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Manual Chapter: Introducing the WebAccelerator system
Manual Chapter
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F5 Networks BIG-IP® system is a port-based, multi-layer 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 multi-layer 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 Layers 4 through 7.
The following software modules provide comprehensive traffic management and security for all traffic types. The modules are fully integrated to provide efficient solutions to meet any network, traffic management, and security needs.
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
The BIG-IP® system includes local traffic management features that help you make the most of network resources such as web servers. Using the powerful Configuration utility, you can customize the way that the BIG-IP system processes specific types of protocol and application traffic. By using features such as virtual servers, server pools, profiles, and iRulesTM, you ensure that traffic passing through the BIG-IP system is processed quickly and efficiently, while meeting all of your security needs. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.
BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager
The BIG-IP® Global Traffic Manager provides intelligent traffic management to your globally available network resources. Through the Global Traffic Manager, you can select from an array of load balancing modes, ensuring that your clients access the most responsive and robust resources at any given time. In addition, the Global Traffic Manager provides extensive monitoring capabilities so the health of any given resource is always available. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Global Traffic Management.
BIG-IP Link Controller
The BIG-IP® Link Controller seamlessly monitors availability and performance of multiple WAN connections to intelligently manage bi-directional traffic flows to a site, providing fault tolerant, optimized Internet access regardless of connection type or provider. The Link Controller ensures that traffic is always sent over the best available link to maximize user performance and minimize bandwidth cost to a data center. For more information, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Link Controller.
The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system is designed to increase the performance of web applications (such as Microsoft® Sharepoint, Microsoft® Outlook Web Access, BEA AquaLogic®, SAP® Portal, Oracle® Siebel CRM, Oracle® Portal, and others), by modifying the web browser's behavior and interaction with the web application, as well as by compressing and caching dynamic and static content to reduce traffic to the web application servers.
Once installed and configured, the WebAccelerator system provides seamless browser behavior control and content acceleration to your site through the following features.
PDF linearization rapidly displays PDF documents dynamically, based on the information the user needs.
Dynamic content control accelerates access to dynamic content by downloading only the data that is dynamic and unique.
In addition to these features, you can easily monitor your WebAccelerator system through comprehensive reports that include:
Using these monitoring tools, you can customize acceleration policies as required in order to best manage requests to your applications.
The Configuration utility is the browser-based graphical user interface that provides you access to the WebAccelerator systems configuration options, as well as the configuration options for the network, system, and local traffic. From the Help tab, you can access context-sensitive online help for each screen.
Figure1.1 shows the Welcome screen for the Configuration utility.
For the most current list of the supported browsers for the Configuration utility, refer to the current release note at
Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAcceleratorTM System
Describes the core product concepts and provides the procedures for configuring and monitoring the WebAccelerator system.
Policy Management Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAcceleratorTM System
Provides information about creating and editing policies to tailor the WebAccelerator system for optimal performance.
Platform Guide: WebAcceleratorTM 4500
Provides information about the hardware specifications, environmental guidelines, and installation tasks required for the WebAccelerator 4500 platform.
WebAcceleratorTM 4500 Platform Quick Start Instructions
Provides basic instructions for set up and initial configuration of the WebAccelerator 4500 platform.
Release notes
Provide information about new features, fixes, known issues, and workarounds.
Online help
Provides information about the user interface.
This guide describes the administrative concepts and procedures for configuring the WebAccelerator system. The intended audience for this guide is the IT or operations professional, who is responsible for configuring and providing the ongoing management of the WebAccelerator system.
To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, this documentation uses the following stylistic conventions.
All examples in this documentation use only private 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 IP addresses.
Most sites are built on a collection of web servers, application servers, and database servers that we refer to collectively as origin web servers.
We refer to all products in the BIG-IP product family as BIG-IP systems. We refer to the software modules by their name; for example, we refer to the WebAccelerator module simply as the WebAccelerator system. If configuration information relates to a specific hardware platform, we note the platform.
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, most controls in the Configuration utility, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords.
If the WebAccelerator system can map multiple requested host names to a request, it chooses the host name that most closely matches the request. Consider the following defined host names:
A request to is mapped to, not to *
A request to maps to
Requests to and both map to *
A request to maps to *
We use italic text to denote a reference to a specific section, or 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 local traffic virtual servers in the Configuring Virtual Servers chapter of the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.
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.
You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type your name.
Syntax inside the brackets is optional.
Indicates that you can type a series of items.
Finding help and technical support resources
You can find technical documentation and product information using the following resources:
Welcome screen in the Configuration utility
The Welcome screen in the Configuration utility contains links to many useful web sites and resources, including:
For more information about the Configuration utility, see Using the Configuration utility.
F5 Networks Technical Support web site
The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest documentation set for the product, including:
The AskF5SM Knowledge Base
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