the Health Monitors area.
b)
Then, use the Move [<<] button to add the monitor to the Active 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 listens on an IP address on which the system intercepts traffic. Listening is a process in which a component, such 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 listens 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.
The listener main screen opens.
2.
Click the Create button.
The New Listener screen opens.
3.
In the Destination box, type the IP address on which the Link Controller will 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.
The main pools screen opens.
2.
Click the Create button.
The New Pool screen opens.
3.
From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
This displays additional fields, and allows you to modify additional default settings.
4.
In the Name box, type a name for the pool.
5.
Specify, retain, or change each of the other settings.
For information on pool settings, see Configuring pool settings, or 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 adding 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.
The main screen for virtual servers appears.
2.
Click the Create button.
The New Virtual Server screen opens.
3.
In the Name box, type the name of the virtual server.
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.
The main wide IP screen opens.
2.
Click the Create button.
The New Wide IP screen opens.
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.
From the Load Balancing section, 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 section, 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 steps outline 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.
The main SNAT screen opens.
2.
Click the Create button.
The New SNAT screen opens.
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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