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Release Note: BIG-IP WebAccelerator version 9.4.2
Release Note

Updated Date: 10/09/2007

Summary:

This release note documents the version 9.4.2 feature release of the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system. To review the features introduced in this release, see New features and fixes in this release. You can apply the software upgrade to version 9.4.0 and later, and you can migrate from version 5.2. For information about installing the software, refer to Installing the software.

Note: F5 offers both feature releases and maintenance releases. For more information about our release policies, see Description of the F5 Networks software version number format.

Contents:

- User documentation for this release
- Supported browsers
- Supported platforms
- Installing the software
     - Upgrading WebAccelerator system version 5.2 to BIG-IP WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2
     - Upgrading BIG-IP WebAccelerator system version 9.4 or version 9.4.1 to BIG-IP WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2
- New features and fixes in this release
     - New features in this release
     - Fixes in this release
- Features and fixes introduced in prior releases
     - Features introduced in version 9.4.1
     - Fixes introduced in version 9.4.1
     - Features introduced in version 9.4
     - Fixes introduced in version 9.4
- Known issues
- Workarounds for known issues
- Contacting F5 Networks


User documentation for this release

In addition to these release notes, the following user documentation is relevant to this release.

BIG-IP WebAccelerator system documentation

BIG-IP system documentation

Because the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system now runs on TMOS, the following documentation is also relevant to this release:

You can find the product documentation and the solutions database on the AskF5 Knowledge Base web site.


Supported browsers

The Configuration utility (graphical user interface) supports the following browsers:

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer®, version 6.x
  • Mozilla® Firefox®, version 1.5x and 2.0x

Important: Popup blockers and other browser add-ons or plug-ins may affect the usability of the Configuration utility. If you experience issues with navigation, we recommend that you disable these types of browser plug-ins and add-ons.

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Supported platforms

This release applies only to the supported platforms listed below; each platform provides all minimum system requirements.

  • BIG-IP 4500 (D43)
  • BIG-IP 6400 (D63)
  • BIG-IP 6800 (D68)
  • BIG-IP 8400 (D84)
  • BIG-IP 8800 (D88)

If you are unsure of which platform you have, look at the sticker on the back of the chassis to find the platform number.

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Installing the software

The installation instructions vary depending, on whether you are installing the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2 software onto a system that is running 9.4 or 9.4.1, or a system running version 5.2. Please refer to the installation section appropriate to your installation.

Important: You cannot install the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system, version 9.4.2, onto a CompactFlash® media drive; you must install it onto an HD1.1 or HD1.2.

Upgrading WebAccelerator system version 5.2 to BIG-IP WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2

Important: If you are performing an upgrade on a 4500 platform from version 5.2 to BIG-IP WebAccelerator version 9.4.2, you must contact F5 Networks Technical Support to obtain a new Base Registration Key. Do not attempt to perform an upgrade on a 4500 platform without first obtaining and installing the new Base Registration Key.

If you are running WebAccelerator system version 5.2 on a BIG-IP 4500 platform and want to upgrade to BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2, see Migrating from version 5.2 to version 9.4.2 on the WebAccelerator 4500 Platform. This document explains the tasks required for the upgrade.

Upgrading BIG-IP WebAccelerator system version 9.4 or version 9.4.1 to BIG-IP WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2

The installation of the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system is integrated with the BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager. Before you begin the installation process, you need to determine which installation option is appropriate: local, remote, or PXE server. For additional information about these options, see the Installation, Licensing, and Upgrades for BIG-IP® Systems guide, and the BIG-IP® Network and System Management Guide.

Important: If you are upgrading from BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System version 9.4 or 9.4.1 to version 9.4.2, you must change the HTTP profile for the virtual server from http to http-acceleration, in order to use the Hot Cache feature introduced in this release. For specific instructions about configuring an HTTP profile, see Chapter 3, Configuration and Maintenance in the Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System.

Important: You must perform the installation from the management interface (Management) on the BIG-IP system.

Important: If your configuration includes a redundant system, perform the installation first on the standby unit. If you are satisfied with the results, initiate failover and apply the upgrade to the other unit in the redundant system.

Performing a local installation

For a local upgrade, you copy an IM package onto the system you intend to upgrade. You can apply the version 9.4.2 upgrade to any system with a hard drive. For details about downloading the software and using this installation method, see Local Installation: Upgrading from BIG-IP software version 9.2.x, 9.3, 9.4, or 9.4.1 to BIG-IP software version 9.4.2.

Performing a remote installation

For a remote upgrade, you run the upgrade from a management workstation that is not directly connected to the system you intend to upgrade. For details about downloading the software and using this installation method, see Remote Installation: Upgrading from BIG-IP software version 9.2.x, 9.3, 9.4, or 9.4.1 to BIG-IP software version 9.4.2.

Performing a PXE server installation

If you do not plan to roll forward a configuration, you can perform a clean installation on the system. For details about downloading the software and using this installation method, see PXE Installation: Performing a clean installation of BIG-IP software version 9.4.2.

Supported .ucs files

The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system supports .ucs files from all version 9.4 releases.

For specific information about the initial configuration of the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system, see Chapter 3, Configuration and Maintenance in the Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System. All product documentation is located on the AskF5 Knowledge Base web site.

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New features and fixes in this release

This release includes the following new features and fixes.

New features in this release

This release includes the following new features.

Support for the 4500 platform
With this release, you can install BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2 on the 4500 platform. Customers currently running WebAccelerator version 5.2 can now upgrade their systems to take advantage of the features of the TMOS platform. This TMOS-based platform includes the following features:

  • Profile-based configuration
    Profiles are configuration tools that give you more granular control of features such as HTTP and SSL traffic management, and acceleration. You can use the default profiles that the BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager 9.X system provides, or you can customize them to suit your particular traffic-management needs.
  • iRules
    The iRules feature offers both an industry-standard command language (Tcl) and faster processing. You can configure the system to selectively trigger iRules based on specific events. You can use iRules to manage many different types of connections, such as TCP, HTTP, and SSL connections.
  • Resource cloaking
    You can use the iRules feature to remove sensitive server and application information, for example, server return-code errors and cloak server header information.
  • Denial of Service (DOS) and Dynamic DOS (DDOS) protection
    The TMOS platform offers unparalleled protection from DOS and DDOS attacks.
  • Extensive network configuration options
    The TMOS platform offers the following network configuration options:
    • VLANs and VLAN groups
    • Trunks and link aggregation

For more information about the listed TMOS features supported on the 4500 platform, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.

Content invalidation coherency feature
All BIG-IP® WebAccelerator version 9.4.2 systems deployed in a symmetrical configuration now share content invalidation information. For specific information about configuring a symmetrical deployment, see Chapter 3, Configuration and Maintenance in the Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAcceleratorSystem.

Updated Policy Editor
In this release, the Policy Editor has a new look and feel, and includes the following improvements.

  • Context-sensitive online help is integrated into the Policy Editor.
  • The Policy Editor screen no longer opens in a pop-up window.
  • User-defined acceleration policies and pre-defined acceleration policies display in separate tables, on the Policies screen.
  • The Request Type Hierarchy Tree is now referred to as the Policy Tree.
  • Policy Tree nodes are displayed in order of priority.
  • Caching rules are now called acceleration rules.
  • You display acceleration rules by selecting Acceleration Rules from the Matching Rules list, on the Policy Editor menu bar.
  • You view and modify user-defined acceleration policies and nodes on the Policy Tree by clicking the name of the user-defined acceleration policy or the node.
  • You publish user-defined acceleration policies by clicking the Publish link in the Tools column of the User-defined Acceleration Policies table.
  • You change logging options for user-defined acceleration policies by clicking the Logging link in the Tools column of the User-defined Acceleration Policies table.

New names for assembly rule options
The assembly rule's Express Loader option is now called Intelligent Browser Referencing, and the Express Connect option is now called MultiConnect. For more information about these features, see Chapter 8, Configuring Assembly Rules, in the Policy Management Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System.

Hot Cache
The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system now utilizes Hot Cache in conjunction with Smart Cache to quickly and efficiently serve dynamic and static content. The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system uses Hot Cache to store objects that do not require special assembly, and Smart Cache to store objects that do require special assembly processing, such as objects for which variation rules apply.

Symmetrical deployment
You can configure BIG-IP® WebAccelerator systems in an optional symmetric deployment, providing advanced bi-directional application acceleration for users on remote or mobile networks. Symmetric deployments are often used to create Enterprise Content Delivery Networks (ECDN) or to augment existing public Content Delivery Network deployments. For specific information about the configuring a symmetrical deployment, see Chapter 3, Configuration and Maintenance, in the Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System.

F5 Networks standard syslog support
The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator now supports F5 Network's best practices for syslog error logging, by managing system information and error messages using F5 Network's standard syslog functionality.

SNMP support
You can now use SNMP to monitor throughput, cache, queues, and processes on the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system. For specific information see Chapter 6, Monitoring with SNMP in the Administrator Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System.

Fixes in this release

This release includes the following fixes.

Performance reports for normalized documents (CR73085)
The performance report, Traffic Reports, now properly displays information for documents that the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system has normalized.

MultiConnect feature and HTML tags (CR76935)
When the MultiConnect feature is enabled for a variation rule, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system now correctly rewrites qualifying links.

Using Mozilla Firefox browser to modify user-defined acceleration policies in the Policy Editor (CR77744)
When accessing a user-defined acceleration policy in the Policy Editor using a Mozilla® Firefox® browser, the inheritance icon now correctly displays inheritance details and properly saves any changes you make to a node's inherited rules.

Changes to user-defined acceleration policies (CR80816)
When you make changes to an existing user-defined acceleration policy and publish it, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system now uses the newly configured acceleration rules.

Support for Microsoft Office Open XML MIME object types (CR83356)
BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2 supports Microsoft® Office® Open XML MIME object types. This support enables the WebAccelerator system to accelerate HTTP traffic for Microsoft® Office® applications.

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Features and fixes introduced in prior releases

The current release includes the features and fixes that were distributed in prior releases, as listed below. (Prior releases are listed with the most recent first.)

Features introduced in version 9.4.1

The 9.4.1 release included the following feature.

New Daylight Saving Time handling
The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was passed by the US Congress in August 2005, changed both the start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time in the United States, effective March 2007. Canada is also adopting this change. The resulting changes have been addressed in this version of the product software. To find out more about this issue, refer to Solution 6551: F5 Networks software compliance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Fixes introduced in version 9.4.1

The 9.4.1 release contained the following fixes.

SNAT Automap feature and redundant systems with accelerated virtual servers (CR73433)
On redundant systems that use the SNAT Automap feature, accelerated virtual servers no longer cause some client sessions to fail.

Accelerated resources and load balancing (CR75534)
When the system receives requests for accelerated resources, the system now performs load balancing on a per-request basis. Previously, the system performed load balancing on a per-connection basis.

System performance and memory allocation (CR78910)
In this release, we modified the parameters for the minObjectSizeForHds and newObjectCacheRatio objects to improve system performance.

Features introduced in version 9.4

The 9.4 release included the following features.

The 9.4 release introduced the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system for the BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager. The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system is designed to accelerate web applications by changing the web browser's behavior and interaction with the web application, and reducing traffic to the web application servers by compressing and caching dynamic and static content.

The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system also provides the following benefits.

Pre-defined policies
This BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system release includes the following pre-defined policies:

  • BEA AquaLogic (Plumtree® with Collaboration)
  • BEA AquaLogic (Plumtree® without Collaboration)
  • BEA WebLogic®
  • Hyperion® Financial Management
  • IBM® WebSphere®
  • IBM® Lotus Domino®
  • Microsoft® Internet Information Service (IIS)
  • Microsoft® Outlook® Web Access (OWA)
  • Microsoft® SharePoint® Services
  • Oracle® Applications 11i
  • Oracle® J.D. Edwards® ERP
  • Oracle® PeopleSoft®
  • Oracle® Portal
  • Oracle® Siebel CRM
  • SAP® Portal
  • Symmetric Deployment
  • Level 1 Delivery
  • Level 2 Delivery

Browser behavior control
Without requiring changes to the browser, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system ensures that users do not download duplicate content.

Content acceleration
The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system provides content acceleration by:

  • Opening additional simultaneous browser connections
  • Rapidly displaying PDF documents
  • Accelerating dynamic content
  • Using software compression for web applications
  • Using dynamic and static caching for web applications

Reports and logs
The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system provides:

  • Comprehensive graphs
  • Alerting capability
  • Unified logging for web application hits

Fixes introduced in version 9.4

The 9.4 release contained no release-specific fixes.

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Known issues

The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system version 9.4.2 release contains the following known issues.

Modifying settings for the http-acceleration profile (CR76031)
If you make changes to the http-acceleration profile settings, Minimum Object Size, Maximum Object Size, URI Caching, and Ignore Headers, it will adversely affect the way the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system manages HTTP traffic for your site. You should not modify these settings.

Support for Basic and Digest Authentication scheme (CR80537)
The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system does not currently support the Basic and Digest Access Authentication schemes. To ensure that clients receive properly-authenticated content, enable the proxying rule option, , for the acceleration policy that is assigned to the application using Basic and Digest Access Authentication schemes. See Enabling the always proxy option, in the Workarounds for known issues section.

Synchronizing configuration changes to BIG-IP WebAccelerator systems in a symmetrical deployment (CR80763)
If the comm_srv system process is down on a BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system in a symmetrical deployment, and you make changes to other BIG-IP® WebAccelerator systems in the symmetrical deployment, the configuration changes may not synchronize properly.

Using the Local Traffic Manager's http monitor to report the status of an origin web server in a symmetrical deployment (CR80878)
In a symmetrical deployment of BIG-IP® WebAccelerator systems, a BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager http monitor on the remote WebAccelerator system does not properly report the status of the origin web server located behind the central WebAccelerator system. To work around this issue, monitor the status of the origin web server, through the BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager’s http monitor, only on the central WebAccelerator system. For more information about configuring and using http monitors, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.

Applications for remote BIG-IP WebAccelerator systems in a symmetrical deployment (CR81082)
If you add a new application to a BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system that is a member of a symmetrical deployment, you must assign to the new application both a remote and a local acceleration policy, which are configured for symmetrical deployment. If you do not assign the remote and local symmetrical deployment acceleration policies to the application, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system returns an HTTP 403 Forbidden error to clients requesting the new application.

Using destination hosts for WebAccelerator systems in a symmetrical deployment (CR81083)
Destination hosts are not supported for BIG-IP® WebAccelerator systems in symmetrical deployments. To use destination hosts, you must configure pools through the BIG-IP®Local Traffic Manager. For information about configuring pools, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.

Unmapped host processing in a symmetrical deployment (CR81084)
When configured in a symmetrical deployment, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system does not properly process requests for unmapped hosts.

Synchronizing changes to a user-defined acceleration policy for WebAccelerator systems in a symmetrical deployment (CR81333)
If you modify a user-defined acceleration policy on a BIG-IP® WebAccelerator systems in a symmetrical deployment, and you do not publish the policy before you synchronize the configuration, your changes may be lost. To avoid losing configuration changes to user-defined acceleration policies, always publish the policy you changed before you synchronize the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator systems in a symmetrical deployment.

Hit logs for normalized documents (CR81698)
The hit log does not currently report statistics for documents on which the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system has performed URL normalization.

HTTP logging report for content served from Hot Cache (CR81829)
The logging feature does not currently report requests that the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system has served from Hot Cache (previously known as RAM Cache).

Invalidating content for a specific application (CR84569)
If you invalidate content for a specific application, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system invalidates the Hot Cache for all applications.

Removing an http class profile from a virtual server (CR85606)
If you remove an http class profile from the BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager's virtual server's resources, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system may continue to accelerate traffic. To resolve this issue, restart the pvac service using the bigstart restart pvac command. Traffic flow may momentarily halt while the service restarts.

Changing a source definition value for parameter value substitutions in an assembly rule (CR85721)
If you change a configured path segment, query parameter, or unnamed query parameter source definition on a root node for an assembly rule, and then attempt to save the change, the value reverts to the originally configured value. To resolve this issue, delete the source definition that you want to change, and add it back to the assembly rule with the new value.

Specifying a value for the Content Type parameter in a matching or invalidations rule (CR85777)
When configuring the Content Type parameter for a matching or invalidations rule, you must type a regular expression in the form of a single line into the Value(s) text box. The BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system cannot properly process traffic for the rule if the regular expression value for the parameter contains a line break. To configure multiple Content Type parameters for a rule, specify the values in the form of a regular expression on a single line the same way you do for other rule parameters.

Lifetime for static objects in pre-defined acceleration policies (CR85808)
The default lifetime rule options for some pre-defined acceleration policies may prompt the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system to use the http-acceleration profile's RAM cache Maximum Age setting. To ensure that clients are receiving the most current data for cached static objects, change the http-acceleration profile's RAM cache Maximum Age setting to 60 seconds. See Configuring the Maximum Age setting for RAM cache, in the Workarounds for known issues section.

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Workarounds for known issues

The following section describes the workarounds for the corresponding known issue listed in the previous section.

Configuring the always proxy option (CR80537)

If you are using Basic and Digest Access Authentication schemes for certain applications, you must enable the always proxy feature for the user-defined acceleration policy assigned to those applications. For information about the known issue, see Support for Basic and Digest Authentication scheme.

Enabling the always proxy option

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand WebAccelerator and click Applications.
    The Applications screen opens in a new window.
  2. On the Main tab of the navigation pane in the new window, click Policies.
    The Policies screen opens, displaying a table of user-defined and pre-defined acceleration policies.
  3. On the User-defined Acceleration Policies table, click the name of the acceleration policy that you want to edit.
    The Policy Editor screen opens.
  4. On the Policy Tree, click the node for which you want to enable the always proxy option.
  5. From the Matching Rules list on the Policy Editor menu bar, select Acceleration Rules.
    The acceleration rules display on the Policy Editor menu bar.
  6. On the Policy Editor menu bar, click Proxying.
    The Proxying rules screen opens.
  7. In the Proxying Options section, click the button next to Always proxy requests for this node.
  8. Click the Save button.

For the new policy to be in effect for your site, you must publish it. For more information, see Chapter 3, Using Acceleration Policies, in the Policy Management Guide for the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator System. Once you publish the acceleration policy, the BIG-IP® WebAccelerator system sends all matched requests to the origin server for content.

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Configuring the Maximum Age setting for RAM cache (CR85808)

If you are using a pre-defined acceleration policy, you must change the Maximum Age setting for RAM cache to 60 seconds to ensure that clients are receiving the most current data for cached static objects. For information about the known issue, see Lifetime for static objects in pre-defined acceleration policies.

Changing the Maximum Age setting for RAM cache to 60 seconds

  1. On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Local Traffic and click Profiles.
    The Profiles screen opens.
  2. On the table, click http-acceleration.
    The http-acceleration profile screen opens.
  3. In the RAM Cache section, check the Maximum Age check box.
  4. In the Maximum Age box, type 60.
  5. Click the Update button.
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Contacting F5 Networks

  Phone: (206) 272-6888
Fax: (206) 272-6802
Web: http://support.f5.com
Email: support@f5.com

For additional information, please visit http://www.f5.com


Copyright © 2007, F5 Networks, Inc., Seattle, Washington.  All rights reserved. 
F5, F5 Networks, the F5 logo, BIG-IP, 3-DNS, iControl, Internet Control Architecture, IP Application Switch, iRules, OneConnect, Packet Velocity, SYN Check, Control Your World, ZoneRunner, uRoam, FirePass, TrafficShield, Swan, WANJet, WebAccelerator, and TMOS are registered trademarks or trademarks, and AskF5 is a service mark, of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and certain other countries. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners. F5 Networks' trademarks may not be used in connection with any product or service except as permitted in writing by F5.
This product protected by U.S. Patents 6,505,230; 6,640,240; 6,772,203; 6,970, 933; 7,113,962; and 7,114,180. Other patents pending.

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