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Manual Chapter: Accelerating HTTP Traffic Using HTTP Compression and Web Acceleration
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Overview: Accelerating HTTP traffic with an asymmetric WebAccelerator module

Operating asymmetrically, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator™ module caches objects from origin web servers and delivers them directly to clients. The WebAccelerator module handles both static content and dynamic content, by processing HTTP responses, including objects referenced in the response, and then sending the included objects as a single object to the browser. This form of caching reduces server TCP and application processing, improves web page loading time, and reduces the need to regularly expand the number of web servers required to service an application.

Task summary for accelerating HTTP traffic with an asymmetric WebAccelerator module

Perform these tasks to accelerate HTTP traffic with an asymmetric BIG-IP® WebAccelerator™ module.

Defining an NTP server

Network Time Protocol (NTP) synchronizes the clocks on a network by means of a defined NTP server.
  1. On the Main tab, click System > Configuration > Device > NTP. The NTP Device configuration screen opens.
  2. In the Time Server Lookup List area, in the Address field, type the IP address of the NTP that you want to add. Then, click Add.
    Note: If you did not disable DHCP before the first boot of the BIG-IP system, and if the DHCP server provides the information about your NTP server, then this field is automatically populated.
  3. Click Update.
The NTP server is defined.

WebAccelerator policies options

When configuring policies in a WebAccelerator™ application, you can do one or more of the following tasks.

Predefined Policies

  • Use a predefined policy. Predefined policies are available when you configure a WebAccelerator application. You do not need to create them.

User-Defined Policies

  • Create and use a user-defined policy by copying a predefined policy.
  • Create and use a new user-defined policy

Creating a user-defined acceleration policy from a predefined acceleration policy

You can copy a predefined acceleration policy, and modify applicable nodes, matching rules, and acceleration rules, to create a user-defined acceleration policy.
  1. On the Main tab, click WebAccelerator > Policies. The Policies screen displays a list of existing acceleration policies.
  2. In the Tools column, click Copy for the predefined acceleration policy you want to copy.
  3. Name the policy.
  4. In the Description field, type a description.
  5. Click Copy.
  6. Click the name of the new user-defined acceleration policy.
  7. Create, delete, or modify nodes, matching rules, and acceleration rules, as necessary.
  8. Publish the acceleration policy.
    1. Click Publish.
    2. In the Comment field, type a description.
    3. Click Publish Now.
The user-defined acceleration policy appears in the Policy column.

Creating a new user-defined acceleration policy

You can create a new user-defined acceleration policy and define each matching rule and acceleration rule individually.
  1. On the Main tab, click WebAccelerator > Policies. The Policies screen displays a list of existing acceleration policies.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Name the policy.
  4. In the Description field, type a description.
  5. Click Create.
  6. Click the name of the new user-defined acceleration policy.
  7. Create the Policy Tree by defining branch nodes for groups of content, and leaf nodes for specific content.
  8. Specify the matching and acceleration rules for each node.
  9. Click Exit Policy Editor.
The acceleration policy appears in the Policy column.

Creating an application profile for an asymmetric WebAccelerator system

An application profile provides the key information that the WebAccelerator™ system needs to appropriately handle requests to your site's web applications.
  1. On the Main tab, click WebAccelerator > Applications. The Applications List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Name the application.
  4. In the Description field, type a description.
  5. From the Policy list, select a policy.
  6. In the Requested Host field, type each domain name (host name) that might appear in HTTP requests for your web application. The specified domain names are defined in the host map for the application profile.
  7. Click Save.
The application profile appears in the Application column on the Applications List screen.

Enabling the WebAccelerator module with the Web Acceleration profile

A BIG-IP® WebAccelerator™ module application must be available.
The Web Acceleration profile enables the WebAccelerator module by using Acceleration Manager applications that run on a virtual server.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > Web Acceleration. The Web Acceleration profile list screen opens.
  2. Click the name of a profile.
  3. Select the Custom check box.
  4. For the WA Applications setting, select an application in the Available list and click Enable. The WebAccelerator module application is listed in the Enabled list.
  5. Click Update.
The WebAccelerator module is enabled through the WebAccelerator module application in the Web Acceleration profile.

Creating a pool to process HTTP traffic

You can create a pool of web servers to process HTTP requests.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Pools. The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. For the Health Monitors setting, from the Available list, select the http monitor, and click << to move the monitor to the Active list.
  5. From the Load Balancing Method list, select how the system distributes traffic to members of this pool. The default is Round Robin.
  6. For the Priority Group Activation setting, specify how to handle priority groups:
    • Select Disabled to disable priority groups. This is the default option.
    • Select Less than, and in the Available Members field type the minimum number of members that must remain available in each priority group in order for traffic to remain confined to that group.
  7. Using the New Members setting, add each resource that you want to include in the pool:
    1. Type an IP address in the Address field, or select a node address from the Node List.
    2. Type 80 in the Service Port field, or select HTTP from the list.
    3. (Optional) Type a priority number in the Priority field.
    4. Click Add.
  8. Click Finished.
The new pool appears in the Pools list.

Creating a customized HTTP compression profile

If you need to adjust the compression settings to optimize compression for your environment, you can create a customized HTTP compression profile.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > HTTP Compression. The HTTP Compression profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New HTTP Compression profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select one of the following profiles:
    • httpcompression.
    • wan-optimized-compression.
  5. Select the Custom check box.
  6. Modify the settings, as required.
  7. Click Finished.
The custom HTTP compression profile appears in the HTTP Compression list screen.

Creating a customized Web Acceleration profile

If you need to adjust the Web Acceleration profile settings to optimize caching for your environment, you can create a customized Web Acceleration profile.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > Web Acceleration. The Web Acceleration profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Web Acceleration Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. Select webacceleration in the Parent Profile list.
  5. Select the Custom check box.
  6. Modify the settings, as necessary.
  7. For the WA Applications setting, select an application in the Available list and click Enable. The WebAccelerator module application is listed in the Enabled list.
  8. Click Finished.
The custom Web Acceleration profile appears in the Web Acceleration list screen.

Creating a virtual server for HTTP compression and web acceleration

You can create a virtual server that uses an HTTP profile with an HTTP compression profile and Web Acceleration profile to classify and accelerate HTTP traffic for applications that are running on the virtual server.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers. The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button. The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. For the Destination setting, in the Address field, type the IP address you want to use for the virtual server. The IP address you type must be available and not in the loopback network.
  5. In the Service Port field, type 80, or select HTTP from the list.
  6. Select http in the HTTP Profile list.
  7. From the HTTP Compression Profile list, select one of the following profiles:
    • httpcompression
    • wan-optimized-compression
    • A customized profile
  8. From the Web Acceleration Profile list, select one of the following profiles with an enabled WebAccelerator™ module application:
    • optimized-acceleration
    • optimized-caching
    • webacceleration
    • A customized profile
  9. In the Resources area of the screen, from the Default Pool list, select a pool name.
  10. Click Finished.
The virtual server with an HTTP profile configured with an HTTP compression and web acceleration profile appears in the Virtual Server list.

Verifying an application profile

Verifying an application profile requires a personal computer (PC) that can run a web browser.
You must verify that the WebAccelerator™ system is able to properly send data to and receive data from the origin web servers.
  1. On a PC, open the hosts file to edit.
  2. Add the host name that you used to access the web site application. The host name must point to the IP address for the virtual server that you configured.
    Note: On Microsoft® Windows® 2000 and Windows® XP machines, the hosts file is located at: C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.
    For example, if you can access the web site at the www.siterequest.com domain, and the virtual server is at IP address 11.1.11.3, add the following line to the hosts file on the machine running the browser: 11.1.11.3 www.siterequest.com All network traffic from the web browser machine for the web site application subsequently goes to the virtual server.
  3. Request a page from the web site application. For example, if you configured www.siterequest.com, request a page from www.siterequest.com.
    • If the browser times out the request, then the WebAccelerator system is not running, or the firewall is blocking access to port 80 on the WebAccelerator system.
    • If you receive an Access denied by intermediary error:
      • Verify that the hosts file is correct.
      • Verify that the host map for the application profile is correct.
      • Verify that you used a domain in the request that matches a requested host in the host map, and that it maps to the destination host.
    The page appears directly from the origin web servers.
  4. Remove any entries that you changed or added, once you verify the application profile and the host mapping.
The WebAccelerator system is verified to properly send data to and receive data from the origin web servers.

Implementation result

The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator™ module is configured asymmetrically to accelerate HTTP traffic.

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