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Manual Chapter: Optimized Applications
Manual Chapter
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About optimized applications for WAN Optimization

An optimized application in the WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) context is a virtual server with which the BIG-IP® system associates an iSession™ profile and other relevant WAN optimization profiles. WAN optimization on the BIG-IP system requires an optimized application on the initiating side of the WAN and an iSession listener (iSession-terminating virtual server) on the receiving side of the WAN to complete the connection for all application traffic.

For some types of application traffic, such as CIFS and FTP, the system also requires an application-specific virtual server (also listed as an optimized application) on the receiving side. After the iSession listener terminates the connection, BIG-IP WOM directs the traffic to this virtual server for additional handling. Being able to create more than one virtual server for an application on the receiving side allows you to apply different profiles to selected application traffic that has different destinations.

For each application you select on the Quick Start screen, BIG-IP WOM automatically configures an optimized application. In addition, you can customize the system-supplied optimized applications and manually create new ones to specify where and how you want BIG-IP WOM to optimize specified application traffic.

About iSession profiles

The iSession™ profile tells the system how to optimize traffic. WAN optimization requires an iSession profile at both ends of the iSession connection. WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) includes the parent iSession profile isession, which is appropriate for all application traffic, and other iSession profiles that have been pre-configured for specific applications. The name of each pre-configured iSession profile indicates the application for which it was configured, such as isession-cifs.

When you configure optimized applications on the Quick Start screen, the system automatically associates an iSession profile with every virtual server it creates for the selected optimized applications. The system also associates the system-supplied iSession profile isession with the iSession listener isession-virtual it creates for inbound traffic.

You must associate an iSession profile with any virtual server you create for a custom optimized application for outbound traffic, and with any iSession listener you create for inbound traffic.

Customizing compression settings for iSession traffic

In certain circumstances, you may want to change the symmetric compression settings for application traffic you specify. The compression settings are in the iSession™ profile. Instead of changing the parent profile named isession, create a custom iSession profile, and give it a descriptive name.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > iSession. The iSession profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New iSession Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the profile. Names must begin with a letter, and can contain only letters, numbers, and the underscore (_) character.
  4. In the Compression Settings area, select the Custom check box. The settings in the area become available for configuring.
  5. Select the Custom check box. The fields in the Settings area become available for configuring.
  6. Enable compression and select at least one compression method. To establish and maintain a connection, at least one compression option must be the same on both BIG-IP WOM® devices.
    Option Description
    Compression This option activates the compression feature, according to the method or methods you choose.
    Deflate This high quality compression algorithm is typically slower than LZO, unless the system platform supports hardware acceleration. If you enable Deflate and disable Adaptive, you can also select the Deflate Level.
    LZO The Lempel_Ziv_Oberhumer algorithm is best for interactive protocols (such as telnet) or high-bandwidth protocols that compress easily (such as those used for data replication).
    Bzip2 The bzip2 data compression algorithm improves compression ratios on low-bandwidth data links.
    Adaptive This option chooses the best algorithm for current traffic from among those that are enabled, and changes as traffic conditions change. If it selects Deflate, it also selects an optimum Deflate Level.
    Deduplication This option tells the system to use symmetric data deduplication.
    Note: For deduplication to take place, the iSession listener that receives this traffic must have associated with it an iSession profile that also has this setting enabled.
  7. Click Finished.
When you have finished, the custom iSession profile appears on the iSession list screen.
For this profile to take effect, you must associate it with a virtual server for outbound traffic to the WAN.

Screen capture showing compression settings

The following screen capture shows the pertinent compression settings.
Note: If adaptive compression is disabled, you must manually select a compression codec for iSession™ traffic. If you leave the other codecs enabled, the BIG-IP® WOM® system selects the bzip2 compression algorithm by default, and that might not be the algorithm you want.
iSession profile screen with compression settings emphasized

About optimization of SSL applications

To handle SLL encrypted traffic all the way from the request initiator (client) to the receiver (server), include the following settings when you configure the optimized application virtual servers.

  • To decrypt the original traffic, add a client SSL profile to the optimized application virtual server.
  • Encryption of the iSession connection itself is based on the configuration of the endpoints and the Application Data Encryption setting in the selected iSession profile, unless you are using IPsec encapsulation. If you selected IPsec for the IP Encapsulation Type, the IPsec policy you selected determines encryption.
  • To re-encrypt the iSession traffic on the other side of the WAN, add an optimized virtual server on the server side, with the appropriate server SSL profile, to handle the application traffic after the iSession connection is terminated.

The following illustration shows a pair of BIG-IP® WOM®systems configured for SSL application traffic. It shows the additional profiles you need to add to the virtual servers to decrypt incoming traffic from the WAN, encrypt it through the iSession connection, decrypt it at the receiving side, and then re-encrypt it to send it to its destination.

Optimized application virtual server configuration with SSL encryption

Manually configuring optimized applications for outbound traffic

For common applications, the easiest way to configure optimized applications is on the Quick Start screen. You can manually configure an optimized application by creating a virtual server for outbound traffic for an application that is not listed on the Quick Start screen, such as HTTPS.
  1. On the Main tab, click WAN Optimization > Optimized Applications > Create Outbound.
  2. In the Name field, type a name that reflects the type of application traffic you want to optimize.
  3. In the Port field, type the service port used by the application, or select an application from the list. If you select from the list, the associated default port appears. If the application you select uses a different port on your system, select Other and type the port number.
  4. If you selected CIFS, FTP, or MAPI, select the corresponding application profile from the Application Profile list that appears. The list displays only those profiles that pertain to the application you specified in the Port setting.
  5. If you are optimizing IPv6 traffic, select the Create IPv6 Virtual check box. The system automatically creates an IPv4 virtual server for this outbound application traffic, and if you select the check box, it also creates an IPv6 virtual server.
  6. For the Enabled LAN VLANs setting, select the VLANs on which the virtual server for this optimized application receives incoming LAN traffic destined for the WAN.
  7. Select the iSession™ profile to associate with this virtual server. The iSession Profile list includes system-supplied profiles that have been created with optimal settings for specific applications.
    Note: The default profile isession does not include application data encryption. To specify the use of an SSL profile on the outbound connection, select isession-encrypt or a customized iSession profile that includes application data encryption.
  8. Click Finished.
The BIG-IP® WOM® system creates a virtual server, associates the profiles you specified, and thus, configures an optimized application.
Make sure that an iSession listener is configured on the local endpoint of the BIG-IP WOM that receives this application traffic.

Manually configuring optimized applications for inbound traffic

The system-supplied iSession™ listener, isession-virtual, completes the optimized connection for all inbound application traffic. Some applications, such as CIFS and FPT, require an additional application virtual server for incoming traffic. This virtual server provides further processing of the traffic after the iSession listener terminates the iSession connection.
  1. On the Main tab, click WAN Optimization > Optimized Applications > Create Inbound.
  2. Specify whether this virtual server is a single host or network address.
  3. For the Destination setting Address, type the IP address you want to use to receive specified application traffic from the WAN. Typically, this value is 0.0.0.0, which matches traffic to all destination servers.
  4. Type a name that reflects the type of application traffic you want to optimize.
  5. Type the service port used by the application, or select an application from the list. If you select from the list, the associated default port appears. If the application you select uses a different port on your system, select Other and type the port number. If you select a port and application for which at least one application profile exists on the system, the Application Profile setting appears.
  6. If the Application Profile setting is available, select a profile for this traffic.
  7. For the Enabled LAN VLANs setting, select the VLANs on which the virtual server for this optimized application receives incoming WAN traffic.
  8. Click Finished.
The system creates a virtual server to handle the specified inbound application traffic. After the iSession listener terminates the connection, the system directs the specified traffic to the virtual server you created. The ability to create more than one application virtual server on the receiving side allows you to apply different profiles to selected application traffic with different destinations.

About CIFS traffic optimization

Common Internet File System (CIFS) is a remote file access protocol that forms the basis of Microsoft® Windows® file sharing. Various CIFS implementations (for example, Samba) are also available on other operating systems such as Linux™. CIFS is the protocol most often used for transferring files over the network. WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) can optimize CIFS traffic, resulting in faster performance for transferring CIFS files, opening Microsoft applications, and saving files. CIFS optimization is particularly useful when two offices that are located far apart frequently need to share and exchange files.
Important: By default, Microsoft Windows clients do not require Server Message Block (SMB) signing, except when communicating with their domain controller. If SMB signing settings have been changed, make sure that SMB signing is optional on all servers and clients.

Adjusting CIFS optimization over the WAN

The system-supplied CIFS profile has been configured to optimize CIFS traffic over the WAN through an iSession™ connection. You can adjust the optimization settings for CIFS traffic to fit a particular situation by modifying the CIFS profile. Instead of changing the parent profile named cifs, create a custom CIFS profile, and give it a descriptive name.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > CIFS. The Profiles list screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New CIFS Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the profile. Names must begin with a letter, and can contain only letters, numbers, and the underscore (_) character.
  4. Select the Custom check box in both the Data Optimizations and Other Optimizations areas.
  5. Adjust the options for the settings, as needed. The default value for all the options is Enabled.
    Note: The settings must match between the CIFS profiles associated with the virtual servers at both ends of the iSession connection. If a setting is disabled in the CIFS profile associated with the virtual server at one end, the option is disabled.
    Option Description
    Write Behind Specifies whether the system speeds up CIFS file uploads to the server by fulfilling write requests through the BIG-IP® WOM® system that is closer to the request initiator.
    Read Ahead The system speeds up CIFS file downloads by prefetching the file data on the BIG-IP WOM system that is closer to the request initiator.
    Record and Replay The system opens CIFS files faster by performing more intelligent read-ahead operations.
    Office 2003 Extended The system performs read-ahead operations based on parsing the Microsoft® CDF file and understanding its structure.
    Fast Close The system speeds up file close operations by fulfilling them through the BIG-IP WOM system that is closer to the request initiator.
    Fast Set File Information The system speeds up file metadata change requests by fulfilling the requests through the BIG-IP WOM system that is closer to the request initiator.
  6. Click Finished.
When you have finished, the custom CIFS profile appears in the CIFS list screen.
For this profile to take effect, you must associate it with a virtual server configured to intercept CIFS traffic.

About MAPI optimization

Messaging Application Program Interface (MAPI) is the email protocol that Microsoft® Exchange Server and Outlook® clients use to exchange messages. Optimization of MAPI traffic across the WAN requires a virtual server for each Exchange-based server so that the BIG-IP® system can use the IP addresses of the Exchange-based servers to locate MAPI traffic.

You can configure WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) to automatically discover the Exchange-based servers and create virtual servers for them, or you can create the virtual servers manually using Local Traffic Manager™. The advantage to automatic discovery is that when new Exchange-based servers are added to the network, or the IP addresses of existing servers change, BIG-IP WOM discovers the changes and creates new MAPI virtual servers for the new and moved Exchange-based servers.

Enabling Microsoft Exchange compression for MAPI optimization

The system-supplied profile named mapi is configured to optimize MAPI traffic over the WAN through an iSession connection. By default, Microsoft® Exchange native compression is disabled, which allows WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) to use symmetric adaptive compression for better results than if you enabled native compression. If you want to enable native compression, you can modify the MAPI profile, as follows.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > MAPI. The MAPI profile list screen opens.
  2. Click mapi. Alternatively, you can click Create, and save the new MAPI profile you create with a different name.
  3. For the Native Compression setting, select Enabled.
  4. Click Update.
BIG-IP® WOM® now uses Microsoft Exchange native compression rather than symmetric adaptive compression for MAPI traffic when an optimized application virtual server with which this profile is associated intercepts MAPI traffic.
For this profile to take effect, you must associate it with a virtual server (such as mapi_optimize_client) that is configured to intercept MAPI traffic. To verify this association, check the Application Profile column at WAN Optimization > Optimized Applications.

Enabling automatic discovery of Exchange Servers for MAPI optimization

The system-supplied profile named mapi is configured to optimize MAPI traffic over the WAN through an iSession connection. By default, the BIG-IP® WOM® system does not discover the Microsoft® Exchange Servers automatically, which means that you must configure the virtual servers manually. To set up automatic discovery, modify the MAPI profile, as follows.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > MAPI. The MAPI profile list screen opens.
  2. Click mapi. >Alternatively, you can click Create, and save the new MAPI profile you create with a different name.
  3. For the Discover Exchange Servers setting, select Enabled.
  4. Click Update.
The BIG-IP® with WOM® system automatically discovers Exchange-based servers for MAPI traffic when an optimized application virtual server with which this profile is associated intercepts MAPI traffic.
For this profile to take effect, you must associate it with a virtual server (such as mapi_optimize_client) that is configured to intercept MAPI traffic. To verify this association, review the Application Profile settings at WAN Optimization > Optimized Applications.
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