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Manual Chapter: Optimizing CDN Applications such as SharePoint
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Optimizing web-based applications, such as SharePoint

To improve your end user's experience with downloading web-based applications (such as accessing Microsoft SharePoint servers) from a remote office, you can deploy a pair of BIG-IP® systems on which you have installed and provisioned both WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) and WebAccelerator™. Deploying a WebAccelerator system in a remote location stages content closer to the end user, resulting in faster downloads for both web pages and documents. You can use this implementation for Internet, intranet, and extranet applications.

You must set up WOM symmetrically, that is, you must configure it on both sides of the WAN. You can configure the WebAccelerator module symmetrically or asymmetrically, depending on your network needs.

Example of a BIG-IP WOM deployment with a symmetric WebAccelerator configuration Example of a BIG-IP WOM deployment with a symmetric WebAccelerator configuration

To configure WebAccelerator asymmetrically, follow the instructions only for the data center BIG-IP system.

Before you begin configuration

Before you configure BIG-IP®WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) and WebAccelerator™, make sure that you have completed the following general pre-requisites.

  • You must have an existing routed IP network between the two locations where the BIG-IP devices will be installed.
  • One BIG-IP system is located on each side of the WAN network you are using for WAN optimization.
  • The BIG-IP hardware is installed with an initial network configuration applied. The two BIG-IP devices must be running on one of the following platforms: VE, 1600, 3600, 3900, 4200, 6900, 8900, 8950 or 11000.
  • F5 recommends that both units be running the same BIG-IP software version.
  • The appropriate license is enabled. The license can be the Edge Gateway™ license or the WOM and WebAccelerator add-on licenses with BIG-IP LTM®.
  • WebAccelerator (WAM) is provisioned at the level Nominal.
  • WAN Optimization (WOM) is provisioned at the level Nominal.
  • The management IP address is configured on the BIG-IP system.
  • You must have administrative access to both the Web management and SSH command line interfaces on the BIG-IP system.
  • If there are firewalls, you must have TCP port 443 open in both directions. Optionally, you can allow TCP port 22 for SSH access to the command line interface for configuration verification, but not for actual BIG-IP WOM traffic.

Task summary for data center BIG-IP configuration

Typically, you start this configuration at the data center location. On the BIG-IP® system in the data center, you create separate virtual servers for WOM® and WebAccelerator™. After you configure the BIG-IP system in the data center, you can configure one or more BIG-IP systems in remote locations. When you add another remote BIG-IP system, you need only configure that device.

Using Quick Start to create a virtual server for terminating iSession traffic

You can view the Quick Start screen only after you have defined at least one VLAN and at least one self IP on a configured BIG-IP® system that is provisioned for WAN Optimization Manager™(WOM®).
You can use the Quick Start screen to automatically create the virtual server, also known as an iSession listener, that terminates the iSession® connection for inbound WAN traffic. Perform this task on the BIG-IP system in the data center. You do not need to select applications to optimize, because you are creating only a terminating virtual server for all iSession traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click WAN Optimization > Quick Start.
  2. In the WAN Self IP Address field, type the local endpoint IP address, if it is not already displayed. This IP address must be in the same subnet as a self IP address on the BIG-IP system. To make sure that dynamic discovery properly detects this endpoint, the IP address must be the same as a self IP address on the BIG-IP WOM system.
  3. Verify that the Discovery setting is set to Enabled. If you disable the Discovery setting, or discovery fails, you must manually configure any remote endpoints and advertised routes.
  4. Specify the VLANs on which the virtual servers on this system receive incoming traffic.
    Option Description
    LAN VLANs Select the VLANs that receive incoming LAN traffic destined for the WAN.
    WAN VLANs Select the VLANs that receive traffic from the WAN through an iSession™ connection.
  5. Click Apply.
You now have a virtual server to terminate iSession traffic from the remote location. This example shows a completed Quick Start screen.
Example of completed Quick Start screen Example of completed Quick Start screen

Defining a WebAccelerator application

You can define a WebAccelerator™ application to specify the traffic you want to accelerate and optimize.
  1. On the Main tab, click WebAccelerator > Applications. The Applications List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type an application name, for example, SharePoint.
  4. From the Policy list, select a policy.
  5. 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.
  6. Click Save.

Enabling the Web Acceleration profile

Before you begin this task, you must define a BIG-IP® WebAccelerator™ application, such as SharePoint.
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. In the Name column, click optimized-acceleration.
  3. Select the Custom check box.
  4. In the WA Applications field, select the application you created, for example, SharePoint, and click Enable. Enabling SharePoint in the WA Applications field
  5. Click Update.

Creating a virtual server to intercept application server traffic

If you have multiple servers for the application, ensure that you have created a pool that includes all the servers, for load balancing.
You can create a virtual server that includes web acceleration on the BIG-IP® system in the data center to listen for and accelerate traffic destined for an application 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. In the Service Port field, type 80, or select HTTP from the list.
  5. In the Configuration area, from the HTTP Profile list, select http.
  6. From the Web Acceleration Profile list, select optimized-acceleration.
  7. If you created a pool for load balancing among multiple application servers, from the Default Pool list, select the pool you created.
  8. Click Finished.

Adding a virtual server to advertised routes

You can add the IP address of a virtual server you created to intercept application traffic to the list of advertised iSession® routes on the data center BIG-IP® system. This configuration tells the BIG-IP system in the remote location that the iSession-terminating endpoint on the data center BIG-IP system can route traffic to the application server.
  1. On the Main tab, expand WAN Optimization and click Advertised Routes.
  2. Click Create. The New Advertised Routes screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for a the advertised route (subnet).
  4. In the Address field, type the IP address of the virtual server you created that includes acceleration.
  5. In the Netmask field, type 255.255.255.255.
  6. Click Finished.
This screen snippet is an example of a completed New Advertised Route screen.
Example of adding a virtual server as an advertised route Example of adding a virtual server as an advertised route
Verify that the iSession profile on the iSession terminating (endpoint) virtual server is configured to target this virtual server. The default profile isession, for which the default Target Virtual setting is match all is appropriate, as long as the Address setting for this virtual server is not a wildcard (0.0.0.0).

Verifying the iSession profile's Target Virtual setting

If the BIG-IP® automatically configured the iSession-terminating virtual server, you can verify that the associated iSession® profile targets the virtual server you intended.
  1. On the Main tab, click WAN Optimization > Local Endpoint > iSession Listeners.
  2. In the iSession Profile column, click the name of the profile associated with isession-virtual. The Properties screen appears for the profile you selected.
  3. In the Inbound iSession from WAN section, verify that the Target Virtual selection is match all.
You have ensured that application requests terminated by the iSession-terminating virtual server reach any application virtual server you created to process the requests.

Task summary for remote BIG-IP configuration

For each BIG-IP® system you configure in a remote location, from which application requests will originate, you need to configure WOM® and WebAccelerator™ on the same virtual server.

Defining a WebAccelerator application

You can define a WebAccelerator™ application to specify the traffic you want to accelerate and optimize.
  1. On the Main tab, click WebAccelerator > Applications. The Applications List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type an application name, for example, SharePoint.
  4. From the Policy list, select a policy.
  5. 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.
  6. Click Save.

Enabling the Web Acceleration profile

Before you begin this task, you must define a BIG-IP® WebAccelerator™ application, such as SharePoint.
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. In the Name column, click optimized-acceleration.
  3. Select the Custom check box.
  4. In the WA Applications field, select the application you created, for example, SharePoint, and click Enable. Enabling SharePoint in the WA Applications field
  5. Click Update.

Using Quick Start to create a virtual server for intercepting application traffic

You can view the Quick Start screen only after you have defined at least one VLAN and at least one self IP on a configured BIG-IP® system that is provisioned for WAN Optimization Manager™(WOM®).
When you use the Quick Start screen, the BIG-IP system automatically creates a virtual server to intercept outbound HTTP application requests, and it creates the virtual server that terminates the iSession connection for inbound WAN traffic. For iSession functionality, you must configure BIG-IP WOM on both sides of the WAN.
  1. On the Main tab, click WAN Optimization > Quick Start.
  2. In the WAN Self IP Address field, type the local endpoint IP address, if it is not already displayed. This IP address must be in the same subnet as a self IP address on the BIG-IP system. To make sure that dynamic discovery properly detects this endpoint, the IP address must be the same as a self IP address on the BIG-IP WOM system.
  3. Verify that the Discovery setting is set to Enabled. If you disable the Discovery setting, or discovery fails, you must manually configure any remote endpoints and advertised routes.
  4. Specify the VLANs on which the virtual servers on this system receive incoming traffic.
    Option Description
    LAN VLANs Select the VLANs that receive incoming LAN traffic destined for the WAN.
    WAN VLANs Select the VLANs that receive traffic from the WAN through an iSession™ connection.
  5. in the Create Optimized Applications area, select HTTP.
  6. Click Apply.
The system creates the necessary virtual servers and associated profiles to optimize the selected application traffic, as indicated by the green check marks in the Optimizations Enabled column on the Quick Start screen. If your network supports IPv6, the BIG-IP WOM automatically creates virtual servers for both IPv6 and IPv4 networks, and then selects the appropriate virtual server to use. This example shows a completed Quick Start screen.
Example of completed Quick Start screen Example of completed Quick Start screen

Adding web acceleration to an optimized application

Before you perform this task, the HTTP optimized application (virtual server) must exist on the local BIG-IP® system. If you used the Quick Start screen, the name of this optimized application (WAN Optimization > Optimized Applications) is http_optimize_client.
To optimize a web-based CDN application, such as SharePoint, you must add a WebAccelerator™ profile to the HTTP optimized application (virtual server) that intercepts outbound HTTP requests. You can also change the destination IP address and port to intercept the traffic for only one application.
  1. In the navigation pane, click WAN Optimization > Optimized Applications.
  2. Click http_optimize_client. The General Properties screen opens for the virtual server settings.
  3. For the Destination setting, select Host and in the Address field, type the IP address that clients use to connect to the application. In deployments using symmetric WebAccelerator, this could be the address of a virtual server on the data center BIG-IP system.
  4. In the Configuration area, from the HTTP Profile list, select http.
  5. From the HTTP Compression Profile list, select wan-optimized-compression.
  6. From the Web Acceleration Profile list, select optimized-acceleration.
  7. Click Update.
This example highlights the relevant profile settings.
Screen showing HTTP compression profile and WebAccelerator profile settings Screen showing the HTTP compression profile and WebAccelerator profile settings

Implementation Result

When you complete the steps in this implementation, you have a deployment in which the virtual server on the initiating side, which includes both WAN Optimization Manager™ (WOM®) and WebAccelerator™, routes the application request through the iSession® connection. If you are using pools, the initiating side performs pool member selection before the iSession routing takes place. If the selected pool member is on the list of advertised routes on the remote BIG-IP® system (data center), the system changes the destination to the virtual server on the remote BIG-IP system. When the iSession connection is established, the iSession-terminating virtual server targets the WebAccelerator virtual server for processing the request. The WebAccelerator virtual server processes the request and contacts the application server, as needed.

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