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Manual Chapter: Introducing BIG-IP Systems
Manual Chapter
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The BIG-IP® system is a set of application delivery products that work together to ensure high availability, improved performance, application security, and access control.
The primary module in the product family, the Local Traffic Manager, directs different types of protocol and application traffic to an appropriate destination server. Other modules available on the BIG-IP system provide critical functions such as WAN Optimization Module, which optimizes connections across a wide-area network, the WebAccelerator system, which accelerates HTTP connections, Application Security Manager, which applies security policies to network traffic, and Global Traffic Manager, which maintains responsive user access regardless of network conditions.
All products and modules in the BIG-IP product family run on the powerful Traffic Management Operating System®, commonly referred to as TMOS®. For an overview of the complete BIG-IP product offering, see the introductory chapter of the TMOS® Management Guide for BIG-IP® Systems, which contains the information you need to configure and maintain the network and system-related components. You can find this document in the AskF5SM Knowledge Base, at
This guide describes all the setup tasks you must complete to install, license, provision, and configure initial settings for any BIG-IP system.
This guide is intended to help users get their version 10.x BIG-IP systems up and running. Before you start installing the BIG-IP system, we recommend that you review the basic configuration tasks and collect the few pieces of required information, such as IP addresses and host names. You can use the BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager Configuration Worksheet, available in the AskF5 Knowledge Base, at, to help you gather the information you need.
The chapters in this guide provide step-by-step procedures for setup tasks. Before you start configuring your system, we recommend that you review the available documentation for the Local Traffic Manager, as well as any other modules you plan to use. You can find a list of documentation in Finding help and technical support resources.
The BIG-IP system offers both browser-based and command line configuration tools, so that users can work in the environment where they are most comfortable. Once you have completed the initial configuration using the Setup utility, you can continue with more detailed configuration of the system. To do so, you can use the browser-based Configuration utility or the command line utilities, or a combination of the two.
The Configuration utility is a browser-based application that you can use to install, configure, and monitor the BIG-IP system. Figure 1.1 shows the Welcome screen of the Configuration utility.
The identification and messages area
The identification and messages area of the Configuration utility is the screen region that is above the navigation pane, the menu bar, and the body. In this area, you find the system identification, including the host name, management IP address, logged on user name and role, and date and time information. Below the top area are identifiers for the unit and state of the system. This area is also where the system presents certain system messages, for example Activation Successful, which appears after a successful licensing process.
The navigation pane
The navigation pane, on the left side of the screen, contains the Main tab, the Help tab, and the About tab. The Main tab provides links to the major configuration objects. The Help tab provides context-sensitive help for each screen in the Configuration utility. The About tab presents the content from the Welcome screen. When the Help or About tab is active, you can open the content of the navigation pane in a new window using the Launch button. You can also print the content of the Help or About panes using the Print button.
The menu bar
The menu bar, which is below the identification and messages area, and above the body, provides links to the additional configuration objects within each major object.
The body
The body is the screen area where the configuration settings display.
The BIG-IP Configuration utility works with a majority of the commonly-available web browsers. For the most current list of the supported browsers for the Configuration utility, refer to the current release note, available in the AskF5 Knowledge Base, at
In addition to using the Configuration utility, you can also manage the BIG-IP system using command line utilities such as the bigpipe utility and the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) utility. You can use the command line utilities directly on the BIG-IP system console, or you can run commands using a remote shell, such as the SSH client or a Telnet client. For more information on command line utilities, see Bigpipe Utility Reference Guide, the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide, or the online man pages.
Note: All users must use the browser-based Configuration utility to license the system for the first time. For information about running Setup using the Configuration utility, see Running the Setup utility.
To help you easily identify and understand important information, all of our documentation uses the stylistic conventions described in this section.
We refer to all products in the BIG-IP product family as BIG-IP systems. We refer to the software modules by their name, for example, we refer to the Local Traffic Manager module as simply the Local Traffic Manager. If configuration information relates to a specific hardware platform, we note the platform.
We use italic text to denote a reference to another document or section of a document. We use bold, italic text to denote a reference to a book title. For example, you can find information about local traffic virtual servers in the Configuring Virtual Servers chapter of the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management.
All examples in this document use only private class IP addresses. When you set up the configurations we describe, you must use valid IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample addresses.
To help you identify sections where a term is defined, the term itself is shown in bold italic text. For example, a virtual server is a specific combination of a virtual address and virtual port, associated with a content site that is managed by a BIG-IP system or other type of host server.
We apply bold text to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, most controls in the Configuration utility, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, you can set the Idle Timeout value to 5.
We show complete commands in bold Courier text. Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. For example, the following command shows the configuration of the specified pool name:
Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.
Identifies a user-defined parameter. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name, but do not include the brackets.
BIG-IP system setup instructions
All hardware from F5 Networks contains printed system setup instructions that describe the basic configuration steps required to get the BIG-IP system up and running in the network. This guide assumes that you have already completed the steps in the setup instructions included in the printed document in the box shipped with the system.
Configuration Worksheet
This worksheet provides you with a place to plan the basic configuration for the BIG-IP system. You will need some of the information from this worksheet to complete tasks described in this guide. The worksheet is available in the AskF5 Knowledge Base, at
Product guides
Before you begin, we recommend that you visit the AskF5 Knowledge Base, at, to review the following guides.
TMOS® Management Guide for BIG-IP® Systems
This guide contains information you need to configure and maintain the network and system-related components of the BIG-IP system.
Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Management
This guide contains any information you need for configuring the BIG-IP system to manage local network traffic.
Bigpipe Utility Reference Guide
This guide contains information you need if you choose to configure the BIG-IP system using the bigpipe command line utility.
Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide
This guide contains information you need if you choose to configure the BIG-IP system using the tmsh command line utility.
Applicable module configuration guides
Each module has an associated configuration guide. You should consult the configuration guide applicable to the modules you are running. For example, if you are running the WAN Optimization Module, you should review the Configuration Guide for the BIG-IP® WAN Optimization Module. If you are deploying several modules, you should review the implementations guides BIG-IP® Global Traffic Manager and Link Controller: Implementations and BIG-IP® Module Interoperability: Implementations.
Online help for BIG-IP systems
The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. The online help contains descriptions of each control and setting on the screen. Click the Help tab in the navigation pane to view the online help for a screen.
Welcome screen in the Configuration utility
The Welcome screen in the Configuration utility contains links to many useful web sites and resources, including:
AskF5 Knowledge Base
The AskF5 Knowledge Base provides current and comprehensive documentation for the product, including:
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