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Manual Chapter: Policy Management Guide for the BIG-IP WebAccelerator Module: 3 - Managing Acceleration Policies
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3

Managing Acceleration Policies


Viewing and modifying acceleration policies

You manage all acceleration policies using the Policies screen. From the Policies screen, you can perform the following tasks:

  • Select an acceleration policy to view.
  • Rename an acceleration policy.
  • Delete an acceleration policy.
  • Create or modify a user-defined acceleration policy.
    For more information, see Using the Policy Editor .

You can modify and delete, or rename user-defined acceleration policies at any time, however, you cannot modify pre-defined acceleration policies.

Warning

Do not delete an acceleration policy unless you are sure that you do not ever want to refer to it again. If you delete an acceleration policy, you cannot recover it. You can keep an acceleration policy to refer to, even if you do not have an application that is using it.

To view an acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click View next to an acceleration policy.
    The Policy Editor screen opens.

To rename an acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click Rename next to the acceleration policy that you want to rename.
    The Rename Policy screen opens.
  3. In the Name box, type a new name for the acceleration policy.
  4. In the Description box, type an optional description.
  5. Click the Rename button to save the changes.
    The Policies screen opens with the new name listed for the acceleration policy you renamed.

To delete an acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click the Delete next to the acceleration policy that you want to delete.
    A dialog box opens and prompts you to confirm that you want to delete this acceleration policy. You cannot recover a deleted acceleration policy.
  3. Click the OK button to delete the acceleration policy, or click Cancel to cancel the action.
    The Policies screen opens and displays the acceleration policy list without the acceleration policy you deleted.

Using the Policy Editor

You use the Policy Editor to view pre-defined and user-defined acceleration policies or to create or edit user-defined acceleration policies.

From the Policy Editor screen, you can:

  • View the specific rules associated with a pre-defined acceleration policy.
  • Modify the rules for a user-defined acceleration policy.
  • Create a user-defined acceleration policy.

To access the Policy Editor screen

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click View or Edit next to an existing acceleration policy.
    Or, to create a user-defined acceleration policy, click Copy or the the New Policy button.
    The Policy Editor screen opens.

Figure 3.3 Policy Editor screen example

There are three main parts to the Policy Editor screen:

  • Function menu bar
    Located at top left of the Policy Editor screen, next to the F5 logo, this menu bar provides access to the following screens:
    • Policies
      Where you view and change individual nodes and acceleration policies, using the Policy Editor.
    • Log Format
      Where you can specify different log formats. For more information, see Chapter 14 .
    • Publish
      Where you publish acceleration policies for the WebAccelerator system to use for processing applications. For more information, see Publishing acceleration policies .
  • Request Type Hierarchy tree
    Located on the left side of the Policy Editor. Each node in the Request Type Hierarchy tree represents matching and caching rules. The Request Type Hierarchy tree includes the following menu options:
    • Add
      Use this option to add a new node.
    • Edit
      Use this option to edit a node's name and description.
    • Delete
      Use this option to delete a node.
    • Copy
      Use this option to copy a node.
    • Up, Down
      Use this option (available only when nodes are displayed by priority) to change a node's priority. Note that you can change a priority only within a branch of the tree.
    • For more information, see Chapter 4, Introducing the Request Type Hierarchy Tree .

  • Acceleration policy menu bar
    Located in the center of the Policy Editor screen, this menu bar provides access to the following screens:
    • Matching
      For more information, see Chapter 6 .
    • Variation
      For more information, see Chapter 7 .
    • Assembly
      For more information, see Chapter 8 .
    • Proxying
      For more information, see Chapter 9 .
    • Lifetime
      For more information, see Chapter 10 .
    • Invalidations
      For more information, see Chapter 11 .
    • Connections
      For more information, see Chapter 12 .
    • Responses Cached
      For more information, see Chapter 13 .

Customizing the WebAccelerator system's behavior

In most cases, you can use a pre-defined acceleration policy to manage HTTP requests. If, however, you have a unique application for which you cannot use an existing acceleration policy, you can create a new acceleration policy by using an existing acceleration policy as a template and tailoring it to suit your needs. To do this, you copy an acceleration policy and modify the associated matching and caching rules to meet your specific application requirements.

The first step in customizing the WebAccelerator system's behavior is to analyze the types of HTTP requests your site receives, and determine how you want the WebAccelerator system to handle them. Answering questions similar to those following will help you decide how many different acceleration policies you need.

  • Which responses to requests can the WebAccelerator system cache?
  • Are there responses to requests that the WebAccelerator system should never cache?
  • Which responses are static documents that can remain in the WebAccelerator system's cache for several days, and which responses are dynamic documents that the WebAccelerator system should refresh hourly?

Once you decide on the different ways the WebAccelerator system should handle requests and responses, you need to determine how the WebAccelerator system can differentiate between requests, so that it can apply the appropriate acceleration policies.

For example, the path found on requests for static documents may be different than the path for dynamic documents. Or the paths may be similar, but the static documents are in PDF format and the dynamic documents are Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. These differences help you choose or create the acceleration policies and associated matching rules that the WebAccelerator system applies to an incoming HTTP request.

Depending on how your site works, information in requests can sometimes imply one type of response (such as a file extension of .jsp), when the actual response is a bit different (like a simple document). The WebAccelerator system applies matching rules twice: once to the request and a second time to the response. This means that the WebAccelerator system can match a request and a response to different caching rules, but it ensures that the response is matched to the acceleration policies that are best suited to it.

Creating user-defined acceleration policies

If you have an unique application for which you cannot use a pre-defined acceleration policy, you can create a new acceleration policy, or you can copy and modify an existing acceleration policy to fit your needs.

When you create or copy an acceleration policy, the WebAccelerator system maintains that acceleration policy as a development copy until you publish it, at which time the WebAccelerator system creates a production copy. Acceleration policies that you copy or create are not available to applications until you publish them. This allows you to edit the development copy of the acceleration policy for a published application profile, while the WebAccelerator system continues to use the production copy of the acceleration policy. In this way, you can make as many changes as you like, and not affect the current applications. Once you publish the new acceleration policy, the WebAccelerator system propagates the changes to the production acceleration policy profile and begins using it to handle requests.

For specific information how to edit nodes for caching and matching rules, see Modifying nodes in the Request Type Hierarchy tree , located in Chapter 4.

Important

Before you copy and edit an acceleration policy, you must understand the rules of inheritance for the Request Tree Hierarchy, as described in Understanding hierarchy inheritance , located in Chapter 4.

To create a user-defined acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click the New Policy button located at the bottom of the screen.
    The New Policy screen opens.
  3. In the Name box, type a name for the copy of the acceleration policy. Make the name descriptive so you can easily identify this acceleration policy when viewing the acceleration policy list.
  4. In the Description box, type an optional description.
  5. Click the Create button.
    The Policies screen opens with the acceleration policy that you created.
  6. Click Edit next to the acceleration policy you created.
    The Policy Editor screen opens.
  7. Create the Request Type Hierarchy tree and associated rules, as required.

See Chapter 4, Introducing the Request Type Hierarchy Tree for details about how to create a Request Type Hierarchy tree.

To copy and modify an existing acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click Copy next to the acceleration policy that you want to copy.
    The Copy Policy screen opens.
  3. In the Name box, type a name for the copy of the acceleration policy. Make the name descriptive so you can easily identify this acceleration policy when viewing the acceleration policy list.
  4. In the Description box, type an optional description.
  5. Click the Copy button.
    The Policies screen display with the acceleration policy that you copied. The acceleration policy contains a copy of the matching and caching rules from the original acceleration policy.
  6. Click Edit next to the acceleration policy you copied.
    The Policy Editor screen opens.
  7. Edit the acceleration policy's matching and caching rules as required.

Publishing acceleration policies

You must first publish an acceleration policy before you can assign an application to it.

To publish an acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click Edit next to the acceleration policy that you want to publish.
    The Policy Editor screen opens.
  3. From the function bar (located at top left of the Policy Editor screen, next to the F5 logo), click Publish.
    The Publish screen opens.
  4. In the comment box, type an optional comment.
  5. Click the Publish button.
    The published information displays with the published policy, the date published, and the build number.

Exporting and importing acceleration policies

You can use the export feature to save your current acceleration policies to an XML file for back up and archival, or to provide to the F5 Networks Technical Support team for troubleshooting issues. It is important to use the export feature every time you change an acceleration policy.

Once you export an acceleration policy and save the XML file, you can import it, using the import feature. When you import an acceleration policy, you also publish it.

To export an acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a list of acceleration policies.
  2. Click Export next to the acceleration policy that you want to export.
    The Export Policy screen opens.
  3. From the Export list, select one of the following:
    • Published Policies
      Exports the published acceleration policy that your applications are currently using.
    • Development Policies
      Exports the unpublished development acceleration policy.
  4. Click the Export button.
    A File Download dialog box opens.
  5. Click the Save button to save the XML export file to your desktop.

To import an acceleration policy

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, click Policies.
    The list of acceleration policies display.
  2. Click the Import Policies button, at the bottom of the screen.
    The Import Policies screen opens.
  3. Click the Browse button to browse and locate the XML file you want to import.
  4. If you do not want to replace an existing acceleration policy, clear the Overwrite existing policy of the same name box. You can rename the acceleration policy after you have imported it.
  5. If you want to replace an existing acceleration policy with the imported acceleration policy with the same name, check the box for Overwrite existing policy of the same name.




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