201 – TMOS Administration | F5 Study Guide

201 – TMOS Administration | F5 Study Guide
CER T IFIED
F5 STUDY GUIDE
201 – TMOS Administration
Eric Mitchell
Channel SE, East US and Federal
F5 Networks
F5 STUDY GUIDE
201 – TMOS Administration
Contents
Overview4
Section 1 – Troubleshoot basic virtual server Connectivity issues
5
Objective - 1.01 - Given a connectivity troubleshooting situation, consider the packet and
virtual server processing order
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Objective - 1.02 - Identify the reason for an unresponsive virtual server
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Objective - 1.03 - Identify the reason for an unresponsive pool member
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Objective - 1.04 - Identify a persistence issue
20
Section 2 - Troubleshoot basic hardware issues
25
Objective - 2.01 Perform an End User Diagnostic and interpret the output
25
Objective - 2.02 Interpret the LCD Warning Messages
26
Objective - 2.03 Identify a possible hardware issue within the log files
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Objective - 2.04 Perform a failover to a standby box under the appropriate circumstances
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Section 3 – Troubleshoot basic performance issues
35
Objective - 3.01 Perform a packet capture within the context of a performance issue
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Objective - 3.02 Use BIG-IP tools in order to identify potential performance issues
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Section 4 – Troubleshoot basic device management connectivity issues
44
Objective - 4.01 Verify remote connectivity to the box in order to determine the cause of a
management connectivity issue
44
Objective - 4.02 Check and interpret port lockdown settings in order to determine the cause
of a management connectivity issue
46
Objective - 4.03 Check and interpret packet filters in order to determine the cause of a
management connectivity issue
50
Objective - 4.04 Given the use of a remote authentication server, verify proper DNS settings
in order to diagnose a connectivity issue
Section 5 – Open a support ticket with F5
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Objective - 5.01 Identify the appropriate supporting components and severity levels for an
F5 support ticket
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Objective - 5.02 Given an issue, determine the appropriate severity
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Objective - 5.03 Provide quantitative and relevant information appropriate for a given issue
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Objective - 5.04 Given a scenario, determine the proper F5 escalation method
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Section 6 – Identify and report current device status
63
Objective - 6.01 Review the network map in order to determine the status of objects on the box
63
Objective - 6.02 Use the dashboard to gauge the current running status of the system
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Objective - 6.03 Review log files in order to gauge the current operational status of the device
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Objective - 6.04 Use iApps Analytics to gauge the current running status of application services
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Section 7 – Maintain system configuration
Objective - 7.01 Create and restore a UCS archive under the appropriate circumstances
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Objective - 7.02 Identify the components and methods associated with automating and
scheduling tasks with Enterprise Manager
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Objective - 7.03 Automate and schedule tasks using Enterprise Manager
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Objective - 7.04 Manage software images
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Section 8 – Manage existing system and application services
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Objective - 8.01 Modify and manage virtual servers
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Objective - 8.02 Modify and manage pools
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Conclusion87
THIS STUDY GUIDE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITH NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY
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IN NO EVENT SHALL F5 BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL
DAMAGES, INCLUDING, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE STUDY GUIDES, REGARDLESS OF THE
NATURE OF THE ACTION OR UNDERLYING LEGAL THEORY.
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Overview
Welcome to the TMOS Administration compiled Study Guide. The purpose of this guide is to help you prepare
for the F5 201 - TMOS Administration exam. The contents of this document are based on the 201 - TMOS
Administration Blueprint Guide. The majority of the information is compiled from F5 sources that are located
on Internet. This study guide provides students with some of the basic foundational knowledge required to
pass the exam.
The resources for study also include the TMOS Administration Study Guide. The Study Guide is a list of
additional reading material that will help any student build a broad base of general knowledge that can assist
in not only their exam success but in becoming a well rounded systems engineer. The Study Guide will be
available to the candidate once they are qualified for the TMOS Administration exam.
Hands on experience with the BIG-IP platform will reinforce many of the topics contained in the TMOS
Administration exam.
This study guide is a collection of information and therefore not a completely original work. The information
was found mostly in F5 resources. All of the information locations are referenced at each topic instead of in
an Appendix of this document. This was done to help the reader access the reference the linked information
easier without having to search through a formal appendix.
This guide was prepared by an F5 employee but is not an official F5 document and is not supported by F5
Networks.
Reading = Knowledge = Power
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SECTION 1 – TROUBLESHOOT BASIC VIRTUAL
SERVER CONNECTIVITY ISSUES
Objective - 1.01 - Given a connectivity troubleshooting
situation, consider the packet and virtual server
processing order
Virtual Server Intro:
Before we get into the study points of this section, there is some basic information you should know about
virtual servers and the BIG-IP platform.
TMOS Concepts 11-1-0
Virtual Server Intro
A BIG-IP platform is a default deny device. This means that the device will not accept traffic and process it
unless you have configured it to do so.
A virtual server is a traffic-management object on the BIG-IP system that is represented by an IP address
and a service (port number). Clients on an external network can send application traffic to a virtual server,
which then directs the traffic according to your configuration instructions. The main purpose of a virtual server
is often to balance traffic load across a pool of servers on an internal network. Virtual servers increase the
availability of resources for processing client requests.
Not only do virtual servers distribute traffic across multiple servers, they also treat varying types of traffic
differently, depending on your traffic-management needs. For example, a virtual server can enable compression
on HTTP request data as it passes through the BIG-IP system, or decrypt and re-encrypt SSL connections and
verify SSL certificates. For each type of traffic, such as TCP, UDP, HTTP, SSL, SIP, and FTP, a virtual server can
apply an entire group of settings, to affect the way that Local Traffic Manager manages that traffic type.
A virtual server can also enable session persistence for a specific traffic type. Through a virtual server, you can
set up session persistence for HTTP, SSL, SIP, and MSRDP sessions, to name a few.
Finally, a virtual server can apply an iRule, which is a user-written script designed to inspect and direct
individual connections in specific ways. For example, you can create an iRule that searches the content of a
TCP connection for a specific string and, if found, directs the virtual server to send the connection to a specific
pool or pool member.
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To summarize, a virtual server can do the following:
• Distribute client requests across multiple servers to balance server load
• Apply various behavioral settings to a specific type of traffic
• Enable persistence for a specific type of traffic
• Direct traffic according to user-written iRules®
You can use virtual servers in any of several distinct ways:
Directing traffic to a load balancing pool
A Standard virtual server (also known as a load balancing virtual server) directs client traffic to a load balancing
pool and is the most basic type of virtual server. When you first create the virtual server, you assign an existing
default pool to it. From then on, the virtual server automatically directs traffic to that default pool.
Sharing an IP address with a VLAN node
You can set up a Forwarding (Layer 2) virtual server to share the same IP address as a node in an associated
VLAN. To do this, you must perform some additional configuration tasks. These tasks consist of: creating a
VLAN group that includes the VLAN in which the node resides, assigning a self-IP address to the VLAN group,
and disabling the virtual server on the relevant VLAN.
Forwarding traffic to a specific destination IP address
A Forwarding (IP) virtual server is just like other virtual servers, except that a forwarding virtual server has no
pool members to load balance. The virtual server simply forwards the packet directly to the destination IP
address specified in the client request. When you use a forwarding virtual server to direct a request to its
originally specified destination IP address, Local Traffic Manager adds, tracks, and reaps these connections
just as with other virtual servers. You can also view statistics for a forwarding virtual server.
Increasing the speed of processing HTTP traffic
A Performance (HTTP) virtual server is a virtual server with which you associate a Fast HTTP profile. Together,
the virtual server and profile increase the speed at which the virtual server processes HTTP requests.
Increasing the speed of processing Layer 4 traffic
A Performance (Layer 4) virtual server is a virtual server with which you associate a Fast L4 profile. Together,
the virtual server and profile increase the speed at which the virtual server processes Layer 4 requests.
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Relaying DHCP traffic
You can create a type of virtual server that relays Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) messages between
clients and servers residing on different IP networks. Known as a DHCP relay agent, a BIG-IP system with a
DHCP Relay type of virtual server listens for DHCP client messages being broadcast on the subnet and then
relays those messages to the DHCP server. The DHCP server then uses the BIG-IP system to send the
responses back to the DHCP client. Configuring a DHCP Relay virtual server on the BIG-IP system relieves
you of the tasks of installing and running a separate DHCP server on each subnet.
When you create a virtual server, you specify the pool or pools that you want to serve as the destination for
any traffic coming from that virtual server. You also configure its general properties, some configuration
options, and other resources you want to assign to it, such as iRules or session persistence types.
1.01 – Explain how a packet is processed once it arrives on the
device
SOL6459 - Order of precedence for virtual server matching
In version 4.x, which was just prior to version 9.x (when TMOS was created), the BIG-IP system used a virtual
server precedence to define the order in which it routes a packet to a specific virtual server in the event that
the packet matches multiple virtual server definitions.
The order of virtual server precedence was (from the highest precedence to the lowest precedence) as
follows:
• ip:port
• ip:any
• network:port
• any:port
• network:any
• vlan:port
• vlan:any
• any:any
Many things have changed since then.
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In Version 9.x through 11.2.1, (which covers this version of the exam) the BIG-IP system determines the order
of precedence applied to new inbound connections using an algorithm that places a higher precedence on
the address netmask and a lesser emphasis on the port. BIG-IP LTM sets virtual server precedence according
to the following criteria:
• The first precedent of the algorithm chooses the virtual server that has the longest subnet match for the
incoming connection.
• If the number of bits in the subnet mask match, the algorithm chooses the virtual server that has a port
match.
• If no port match is found, the algorithm uses the wildcard server (if a wildcard virtual server is defined).
• A wildcard address has a netmask length of zero; thus, it has a lower precedence than any matching
virtual server with a defined address.
This algorithm results in the following order of precedence:
• <address>:<port>
• <address>:*
• <network>:<port>
• <network>:*
• *:<port>
• *:*
Example of VIP precedence behavior
For example, for a BIG-IP system with the following VIPs configured on the inbound VLAN:
10.0.0.0/8:80
10.10.0.0/16:80
10.10.10.10/32:80
20.0.0.0/8:*
20.0.0.0/8:80
*:80 (alternatively noted as 0.0.0.0/0:80)
*:* (alternatively noted as any:any, 0.0.0.0/0:any)
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The following table illustrates how inbound destination addresses map to the configured VIPs:
Inbound destination address
VIP
10.10.10.10:80
10.10.10.10/32:80 - address match and port match
10.10.10.11:80
10.10.0.0/16:80 - most specific address match and port match
10.1.10.10:80
10.0.0.0/8:80 - most specific address match and port match
20.0.0.0:80
20.0.0.0/8:80 - most specific address match and port match
20.0.0.0:443
20.0.0.0/8:* - most specific address match with wildcard port
1.1.1.1:443
*:* - wildcard address and wildcard port
Further changes in the order of precedence applied to new inbound connections are in Version 11.3 and later.
If you care to read on this it can be found at the following location.
SOL14800: Order of precedence for virtual server matching (11.3.0 and later)
1.01 – Explain how a virtual server processes a request
SOL8082: Overview of TCP connection setup for BIG-IP LTM virtual server types
Standard virtual server
The BIG-IP LTM TMOS operating system implements ”full proxy” architecture for virtual servers configured
with a TCP profile. By assigning a custom TCP profile to the virtual server, you can configure the BIG-IP LTM
to maintain compatibility to disparate server operating systems in the data center. At the same time, the
BIG-IP LTM can leverage its TCP/IP stack on the client side of the connection to provide independent and
optimized TCP connections to client systems.
In a full proxy architecture, the BIG-IP LTM appears as a TCP peer to both the client and the server by
associating two independent TCP connections with the end-to-end session. Although certain client
information such as the source IP address or source TCP port, may be re-used on the server side of the
connection; the BIG-IP LTM system manages the two sessions independently, making itself transparent to
the client and server.
The Standard virtual server requires a TCP or UDP profile, and may optionally be configured with HTTP, FTP,
or SSL profiles if Layer 7 or SSL processing is required.
The TCP connection setup behavior for a Standard virtual server varies depending on whether a TCP profile
or a TCP and Layer 7 profile, such as HTTP, is associated with the virtual server.
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Standard virtual server with a TCP profile
The TCP connection setup behavior for a Standard virtual server operates as follows: the three-way TCP
handshake occurs on the client side of the connection before the BIG-IP LTM initiates the TCP handshake
on the server side of the connection.
A Standard virtual server processes connections using the full proxy architecture. The following TCP flow
diagram illustrates the TCP handshake for a Standard virtual server with a TCP profile:
1.01 – Given a specific connectivity issue, isolate where the problem
might be according to the processing order
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
In general, all trouble shooting should be done in an order that allows for narrowing of the possible issue.
When there is an issue with connectivity to a virtual server, there can be many reasons. Gather what you know.
When you or the client tried to connect to the virtual server, how was it done? Was it through a browser or
another application? What was the path that was used? (ie https://www.yoursite.com)
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Starting out with checking to see if you have IP connectivity to the virtual server is a good place to start. This
is a sort of “divide and conquer” approach to solve the issue. Can you reach the virtual servers IP address
from your location on the network? Start with a ping of the virtual server address. If you can ping the IP we
know that the F5 is listening. Now are you connecting to the port number the virtual server is listening on?
If you were browsing to https://www.yoursite.com, does the DNS name of www.yoursite.com resolve to the IP
the address the virtual server is configured on? If not, is it the NAT address of the firewall that translates to the
virtual server address?
If all the network connectivity looks good, is the virtual server configured correctly for the type of traffic that is
trying to pass? Perhaps the administrator has applied a profile to the virtual server telling it to process http
traffic when the virtual server is set to listen on 443. Without terminating the SSL traffic the virtual server
cannot process http traffic and the virtual server will not work correctly.
These are just a few of the scenarios that you can be faced with trying to figure out why a connection to an
application may not be working. Spending time on the vLabs and getting comfortable with interface and
configuring virtual servers will help you understand how the BIG-IP LTM works.
Objective - 1.02 - Identify the reason for an
unresponsive virtual server
1.02 - Determine the state of a virtual server (offline, enabled, etc.)
LTM Virtual Concepts
At any time, you can determine the status of a virtual server or virtual address, using the Configuration utility.
You can find this information by displaying the list of virtual servers or virtual addresses and viewing the Status
column, or by viewing the Availability property of the object.
The Configuration utility indicates status by displaying one of several icons, distinguished by shape and color:
• The shape of the icon indicates the status that the monitor has reported for that node.
• The color of the icon indicates the actual status of the node.
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To understand these icons with respect to status, see the table below.
Table 2.5 Explanation of status icons for virtual servers and virtual addresses
Status
indicator
Explanation
The virtual server or virtual address is enabled and able to receive traffic.
The virtual server or virtual address is enabled but is currently unavailable. However, the
virtual server or virtual address might become available later, with no user action required.
An example of a virtual server or virtual address showing this status is when the objects
connection limit has been exceeded. When the number of connections falls below the
configured limit, the virtual server or virtual address becomes available again.
The virtual server or virtual address is enabled but offline because an associated object has
marked the virtual server or virtual address as unavailable. To change the status so that the
virtual server or virtual address can receive traffic, you must actively enable the virtual server
or virtual address.
The virtual server or virtual address is operational but set to Disabled. To resume normal
operation, you must manually enable the virtual server or virtual address.
The status of the virtual server or virtual address is unknown.
1.02 - Determine if a virtual server is configured with the proper IP
address configuration GUI Study in the vLabs
LTM Virtual Concepts
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
A virtual address is the IP address with which you associate a virtual server. For example, if a virtual server’s
IP address and service are 10.10.10.2:80, then the IP address 10.10.10.2 is a virtual address.
You can create a many-to-one relationship between virtual servers and a virtual address. For example, you
can create the three virtual servers 10.10.10.2:80, 10.10.10.2:443, and 10.10.10.2:161 for the same
virtual address of 10.10.10.2.
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You can enable and disable a virtual address. When you disable a virtual address, none of the virtual servers
associated with that address will receive incoming network traffic.
You create a virtual address indirectly when you create a virtual server. When this happens, Local Traffic
Manager internally associates the virtual address with a MAC address. This in turn causes the BIG-IP system
to respond to Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) requests for the virtual address, and to send gratuitous ARP
requests and responses with respect to the virtual address.
If the address you entered is not the correct address that your clients are attempting to connect to, the
symptom will seem as if the BipIP is not working. This is a very common issue when DNS entries that resolve
a name to the virtual server IP address do not correlate. If your clients are connecting to a DNS name make
sure that it resolves to the intended virtual server IP address or NAT address on the firewall that maps to the
virtual server IP address.
1.02 - Determine if a virtual server is configured for the proper
listening port
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
When you configure a virtual server and define the virtual address and service port; this is how the virtual
server is listening on the network. If the service port you have configured is not the appropriate port number
for the type of connection that your clients are attempting to make, the connection will likely fail. Understanding
how your clients intend to connect to the virtual server is usually a good sanity check on the configuration.
1.02 - Determine if the virtual server is configured with the appropriate
profiles
A virtual server has a number of properties and settings that you can configure to affect the way that a virtual
server manages traffic. You can also assign certain resources to a virtual server, such as a load balancing
pool and a persistence profile. Together, these properties, settings, and resources represent the definition of a
virtual server, and most have default values. When you create a virtual server, you can either retain the default
values or adjust them to suit your needs.
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In addition to assigning various traffic profiles to a virtual server, you can also assign a pool, an iRule, and two
persistence profiles. The pool, iRule, and persistence profiles that you assign to a virtual server are known as
resources.
If you have created a virtual server that is a load balancing type of virtual server, one of the resources you
must assign to the virtual server is a default load balancing pool. A default pool is the pool to which Local
Traffic Manager sends traffic if no iRule exists specifying a different pool. Note that if you plan on using an
iRule to direct traffic to a pool, you must assign the iRule as a resource to the virtual server.
In the Configuration utility, virtual server settings are grouped into three categories: General properties,
configuration settings (basic and advanced), and resources (basic and advanced). The following sections
describe the settings that these three categories contain.
How profiles are assigned to the virtual server can affect the virtual servers ability to process the traffic that is
passing through it. For instance if you create a virtual server that is listening on 10.10.10.2:443, and you also
assign an http profile to process the http traffic according to your needs. The virtual server will not respond
to connections as expected. The virtual server settings say to take in encrypted traffic on port 443 and then
process and possible manipulate the http headers. This is impossible without first terminating the encrypted
traffic with a clientside SSL profile to make the encrypted traffic clear text for the BIG-IP to then apply the http
profile. If you apply a visual map of the OSI model to the functional parts of the virtual server’s configuration it
is easier to see what may be needed or may be conflicting with each other. This is covered in depth in the F5
Certified Training course.
1.02 - Determine if the pool configuration has an effect on virtual
server state
GUI Study in the vLabs
If all pool members are offline or misconfigured the virtual server’s state can be affected. All heath status
information trickles up to the virtual server.
This means that if a node is not online due to a monitor marking the node offline, any pool member using that
node will be marked offline as well. And if all members of a pool are maked offline by a failing health monitor
the virtual server will have no available resources so it will be marked offline as well.
To see if a virtual server is not available due to a lack of resources look in the GUI under Local Traffic and click
on the Network Map/Show Map and search for the virtual server in question. If it is down you can see in the
same pane if the resources are also offline.
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1.02 - Determine which tools to use in order to diagnose the issue
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
There are multiple tools you can use to check to see if a server behind the BIG-IP is working as expected.
If you have a workstation on the local server subnet you can make a direct connection to the server to see the
response. Or if you have a route to the server’s IP subnet from your current network location you can try to
connect to the server directly. If it is responding then look to see if the pool member is configured to match
how you just connected to the server (IP:port).
You can see if the BIG-IP has connectivity to the IP address of the server using the ping command from the
command line interface of the BIG-IP.
If there is IP connectivity then you can try to use the CURL command to see if the BIG-IP can connect to the
website on the server or FTP if the server is listening for FTP traffic.
1.02 - Explain the difference between the virtual servers status
definitions
GUI Study in the vLabs
A virtual servers status icon is a quick way to see the high level status of the virtual server. The five different
status levels are Enabled, Offline, Currently Unavailable, Unknown and Disabled. Each of these levels are
pretty self explanatory.
• Enabled means that the virtual server is up and available for traffic (monitors are succeeding) and is
represented by a green circle icon.
• Offline means that the resource for the virtual server is not available (likely a failing monitor) and is
represented by a red diamond icon.
• Currently Unavailable means that the virtual server or all of it’s resources have reached a restricting
connection limit that has been set by the administrator and the virtual server currently has no further
capacity for traffic until the current connections fall below the connection limit settings. A yellow triangle
icon represents the Currently Unavailable status.
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• Unknown means that there is not any monitors set for the resources of the virtual server, so there is
no status to show and is represented by a blue square icon. This status does not mean that the virtual
server will not respond to traffic. A virtual server with an Unknown status will take in traffic and send it
on to the resources even if they are not online.
• Disabled means that the administrator has marked the virtual server down so that it will not process
traffic. The status icon will be a shape that represents the current monitor status of the virtual server
but will always be colored black. Examples of this status icon would be; if the virtual server has
succeeding monitors but is disabled the icon would be a black circle, or if the virtual server has failing
monitors but is disabled the icon would be a black diamond or if the virtual server has no monitors but
is disabled the icon would be a black square.
Objective - 1.03 - Identify the reason for an
unresponsive pool member
Pool Intro:
LTM Pools Concepts
In a typical client-server scenario, a client request goes to the destination IP address specified in the header
of the request. For sites with a large amount of incoming traffic, the destination server can quickly become
overloaded as it tries to service a large number of requests. To solve this problem, BIG-IP Local Traffic
Manager distributes client requests to multiple servers instead of to the specified destination IP address only.
You configure Local Traffic Manager to do this when you create a load balancing pool.
You can enable or disable individual pool members. When you enable or disable a pool member, you indirectly
set the value of the pool members State property, in the following way:
• Enable - Sets the State property of the pool member to Enabled.
• Disable - Sets the State property of the pool member to Disabled.
Note that the difference between a disabled pool member, and a pool member that a monitor reports as
down, is that a disabled pool member continues to process persistent and active connections. Conversely,
a pool member reported as down processes no connections whatsoever.
The status icons on the pool-member list screen and properties screen indicate whether a pool member is
currently enabled or disabled.
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Pool status
An important part of managing pools and pool members is viewing and understanding the status of a pool or
pool member at any given time. The Configuration utility indicates status by displaying one of several icons,
distinguished by shape and color, for each pool or pool member:
The shape of the icon indicates the status that the monitor has reported for that pool or pool member. For
example, a circle-shaped icon indicates that the monitor has reported the pool member as being up, whereas
a diamond-shaped icon indicates that the monitor has reported the pool member as being down.
The color of the icon indicates the actual status of the node itself. For example, a green shape indicates that
the node is up, whereas a red shape indicates that the node is down. A black shape indicates that userintervention is required.
At any time, you can determine the status of a pool. The status of a pool is based solely on the status of its
members. Using the Configuration utility, you can find this information by viewing the Availability property of
the pool. You can also find this information by displaying the list of pools and checking the Status column.
The Configuration utility indicates pool status by displaying one of several icons, distinguished by shape and
color. To understand these icons, see table below.
Table 4.4 Explanation of status indicators for pools
Status
indicator
Explanation
At least one pool member is available for processing traffic.
No pool members are currently available but any one of them could become available later,
with no user action required. An example of an unavailable pool member becoming available
automatically is when the number of concurrent connections to the pool member no longer
exceeds the value defined in the pool members Connection Limit setting.
All pool members are unavailable and therefore cannot accept traffic. A reason for a pool
member being unavailable is that an associated EAV monitor has detected that the pool
member is unavailable. When pool status is red, user action is usually required.
The status of at least one pool member is unknown, and no other pool members are
available. Sample reasons for unknown pool-member status are:
One or more pool members has no associated monitor.
Monitor results are not available yet.
The pool members IP address is misconfigured.
The parent node has been disconnected from the network.
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1.03 - Discuss the effects of health monitors on the status of pool
members/nodes
LTM Pools Concepts
Health monitors are a key feature of Local Traffic Manager. Health monitors help to ensure that a server is in
an up state and able to receive traffic. When you want to associate a monitor with an entire pool of servers,
you do not need to explicitly associate that monitor with each individual server. Instead, you can simply assign
the monitor to the pool itself. Local Traffic Manager then automatically monitors each member of the pool.
Local Traffic Manager contains many different pre-configured monitors that you can associate with pools,
depending on the type of traffic you want to monitor. You can also create your own custom monitors and
associate them with pools. The only monitor types that are not available for associating with pools are
monitors that are specifically designed to monitor nodes and not pools or pool members. That is, the
destination address in the monitor specifies an IP address only, rather than an IP address and a service port.
These monitor types are:
• ICMP
• TCP Echo
• Real Server
• SNMP DCA
• SNMP DCA Base
• WMI
With Local Traffic Manager, you can configure your monitor associations in many useful ways:
You can associate a health monitor with an entire pool instead of an individual server. In this case, Local Traffic
Manager automatically associates that monitor with all pool members, including those that you add later.
Similarly, when you remove a member from a pool, Local Traffic Manager no longer monitors that server.
When a server that is designated as a pool member allows multiple processes to exist on the same IP address
and port, you can check the health or status of each process. To do this, you can add the server to multiple
pools, and then within each pool, associate a monitor with that server. The monitor you associate with each
server checks the health of the process running on that server.
When associating a monitor with an entire pool, you can exclude an individual pool member from being
associated with that monitor. In this case, you can associate a different monitor for that particular pool member,
or you can exclude that pool member from health monitoring altogether. For example, you can associate pool
members A, B, and D with the http monitor, while you associate pool member C with the https monitor.
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You can associate multiple monitors with the same pool. For instance, you can associate both the http and
https monitors with the same pool.
1.03 - Determine the state and availability of the pool member/node
in question
LTM Pools Concepts
Table 4.5 Explanation of status icons for pool members
Status
indicator
Explanation
State property is set to...
The pool member is set to Enabled, the parent node is up, and
a monitor has marked the pool member as up.
Enabled (All Traffic
Allowed)
The pool member is unavailable, but could become available
later with no user interaction required. This status occurs
when the number of concurrent connections has exceeded
the limit defined in the pool members Connection Limit setting.
Enabled (All Traffic
Allowed)
The pool member is unavailable because either the parent
node is down, a monitor has marked the pool member as
down, or a user has disabled the pool member.
Enabled (All Traffic
Allowed)
The pool member is set to Disabled, although a monitor has
marked the pool member as up. To resume normal operation,
you must manually enable the pool member.
Disabled (Only persistent
or active connections
allowed)
The pool member is set to Disabled and is offline because the
parent node is down. To resume normal operation, you must
manually enable the pool member.
Forced Offline (Only active
connections allowed)
The pool member is set to Disabled and is offline because a
user disabled it. To resume normal operation, you must
manually enable the pool member.
Disabled (Only persistent
or active connections
allowed)
The pool member is set to Disabled and is offline because
either the parent node is down, or a monitor has marked the
pool member as down. To resume normal operation, you must
manually enable the pool member.
Forced Offline (Only active
connections allowed)
The pool member or node has no monitor associated with it,
or no monitor results are available yet
Enabled (All Traffic
Allowed)
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1.03 - Verify the pool member/node Ratio configuration
Ratio weights for pool members
When using a ratio-based load balancing method for distributing traffic to servers within a pool, you can
assign a ratio weight to the corresponding pool members. The ratio weight is used by the Local Traffic
Manager to distribute connections among pool members or nodes in a static rotation. The number of
connections that each system receives over time is proportionate to the ratio weight you defined for each
pool member or node.
The ratio-based load balancing methods are: Ratio (node, member, and sessions), Dynamic Ratio (node and
member), and Ratio Least Connections (node and member).
1.03 - Verify the pool member/node connection configuration and
count
You can configure a virtual server, pool member, or node to prevent an excessive number of connection
requests during events such as a Denial of Service (DoS) attack or a planned, high-demand traffic event. To
ensure the availability of a virtual server, pool member, or node, you can use the BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
to manage the total number of connections and the rate at which connections are made.
When you specify a connection limit, the system prevents the total number of concurrent connections to the
virtual server, pool member, or node from exceeding the specified number.
When you specify a connection rate limit, the system controls the number of allowed new connections per
second, thus providing a manageable increase in connections without compromising availability.
After configuring connection limits and connection rate limits on a virtual server, or after configuring these
limits on a pool member or node associated with a virtual server, the system controls the total number of
concurrent connections and the rate of new connections to the virtual server, pool member, or node.
Objective - 1.04 - Identify a persistence issue
1.04 - Explain the concept of “persistence”
Session Persistence Profiles
Using BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager, you can configure session persistence. When you configure session
persistence Local Traffic Manager tracks and stores session data, such as the specific pool member that
serviced a client request. The primary reason for tracking and storing session data is to ensure that client
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requests are directed to the same pool member throughout the life of a session or during subsequent
sessions when an application requires it to be so.
In addition, session persistence can track and store other types of information, such as user preferences
or a user name and password.
Local Traffic Manager offers several types of session persistence, each one designed to accommodate a
specific type of storage requirement for session data. The type of persistence that you implement depends
on where and how you want to store client-specific information, such as items in a shopping cart or airline
ticket reservations.
For example, you might store airline ticket reservation information in a back-end database that all servers
can access, or on the specific server to which the client originally connected, or in a cookie on the client’s
machine. When you enable persistence, returning connections will not be load balancing and instead will
be sent to the server to which they last connected in order to access application again.
Local Traffic Manager keeps session data for a period of time that you specify.
The primary tool for configuring session persistence is to configure a persistence profile and assign it to a
virtual server. If you want to enable persistence for specific types of traffic only, as opposed to all traffic
passing through the virtual server, you can write an iRule.
To configure and manage persistence profiles, log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, and on the Main tab,
expand Local Traffic, and click Persistence.
1.04 - Verify the type of persistence profile assigned to the virtual
server in question
Session Persistence Profiles
A persistence profile is a pre-configured object that automatically enables persistence when you assign the
profile to a virtual server. By using a persistence profile, you avoid having to write a program to implement a
type of persistence.
Each type of persistence that Local Traffic Manager offers includes a corresponding default persistence profile.
These persistence profiles each contain settings and setting values that define the behavior of the BIG-IP
system for that type of persistence. You can either use the default profile or create a custom profile based on
the default.
Persistence profile types:
You can configure persistence profile settings to set up session persistence on the BIG-IP system. You can
configure these settings when you create a profile or after profile creation by modifying the profiles settings.
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The persistence types that you can enable using a persistence profile are:
Cookie persistence
Cookie persistence uses an HTTP cookie stored on a clients computer to allow the client to reconnect to the
same server previously visited at a web site.
Destination address affinity persistence
Also known as sticky persistence, destination address affinity persistence supports TCP and UDP protocols,
and directs session requests to the same server based solely on the destination IP address of a packet.
Hash persistence
Hash persistence allows you to create a persistence hash based on an existing iRule.
Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol persistence
Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (MSRDP) persistence tracks sessions between clients and servers
running the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) service.
SIP persistence
SIP persistence is a type of persistence used for servers that receive Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
messages sent through UDP, SCTP, or TCP.
Source address affinity persistence
Also known as simple persistence, source address affinity persistence supports TCP and UDP protocols,
and directs session requests to the same server based solely on the source IP address of a packet.
SSL persistence
SSL persistence is a type of persistence that tracks non-terminated SSL sessions, using the SSL session ID.
Even when the clients IP address changes, Local Traffic Manager still recognizes the connection as being
persistent based on the session ID. Note that the term non-terminated SSL sessions refer to sessions in which
Local Traffic Manager does not perform the tasks of SSL certificate authentication and encryption/re-encryption.
Universal persistence
Universal persistence allows you to write an expression that defines what to persist on in a packet. The
expression, written using the same expression syntax that you use in iRules®, defines some sequence of
bytes to use as a session identifier.
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You can see the type of persistence assigned to a virtual server by going to Local Traffic > Virtual Servers in
the GUI and selecting the virtual server from the list you wish to inspect. Click on the Resources tab and look
at the settings for the Default Persistence Profile setting and the Fallback Persistence Profile setting. To
change the setting you can select the name of the profile you created or wish to use, such as cookie. This
implements cookie persistence, using the default cookie persistence profile.
1.04 - Differentiate between fallback and primary persistence GUI Study in the vLabs
The administrator of a BIG-IP can set a primary persistence type for a virtual server as shown in the previous
section. A fallback persistence type can also be set. Only IP address based persistence types are allowed as
fallback. This means that along with honoring the primary persistence method there is a second record being
kept that can be used to persist the client’s transaction to the resource of the virtual server as well. For
example if cookie persistence is set with a fallback of sourceaddr, as a client makes their second connection
to the virtual server the cookie from the first connection will be used to determine the server in the pool to
send the connection to. But at the same time as the first connection was made to the virtual server a source
address persistence record was also created. And if the client did not have the cookie any longer the record
matching their IP address would still exist (if it had not timed out) and could be used to get them back to their
original pool member.
However this also means that if a source address persistence profile is used as a fallback that has a wider
subnet in the configuration such as a 255.255.255.0, and a second client from the same class C network
as the first client made their first connection to the virtual server. They would be persisted to the same pool
member as the first client since they would match the source IP record of the first client even though they did
not have a cookie when they connected.
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1.04 - Validate the expected persistence behavior GUI Study in the vLabs- Module 8 Exercises
As you connect to an application through the virtual server of the BIG-IP platform the first connection is load
balanced to the best available resource according to the load-balancing algorithm. With persistence enabled
the following connections from the same client will be sent to the same resource as their first initial load
balanced connection.
Checking to see if the client is being persisted is simple in a test scenario where a single client connects to
the virtual server and the statistics on the system show the connections only going to the same resource in
the pool.
However in regular production volume it will be hard to see the individual client connections hitting the same
resource when there are hundreds or thousands of connections coming in all the time. An easy way to see
that the client is connecting to the same server resource is to have watermarks on the application webpages.
These watermarks will show a unique mark on the web page identifying it to the individual server, much like
we use in the vLabs on the load-balanced sites. Not all developers will take the time or effort to do this water
marking. If you do not have the ability to add a watermark to your page then there needs to be another method.
In the BIG-IP platform you have the ability to show the active connection table and use filters to show the data
you want to see. So to show a client’s current connection in the connection table you can type the following
command:
In version 9.X and 10.X:
bigpipe conn show | grep “client IP”
In version 11.x:
tmsh show sys conn cs-client-addr “client IP”
1.04 - Use the appropriate tool to troubleshoot persistence
GUI Study in the vLabs
If the persistence method you are using is not tracked locally by the BIG-IP system, such as Cookie
persistence; then there are no local records on the BIG-IP to review. This is due to the fact that the cookie
containing the pool member info is passed to the client system from the BIG-IP, and when the client makes
the next connection it will include the cookie from the previous in the request for the BIG-IP system to use
for the persistence info. Allowing the BIG-IP to simply read the cookie and not have to locally store the info.
An administrator can find the cookie on the client’s workstation. It is stored where the client’s local browser
would normally store cookies. This location will vary by browser type and OS type.
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If the persistence method you are using is tracked by the BIG-IP system locally, such as Source Address
Affinity persistence, then you can look at the records that are stored on the local system using the following
methods:
• Source Address persistence records can be found in the Configuration Utility, open the Statistics >
Module Statistics > Local Traffic page and select Persistence Records from the Statistics Type list.
• In version 11.X command line do: tmsh show /ltm persistence persist-records
• In version 9.X and 10.X command line do: B persist show all SECTION 2 - TROUBLESHOOT BASIC HARDWARE
ISSUES
Objective - 2.01 Perform an End User Diagnostic and
interpret the output
2.01 - Reboot an F5 platform into the EUD
Field Testing BIG-IP Hardware
You can run the EUD only from a console connected to the BIG-IP system. You can start the EUD using the
following methods:
• Attach a USB CDROM drive containing the bootable system CD. As the system boots up, the EUD
starts.
• Attach a USB mass storage device drive with the EUD boot image loaded. As the system boots up,
the EUD starts.
• While the system is booting, select the End User Diagnostics option from the boot menu.
You can then run the tests that are necessary.
After you have completed the tests you want to run, use option 21 to exit the EUD and reboot the system. You
must use this option to exit the EUD. Using other methods, such as rebooting or using the command menu,
can destabilize the system.
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2.01 - Download output from the unit an EUD was run on
Field Testing BIG-IP Hardware
An End User Diagnostic or EUD report log is stored as a text file named eud.log in the /shared/log/ directory
on the host file system.
If you have run an EUD Test on the system it will be available in this location. You can connect to the console
IP address of the BIG-IP system and use and SCP tool to get the file off of the system, to upload to the F5
Support case.
2.01 - Interpret the output from an EUD and determine if the test
passed or failed
Field Testing BIG-IP Hardware
When all tests complete correctly, the following message displays:
Completed test with 0 errors.
Objective - 2.02 Interpret the LCD Warning Messages
2.02 - Locate the LCD on an F5 Platform
Operating the LCD Panel
The liquid crystal display, or LCD panel, provides the ability to control the unit without attaching a serial or
network cable. The following menus are available on the LCD panel.
Information menu
Use the Information menu to find information about using the LCD and its functionality.
System menu
Use the System menu to reboot, netboot, or halt the unit. This menu also has options for setting the
properties of the management interface (MGMT) and the serial port
Screens menu
Use the Screens menu to set up the informational screens you would like the LCD to cycle through. The
information screens include system status, statistics, and system alerts.
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Options menu
Use the Options menu to configure the properties of the LCD panel.
The LCD panel is located on the front of all F5 hardware except for the Viprion 2400 Series Chassis. A
separate USB attachable LCD panel is available for the Viprion 2400 Series Chassis.
2.02 - Correlate the LCD message to message in the corresponding
log file
Front panel LED indicator behavior for legacy platforms
Alert conditions
Alerts that affect the behavior of the Alarm LED indicator are defined in the /etc/alertd/alert.conf file. The
lcdwarn function of an alert definition defines which alerts will modify the Alarm LED indicator.
As an example, the default alertd process conditions in BIG-IP version 9.2 are defined in the following table:
Description
Alert Level
LED behavior
CPU Temp too high
3 - Critical
Solid Red
CPU fan too slow
3 - Critical
Solid Red
CPU fan bad
3 - Critical
Solid Red
Chassis Temp too high
3 - Critical
Solid Red
Chassis Fan bad
3 - Critical
Solid Red
Power Supply bad
4 - Emergency
Blink Red
Unit going standby
0 - Warning
Solid Yellow
Unit going Active
0 - Warning
Solid Yellow
The license validation failed
2 - Alert
Solid Red
The license has expired
2 - Alert
Solid Red
Blocking DoS attack
2 - Alert
Solid Red
Hard disk is failing
4 - Emergency
Blink Red
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The events that trigger LCD screen events and lights are written to log files. You may want to look up more
information on the logged events. For example, the BIG-IP system may generate an error messages to the /
var/log/ltm file that contains the following event:
emerg system_check[11277]: 010d0010:0: Power supply #2 fan-1: fan speed (0) is too low.
2.02 - Identify which tasks the buttons on the LCD perform
Pressing the X button puts the LCD panel in Menu. The buttons Left Arrow, Right Arrow, Up Arrow, and Down
Arrow are only functional when the LCD is in Menu mode for navigation. The ✔ check button is used to select
and confirm selections. Objective - 2.03 Identify a possible hardware issue
within the log files
2.03 - Indicate which logs would contain debugging information
Logging
If you are using the Syslog utility for local logging, whether or not you are using the high-speed logging
mechanism you can view and manage the log messages, using the BIG-IP® Configuration utility.
The local Syslog logs that the BIG-IP system can generate include several types of information. For example,
some logs show a timestamp, host name, and service for each event. Moreover, logs sometimes include a
status code, while the audit log shows a user name and a transaction ID corresponding to each configuration
change. All logs contain a one-line description of each event.
For local log messages that the BIG-IP system stores in the local Syslog data base, the BIG-IP system
automatically stores and displays log messages in these categories:
• System messages
• Packet filter messages
• Local Traffic messages
• Global Traffic messages
• BIG-IP system configuration (audit) messages
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Each type of event is stored locally in a separate log file, and the information stored in each log file varies
depending on the event type. All log files for these event types are in the directory /var/log.
The product specific logs like /var/log/ltm, var/log/gtm, etc will contain debug info relative to that product. If
you are logging from an irule you can define what log file you want to write your debug info into by specifying
the local facility you chose.
2.03 - Given a log file, determine the nature of a hardware issue
Event Logging
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
You may look in the logs and see there are many events. Perhaps you notice an event like this:
Mon Feb 14 o4:36:06 PST 2005
bigip2
bcm56xxd(785)
00010012
Link 2.5 is up
This could have been caused by the administrator turning up a new interface or because the interface lost
connectivity to the upstream switch. Some events can be self-explanatory while others may be more cryptic
and need some deciphering.
Understanding log content
The logs that the BIG-IP system generates include several types of information. For example, some logs show
a timestamp, host name, and service for each event. Moreover, logs sometimes include a status code, while
the audit log shows a user name and a transaction ID corresponding to each configuration change. All logs
contain a 1-line description of each event.
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The table below lists the categories of information contained in the logs and the specific logs in which the
information is displayed.
Log information categories and their descriptions
Information
Type
Explanation
Log Type
Timestamp
The time and date that the system logged the event message.
System
Packet Filter
Local Traffic
Audit
Host name
The host name of the system that logged the event message.
Because this is typically the host name of the local machine, the
appearance of a remote host name could be of interest.
System
Packet Filter
Local Traffic
Service
The service that generated the event.
System
Packet Filter
Local Traffic
Status code
The status code associated with the event. Note that only events
logged by BIG-IP system components, and not Linux system
services, have status codes.
Packet Filter
Local Traffic
Description
The description of the event that caused the system to log the
message.
System
Packet Filter
Local Traffic
User Name
The name of the user who made the configuration change.
Audit
Transaction ID
The identification number of the configuration change.
Audit
Event
A description of the configuration change that caused the system to
log the message.
Audit
2.03 - Given a possible issue, determine which log file entries to
review
Viewing and managing log messages are an important part of maintaining a BIG-IP system. Log messages
inform you on a regular basis of the events that are happening on the system. Some of these events pertain
to general events happening within the operating system, while other events are specific to the BIG-IP system,
such as the stopping and starting of BIG-IP system services.
The mechanism that the BIG-IP system uses to log events is the Linux utility syslog-ng. The syslog-ng utility
is an enhanced version of the standard UNIX and Linux logging utility syslog.
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The types of events that the BIG-IP system logs are:
System events
System event messages are based on Linux events, and are not specific to the BIG-IP system.
Packet filter events
Packet filter messages are those that result from the implementation of packet filters and packet-filter rules.
Local traffic events
Local-traffic event messages pertain specifically to the local traffic management system.
Audit events
Audit event messages are those that the BIG-IP system logs as a result of changes to the BIG-IP system
configuration. Logging audit events is optional.
To configure and manage event logging, log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, and on the Main tab, expand
System, and click Logs.
As described in Introducing BIG-IP system logging, the BIG-IP system automatically logs four main event
types: system, packet filter, local traffic, and configuration changes (audit). Each type of event is stored in a
separate log file, and the information stored in each log file varies depending on the event type. All log files
for these event types are in the directory /var/log.
Logging system events
Many events that occur on the BIG-IP system are Linux-related events, and do not specifically apply to the
BIG-IP system.
Using the Configuration utility, you can display these system messages. The table below shows some sample
system log entries.
Sample system log entries
Timestamp
Host
Service
Event
Mon Feb 14 03:34:45 PST 2005
bigip3
syslog-ng[5494]
new configuration initialized
Mon Feb 14 03:35:06 PST 2005
bigip3
syslog-ng[5494]
kjournald starting. Commit interval
5 seconds.
Mon Feb 14 04:38:06 PST 2005
bigip3
EXT3-fs
mounted filesystem with ordered
data mode.
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Logging packet filter events
Some of the events that the BIG-IP system logs are related to packet filtering. The system logs the messages
for these events in the file /var/log/pktfilter.
Using the Configuration utility, you can display these packet filter messages.
Logging local traffic events
Many of the events that the BIG-IP system logs are related to local area traffic passing through the BIG-IP
system. The BIG-IP system logs the messages for these events in the file /var/log/ltm.
Using the Configuration utility, you can display these local-traffic messages. The table below shows some
sample local-traffic log entries.
Sample local-traffic log entries
Timestamp
Host
Service
Status Code
Event
Mon Feb 14 03:34:45 PST 2005
bigip2
bcm56xxd(785)
00010013
Starting packet registry
event timer
Mon Feb 14 03:35:06 PST 2005
bigip2
bcm56xxd(785)
00010013
Starting HA heartbeat
timer tick
Mon Feb 14 04:38:06 PST 2005
bigip2
bcm56xxd(785)
00010013
Successful start. Entering
main message loop
Mon Feb 14 o4:36:06 PST 2005
bigip2
bcm56xxd(785)
00010012
Link 2.5 is up
Some of the specific types of events that the BIG-IP system displays on the Local Traffic logging screen are:
• Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) packet and ARP cache events
• bigdb database events (such as populating and persisting bigdb variables)
• HTTP protocol events
• HTTP compression events
• IP packet discard events due to exceptional circumstances or invalid parameters (such as a bad
checksum)
• Layer 4 events (events related to TCP, UDP, and Fast L4 processing)
• MCP/TMM configuration events
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• Monitor configuration events
• Network events (Layers 1 and 2)
• Packet Velocity® ASIC (PVA) configuration events
• iRule events related to run-time iRule processing
• SSL traffic processing events
• General TMM events such as TMM startup and shutdown
Objective - 2.04 Perform a failover to a standby box
under the appropriate circumstances
2.04 - Explain, under which circumstances, a failover would be used
to determine if an issue is software or hardware related
General Network Study and vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
For example:
If the BIG-IP HA pair is synchronized then the configurations are the same on both systems. If the active
system is having an issue and you can’t find an issue with the other systems in the environment (Client or
Server). The issue may have something to do with the LTM. You could try a fail over of the Active system to the
standby system. If the problem resolves then you are likely faced with an issue in the first system and since
they were in sync it may be hardware. That hardware issue may be in the LTM or in the network systems that
it is connected to. If the fail over did not solve the issue the problem is like a configuration issue and hardware
has been eliminated.
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2.04 - Use failover as a troubleshooting step in an appropriate
situation
General Network Study and vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Since a failover of an HA pair can interrupt current connections of clients and depending on the type of
connection they may have made their connection may not recover from the termination of the connection (if
connection mirroring is not properly configured for long lived connections), using failover as a troubleshooting
step should be done as a last measure. However it can help to narrow down if there is an issue with hardware.
2.04 - Describe the consequences of performing a failover (mirrored
connections, persistent connections)
General Network Study and vLabs
For a failover between systems in an HA pair, to be transparent to the clients currently connected to the
active unit, the state of the active connections need to be known by the standby system. If the connection
states are not know by the standby system when the failover occurs, connections that were being persisted,
connections that were being SNAT’d or any active connection state know by the active unit will not survive
the failover. To create a stateful failover environment the systems must be configured to mirror the current
connection table, persistence records and SNAT table to the standby unit.
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SECTION 3 – TROUBLESHOOT BASIC PERFORMANCE
ISSUES
Objective - 3.01 Perform a packet capture within the
context of a performance issue
A packet capture can be one of the most powerful tools that an administrator has at there command. If you
are not use to doing packet captures or have never done one, you should do them in your vLabs as soon as
possible to start becoming proficient.
Running tcpdump on a busy system
Important: The BIG-IP system is designed as an application delivery network platform and not as a
packet capture device. If you intend to capture traffic under high load conditions, F5 recommends
mirroring traffic to a dedicated sniffing device.
Running tcpdump on a BIG-IP system is considered best effort, as it will place more load on the CPU and
may result in inaccuracies in the tcpdump output, such as missed packets or packet timestamp irregularities.
If you run tcpdump on a heavily loaded BIG-IP system, the packet capture process may not capture all
matching traffic, and the statistical values reported by tcpdump may be inaccurate.
If you run tcpdump on a heavily loaded system, F5 recommends using tcpdump filter expressions to mitigate
the potential for missed packets.
3.01 - Determine an appropriate location to take the capture
Recommended methods and limitations for running tcpdump on a BIG-IP system
An administrator can also do a capture from their workstation. The will gather traffic between the destination
and their workstation, which in most cases is between the virtual server on the LTM and their workstation.
Captures can also be done locally on the F5 BIG-IP platform. Doing a capture on the BIG-IP LTM is very
strategic since you have the ability to capture both sides of the proxied conversation between the workstation
and the back end server resources. Understanding which networks the resources are on for both sides of the
conversation will also allow you to narrow the capture using filters in the tcpdump.
F5 recommends that you run tcpdump on a VLAN when you intend to capture traffic for in-depth
troubleshooting on the BIG-IP system. When the VLAN is specified in the tcpdump syntax, tcpdump can
read packets processed by TMM.
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3.01 - Determine the appropriate time to take capture
Command Line Study in the vLabs
The right time to do a capture can be a catch 22. You need to capture the issue; so a capture needs to be
done while the problem is occurring. Of course sometimes the problem may only be occurring under peak
load. So doing a capture during peak load may be ineffective due to issues mentioned in the opening of this
section. However most of the time you can do the capture when the problem is occurring and tightening up
the amount of data you capture by using filters will help with overhead.
3.01 - Determine an appropriate tool to use
Overview of packet tracing with the tcpdump utility
The tcpdump utility is a command line packet sniffer with many features and options. For a full description,
refer to the tcpdump man pages by typing the following command: man tcpdump
You can read the binary output of a tcpdump using a packet analyzer. Some analyzer software can also be
used to capture traffic as well like Wireshark.
Running the tcpdump utility
Following are examples of commands used to run the tcpdump utility:
Selecting an Interface or VLAN
The tcpdump utility is able to sniff for packets on only one interface or VLAN. By default, it selects the lowest
numbered interface.
To select an interface, use the -i flag, as follows:
tcpdump -i <interface>
For example:
To tcpdump a specific interface:
tcpdump -i 2.1
tcpdump -i 1.10
To tcpdump a specific vlan:
tcpdump -i internal
tcpdump -i external
To tcpdump the management interface:
tcpdump -i eth0
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Note: Do not attempt to run tcpdump on an interface that contains a colon.
For example:
eth0:mgmt
Disabling name resolution
By default, tcpdump attempts to look up IP addresses and use names, rather than numbers, in the output.
The BIG-IP system must wait for a response from the DNS server, so the lookups can be time consuming
and the output may be confusing.
To disable name resolution, use the -n flag as in the following examples:
tcpdump -n
tcpdump -ni internal
Saving tcpdump output to a file
You can save the tcpdump data to one of the following file formats:
A binary file that contains all the information collected by the tcpdump and is readable by the tcpdump utility
as well as many other traffic analysis packages.
A text file that contains a subset of the full tcpdump data, but is readable only as plain text.
When working with F5 Technical Support, you must provide the tcpdump output in the binary file format.
Binary file
To save the tcpdump output to a binary file, type the following command:
tcpdump -w <filename>
For example:
tcpdump -w dump1.bin
Note: The tcpdump utility does not print data to the screen while it is capturing to a file. To stop the
capture, press CTRL-C.
Text file
To save the tcpdump output to a text file, type the following command:
tcpdump ><filename>
For example:
tcpdump >dump1.txt
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Reading tcpdump binary file output
To read data from a binary tcpdump file (that you saved by using the tcpdump -w command), type the
following command:
tcpdump -r <filename>
For example:
tcpdump -r dump1.bin
In this mode, the tcpdump utility reads stored packets from the file, but otherwise operates just as it would if
it were reading from the network interface. As a result, you can use formatting commands and filters.
Beginning in BIG-IP 11.2.0-HF3, 11.2.1-HF3, and 11.3.0, a pseudo header which includes the following
parameters is added to the start of each binary tcpdump capture:
The tcpdump command syntax used, including all options
Version of software
Hostname of the system
Platform ID
Product
Filters
The tcpdump utility allows you to use filters to, among other things, restrict the output to specified addresses,
ports, and tcp flags.
Filtering on a host address
To view all packets that are traveling to or from a specific IP address, type the following command:
tcpdump host <IP address>
For example:
tcpdump host 10.90.100.1
To view all packets that are traveling from a specific IP address, type the following command:
tcpdump src host <IP address>
For example:
tcpdump src host 10.90.100.1
To view all packets that are traveling to a particular IP address, type the following command:
tcpdump dst host <IP address>
For example:
tcpdump dst host 10.90.100.1
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Filtering on a port
To view all packets that are traveling through the BIG-IP system and are either sourced from or destined to a
specific port, type the following command:
tcpdump port <port number>
For example:
tcpdump port 80
To view all packets that are traveling through the BIG-IP system and sourced from a specific port, type the
following command:
tcpdump src port<port number>
For example:
tcpdump src port 80
To view all packets that are traveling through the BIG-IP system and destined to a specific port, type the
following command:
tcpdump dst port <port number>
For example:
tcpdump dst port 80
Filtering on a tcp flag
To view all packets that are traveling through the BIG-IP system that contain the SYN flag, type the following
command:
tcpdump ‘tcp[tcpflags] & (tcp-syn) != 0’
To view all packets that are traveling through the BIG-IP system that contain the RST flag, type the following
command:
tcpdump ‘tcp[tcpflags] & (tcp-rst) != 0’
Combining filters with the ‘and’ operator
You can use the and operator to filter for a mixture of output.
Following are some examples of useful combinations:
tcpdump host 10.90.100.1 and port 80
tcpdump src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80
tcpdump src host 172.16.101.20 and dst host 10.90.100.1
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Capturing packet data
The tcpdump utility provides an option that allows you to specify the amount of each packet to capture.
You can use the -s (snarf/snaplen) option to specify the amount of each packet to capture. To capture the
entire packet, use a value of 0 (zero).
For example:
tcpdump -s0 src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80
Alternatively, you can specify a length large enough to capture the packet data you need to examine.
For example:
tcpdump -s200 src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80
If you are using the tcpdump utility to examine the output on the console during capture or by reading from
an input file with the -r option, you should also use the -X flag to display ASCII encoded output along with the
default HEX encoded output.
For example:
tcpdump -r dump1.bin -X -s200 src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80
Suppressing hostname and port resolution
The tcpdump utility provides an option that allows you to specify whether IP addresses and service ports are
translated to their corresponding hostnames and service names.
Since performing multiple name lookups during a packet capture may be resource intensive, you should
disable name resolution while capturing on a busy system using the -n option.
For example:
tcpdump -n src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80
Service port lookups incur less overhead than DNS-based name resolutions, but still are usually unnecessary
while performing a capture. You can disable both name and service port resolution while performing a
capture, by using the -nn option.
For example:
tcpdump -nn src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80
Combining tcpdump options
This article contains the most essential tcpdump options. You will generally need to use most of the options
in combination.
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Following are examples of how to combine the tcpdump options to provide the most meaningful output:
tcpdump -ni internal -w dump1.bin
tcpdump -ni internal -r dump1.bin host 10.90.100.1
tcpdump -ni 2.1 host 10.90.100.1 and port 80
tcpdump -ni 1.10 src host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 80 >dump1.txt
tcpdump -Xs200 -nni eth0 -w /var/tmp/mgmt.cap dst host 172.16.101.20 and dst port 162
3.01 - Ensure the packet capture tool has the capacity to capture
(driver/tap)
Command Line Study in the vLabs
If you are using a packet capture tool other than tcpdump on the BIG-IP platform you will need to make sure
that the system you are running the capture tool on has access to the local network, which you need to
capture. This may mean that you need to be inline between devices or you may need a network tap or a
span port. If you are capturing the traffic on your workstation you will need to make sure the network card
can support promiscuous mode and has the right drivers to support the capture software.
3.01 - Narrow the scope/context of information being gathered
Command Line Study in the vLabs
Narrowing the capture data by using filters in tcpdump to only capture the needed traffic from nodes in
question can greatly reduce the size of the capture as well as the overhead on the system. You can narrow the
scope of a capture in many ways. Restricting the capture as narrow as possible to gather only the necessary
traffic can sometimes cause you to miss the problem. You may want to start with a full capture of all traffic (as
long as the system can handle it) to pinpoint where the basic problem lies and then narrow the capture data
with filters in Wireshark or other packet analyzer software. And if you have to gather additional captures you
will then know how to narrow based on what you already know about the issue.
3.01 - Given a scenario, determine whether a packet capture is
appropriate
Command Line Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
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There may be times that determining the source of an issue will not require the administrator to do a capture.
When a problem arises look first to the status of the BIG-IP and the configuration. If all of the settings and
statistics look fine, you can then check the client settings and client access restrictions before moving on to
a capture of the network traffic. Objective - 3.02 Use BIG-IP tools in order to identify
potential performance issues
3.02 - Differentiate between performance issue types (i.e. Latency,
Congestion, broken content)
General Network Study
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Latency
Latency is the largest cause of slow Web applications over the WAN or Internet. Latency describes the time
delay experienced while a data packet moves from one point to another, usually caused by physical distance
and high round-trip times. Latency can also be introduced by compute-intensive processing such as SSL
handshaking, bulk encryption/decryption, and TCP session management. Latency can have a profound effect
on application performance, even over networks with abundant bandwidth.
Congestion
Network congestion occurs a node or network is processing so much data that its level of service
deteriorates. The BIG-IP platform has some built in optimizations to help with network congestion. The TCP
profile has a setting to enable Nagles algorithm. Nagles algorithm attempts to reduce network congestion by
aggregating smaller TCP packets into larger ones.
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3.02 - Establish the frequency of a given issue (random, continuous,
isolated, intermittent, repetitive intervals)
General Network Study
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Tracking how often issues occur or for how long an issue is impacting a function can be a telltale sign to what
may be happening. This can be done through the use of logs, statistics, network captures and observation.
For instance an administrator wants to load balance a server that is already functioning in their DMZ. They
spin up a second instance of the server and place both the new and old server behind an LTM pair off of the
DMZ. They use the server’s address on the DMZ network for the virtual server address on the LTM and place
the servers on a new network behind the LTM, with the LTM acting as the servers default gateway. The firewall
administrators add the new server IP addresses to the rule sets allowing all the same server traffic to get to
the servers on the new network.
When the servers are brought on-line the users immediately notice a delay in the transactions to the server. It
seems to be taking about 30 seconds longer than before and is consistent on every transaction. In thinking
through the change in architecture, you would not expect that the F5 platform introduced a 30 delay with each
connection. The time it takes for a DNS query to timeout in many systems is around 30 seconds. On a deeper
look into the logs on the server, it was doing a DNS reverse lookup and it was timing out. The firewall admin
had not added the new network to the DNS rule on the firewall rule set to allow the network nodes to query
their DNS servers.
3.02 - Explain how to get performance statistics in addition to the
those shown in the dashboard (Overview - Performance)
GUI Study in the vLabs
To see additional platform performance information, use the following steps:
In version 11.x of the BIG-IP Configuration Utility:
1. Click Statistics.
2. Click Performance.
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In version 10.x of the BIG-IP Configuration Utility:
1. Click Overview.
2. Click Performance.
All categories are shown under the All tab or you can see the break outs of System, Connections,
Throughput and Cache.
SECTION 4 – TROUBLESHOOT BASIC DEVICE
MANAGEMENT CONNECTIVITY ISSUES
Objective - 4.01 Verify remote connectivity to the box
in order to determine the cause of a management
connectivity issue
4.01 - Isolate potential causes of basic network connectivity issues,
given scenarios related to: client configuration, client network access,
device network access, and network topologies
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
A general knowledge of how devices communicate on IP based networks and basic configuration settings
that are necessary on the client as well as the server environments are critical to being able to support an
ADN environment. An understanding of how networks are designed and where devices are connected in a
network topology are also critical to supporting an ADN environment.
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4.01 - Apply connectivity troubleshooting tools (i.e. ping, traceroute,
http/https availability, remote shell access, network based console
access) in the appropriate situation
General Network Study and vLabs Practice
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Understanding of each of these tools functions and when you should use them to do troubleshooting of
issues is key to administration of any network. An understanding of ways to connect to systems via console
to test connectivity from the remote device on the network is critical as well.
Ping
Ping is a computer network administration utility used to test the reachability of a host on an Internet Protocol
(IP) network and to measure the round-trip time for messages sent from the originating host to a destination
computer. Ping operates by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request packets to the
target host and waiting for an ICMP response.
Traceroute
Traceroute is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route (path) and measuring transit delays
of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network. The history of the route is recorded as the round-trip times
of the packets received from each successive host (remote node) in the route (path); the sum of the mean
times in each hop indicates the total time spent to establish the connection. Traceroute proceeds unless all
(three) sent packets are lost more than twice, then the connection is lost and the route cannot be evaluated.
Traceroute sends a sequence of three Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request packets
addressed to a destination host.
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Objective - 4.02 Check and interpret port lockdown
settings in order to determine the cause of a
management connectivity issue
4.02 - Given a scenario, review port lockdown settings on the Self-IP
to determine the cause of the issue
Overview of port lockdown behavior
Port lockdown is a BIG-IP security feature that allows you to specify particular protocols and services from
which the self-IP address defined on the BIG-IP system can accept traffic.
The port lockdown feature allows you to secure the BIG-IP system from unwanted connection attempts by
controlling the level of access to each self-IP address defined on the system. Each port lockdown list setting
specifies the protocols and services from which a self-IP can accept connections. The system refuses traffic
and connections made to a service or protocol port that is not on the list.
Port lockdown setting definitions:
Allow Default
This option allows access for a pre-defined set of network protocols and services that are typically required in
a BIG-IP deployment.
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The Allow Default setting specifies that connections to the self-IP addresses are allowed from the following
protocols and services:
Allowed protocol
Service
Service definition
OSPF
N/A
N/A
TCP
4353
iQuery
UDP
4353
iQuery
TCP
443
HTTPS
TCP
161
SNMP
UDP
161
SNMP
TCP
22
SSH
TCP
53
DNS
UDP
53
DNS
UDP
520
RIP
UDP
1026
network failover
You can also determine the default supported protocols and services using the following command:
tmsh list net self-allow
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The output will appear similar to the following example:
net self-allow {
defaults {
ospf:any
tcp:domain
tcp:f5query
tcp:https
tcp:snmp
tcp:ssh
udp:520
udp:cap
udp:domain
udp:f5-iquery
udp:snmp
}
}
Allow All
This option specifies that all connections to the self-IP address are allowed, regardless of protocol or service.
Allow None
This option specifies that no connections are allowed on the self IP address, regardless of protocol or service.
However, ICMP traffic is always allowed, and if the BIG-IP systems are configured in a redundant pair, ports
that are listed as exceptions are always allowed from the peer system.
Allow Custom
This option allows you to specify the protocols and services for which connections are allowed on the self-IP
address. However, ICMP traffic is always allowed, and if the BIG-IP systems are configured in a redundant pair,
ports that are listed as exceptions are always allowed from the peer system.
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Important: A known issue prevents connections to the state mirroring address when port tcp:1028 is
explicitly allowed in the custom port lockdown list. For more information, refer to SOL12932: The BIG-IP
system resets statemirror connections when port 1028 is configured in the Self IP Port Lockdown list.
Default port lockdown setting
When creating a self-IP address, the default port lockdown setting in BIG-IP 10.x is Allow Default. In BIG-IP
11.x, the default port lockdown setting is None.
Modifying port lockdown settings for a specific self IP using the Configuration utility
1. Log in to the Configuration utility.
2. Click Network.
3. Click Self-IPs.
4. Click the relevant self-IP address.
5. Select the desired setting from the Port Lockdown box.
6. Click Update.
Modifying port lockdown settings using the tmsh utility
1. Log in to the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) by entering the following command:
tmsh
Note: If you are currently logged in to the tmsh shell, you can skip this step.
2. To modify the port lockdown settings for a self IP address, use the following command:
syntax:modify /net self <self_ip> allow-service <option>
For example, to change the port lockdown setting for self IP address 10.10.10.1 to default, you would
type the following command:
modify /net self 10.10.10.1 allow-service default
3. Save the change by typing the following command:
• BIG-IP 10.1.0 and later:save sys config
• BIG-IP 10.0.x:save config
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4.02 - Describe appropriate use cases for the use of port lockdown
Overview of port lockdown behavior
For optimal security, F5 recommends using the port lockdown feature to allow only the protocols or services
required for a self-IP address.
If you are managing the BIG-IP platform from one of the Self-IP addresses rather than using the out of band
management interface, you run the risk of users having access to the Self-IP address on a port that will allow
administration of the BIG-IP platform. All external facing Self-IP addresses should be restricted to only
necessary ports for the BIG-IP platform to communicate to other necessary BIG-IP platforms or other
necessary network functions such as DNS servers, etc.
Objective - 4.03 Check and interpret packet filters in
order to determine the cause of a management
connectivity issue
4.03 - Determine whether a filter is enabled
Packet filters enhance network security by specifying whether a BIG-IP system interface should accept or
reject certain packets based on criteria that you specify. Packet filters enforce an access policy on incoming
traffic. They apply to incoming traffic only.
You implement packet filtering by creating packet filter rules, using the BIG-IP Configuration utility. The
primary purpose of a packet filter rule is to define the criteria that you want the BIG-IP system to use when
filtering packets.
Examples of criteria that you can specify in a packet filter rule are:
• The source IP address of a packet
• The destination IP address of a packet
• The destination port of a packet
You specify the criteria for applying packet filter rules within an expression. When creating a packet filter rule,
you can instruct the BIG-IP system to build an expression for you, in which case you need only choose the
criteria from predefined lists, or you can write your own expression text, using the syntax of the tcpdump utility.
For more information on the tcpdump utility, see the online man page for the tcpdump command.
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Note: Packet filter rules are unrelated to iRules.
You can also configure global packet filtering that applies to all packet filter rules that you create. The following
sections describe how to use the Configuration utility to set global packet filtering options, as well as create
and manage individual packet filters rules.
To configure and manage packet filtering, log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, and on the Main tab,
expand Network, and click Packet Filters.
Packet filter enabling
Before you can implement packet filtering on the BIG-IP system, you must enable the packet filter feature. You
do this by changing the Packet Filtering setting to Enabled. The default setting for packet filtering is disabled.
4.03 - Interpret a packet filter rule list in a given situation
GUI Study in the vLabs
Packet filter rules
Packet filter rules are criteria statements that the BIG-IP system uses for filtering packets. The BIG-IP system
attempts to match packet filter rules with an incoming packet, and if a match exists, determines whether or
not to accept or reject the packet.
When you create a packet filter rule, you configure several settings, and then define the criteria that you want
the BIG-IP system to use to filter the traffic.
Configuring settings for packet filter rules
You can configure a number of different settings when you create a packet filter rule. Specifying a name.
Order of packet filter rules
You use the Order setting to specify the order in which you want the BIG-IP system to apply existing packet
filter rules. This setting is required.
Possible values for this setting are:
First
Select this value if you want this packet filter rule to be the first rule that the BIG-IP system applies.
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Last
Select this value if you want this packet filter rule to be the last rule that the BIG-IP system applies.
After
Select this value, and then select a packet filter rule from the list, if you want the system to apply this packet
filter after the packet filter that you select from the list. Note that this setting is most useful when you have
more than three packet filter rules configured.
Action
When a packet matches the criteria that you have specified in a packet filter rule, the BIG-IP system can take
a specific action. You define this action using the Action setting.
You can choose one of these actions:
Accept
Select Accept if you want the system to accept the packet, and stop processing additional packet filter rules,
if any exist. This is the default setting.
Discard
Select Discard if you want the system to drop the packet, and stop processing additional packet filter rules,
if any exist.
Reject
Select Reject if you want the system to drop the packet, and also send a rejection packet to the sender,
indicating that the packet was refused. Note that the behavior of the system when you select the Reject action
depends on how you configured the general packet filter Options property Send ICMP Error on Packet Reject.
Continue
Select Continue if you simply want the system to acknowledge the packet for logging or statistical purposes.
Setting the Action value to Continue does not affect the way that the BIG-IP system handles the packet; the
system continues to evaluate traffic matching a rule, starting with the next packet filter rule in the list.
Rate class assignment
Using the Rate Class setting, you can assign a rate class to traffic that matches the criteria defined in a packet
filter rule. Note that this setting applies only when you have the rate-shaping feature enabled.
The default value for this setting is None. If you previously created rate classes using the rate-shaping feature,
you can choose one of those rate classes from the Rate Class list.
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One or more VLANs
You use the Apply to VLAN setting to display a list of VLANs and then select a VLAN or VLAN group name.
Selecting a VLAN from the list means that the packet filter rule filters ingress traffic from that VLAN only. For
example, if you select the value *All VLANS, the BIG-IP system applies the packet filter rule to all traffic coming
into the BIG-IP system.
Similarly, if you select the VLAN internal, the BIG-IP system applies the packet filter rule to traffic from VLAN
internal only. The default value is *All VLANS.
If you select the name of a VLAN group instead of an individual VLAN, the packet filter rule applies to all
VLANs in that VLAN group.
Logging
If you want to generate a log message each time a packet matches a rule, you can enable logging for the
packet filter rule. With this configuration, you can then display the Logging screen in the Configuration utility
and view events related to packet filtering.
Creating a filter expression
To match incoming packets, the BIG-IP system must use a filter expression. A filter expression specifies the
criteria that you want the BIG-IP system to use when filtering packets. For example, the BIG-IP system can
filter packets based on the source or destination IP address in the header of a packet.
Using the Configuration utility, you can create a filter expression in either of two ways:
You can write your own expression, using a Filter Expression box.
You can specify a set of criteria (such as source or destination IP addresses) that you want the BIG-IP system
to use when filtering packets. When you use this method, the BIG-IP system builds a filter expression for you.
You can have as many rules as you want, limited only by the available memory. Of course, the more
statements you have, the more challenging it is to understand and maintain your packet filters. 53
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Objective - 4.04 Given the use of a remote
authentication server, verify proper DNS settings in
order to diagnose a connectivity issue
Remote Server Authentication
Remote Authentication Intro:
A significant feature of BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager is its ability to support Pluggable Authentication Module
(PAM) technology. PAM technology allows you to choose from a number of different authentication and
authorization schemes to use to authenticate or authorize network traffic.
The goal of PAM technology is to separate an application, such as the BIG-IP system, from its underlying
authentication technology. This means that you can dictate the particular authentication/authorization
technology that you want the BIG-IP system to use to authenticate application traffic coming into the BIG-IP
system.
To this end, Local Traffic Manager offers several authentication schemes, known as authentication modules.
These authentication modules allow you to use a remote system to authenticate or authorize application
requests that pass through the BIG-IP system.
Note: The BIG-IP system normally routes remote authentication traffic through a Traffic Management
Microkernel (TMM) switch interface (that is, an interface associated with a VLAN and a self-IP address),
rather than through the management interface. Therefore, if the TMM service has been stopped for any
reason, remote authentication is not available until the service is running again.
To configure and manage authentication profiles, log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, and on the Main tab,
expand Local Traffic, and click Authentication.
BIG-IP system authentication modules
Local Traffic Manager authentication modules that you can implement for remote authentication are:
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
Local Traffic Manager can authenticate or authorize network traffic using data stored on a remote LDAP server
or a Microsoft® Windows® Active Directory® server. Client credentials are based on basic HTTP authentication
(user name and password).
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Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS)
Local Traffic Manager can authenticate network traffic using data stored on a remote RADIUS server. Client
credentials are based on basic HTTP authentication (user name and password).
TACACS+
Local Traffic Manager can authenticate network traffic using data stored on a remote TACACS+ server. Client
credentials are based on basic HTTP authentication (user name and password).
SSL client certificate LDAP
Local Traffic Manager can authorize network traffic using data stored on a remote LDAP server. Client
credentials are based on SSL certificates, as well as defined user groups and roles.
Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP)
Local Traffic Manager can check on the revocation status of a client certificate using data stored on a remote
OCSP server. Client credentials are based on SSL certificates.
Certificate Revocation List Distribution Point (CRLDP)
Local Traffic Manager can use CRL distribution points to determine revocation status.
Kerberos Delegation
Local Traffic Manager can authenticate application traffic when you are using Microsoft® Windows® Integrated
Authentication.
4.04 - Given a suspected DNS issue, use appropriate tools to verify
proper settings
GUI Study in the vLabs
Configuring the BIG-IP system to resolve DNS hostnames (11.x)
For the BIG-IP platform to connect to a node by name or to get to any system for any reason by the server’s
DNS name, a DNS server must be configured on BIG-IP’s settings. The BIG-IP system uses two sources of
information to resolve host names: the hosts file and DNS. The BIG-IP system first refers to the local /etc/
hosts file. If the host name is not found in the /etc/hosts file, the BIG-IP system uses DNS if configured to do
so. The following procedures help you configure the BIG-IP system to use DNS.
Using the BIG-IP Configuration utility is the preferred method of configuring a DNS remote lookup server.
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Impact of procedure: Performing the following procedure should not have a negative impact on your system.
3. Log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility.
4. Click System.
5. Click Configuration.
6. Click Device.
7. Click DNS.
8. In the DNS Lookup Server List section, type the IP address of your remote DNS lookup server.
9. Click Add.
10. Complete the change by clicking Update.
This same procedure can be used to modify the BIND Forwarder Server List or DNS Search Domain List. If
this setting is not configured then resolving a DNS name from the BIG-IP platform will fail, including resolving
the name of the remote authentication server for remote authentication.
4.04 - Given a suspected DNS issue, use appropriate tools to verify
DNS response
GUI Study in the vLabs
If the DNS issue is related to the BIG-IP platform connecting to a DNS name you can check to make sure that
the system is able to resolve names. From the command prompt you can do a NSLOOKUP of a server name,
or you can DIG the server name. Both of these tools are found on the BIG-IP platform.
nslookup example:
nslookup www.stonegreyband.com
Server: 192.168.69.1
Address:192.168.69.1#53
Non-authoritative answer:
www.stonegreyband.com
canonical name = stonegreyband.com.
Name: stonegreyband.com
Address: 71.251.96.82
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Dig Example:
dig www.stonegreyband.com
; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> www.stonegreyband.com
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 24965
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;www.stonegreyband.com.
IN
A
;; ANSWER SECTION:
www.stonegreyband.com.
stonegreyband.com.
495
3495
IN
IN
A
CNAMEstonegreyband.com.
71.251.96.82
;; Query time: 4 msec
;; SERVER: 192.168.69.1#53(192.168.69.1)
;; WHEN: Thu Jan 9 22:41:06 2014
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 69
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SECTION 5 – OPEN A SUPPORT TICKET WITH F5
Objective - 5.01 Identify the appropriate supporting
components and severity levels for an F5 support
ticket
5.01 - Identify the necessary components for all support cases
(Qkview uploaded to iHealth/ or attached to case, serial number of
device, problem description, other supporting data)
Information required when opening a support case for BIG-IP LTM, AFM, GTM, Link Controller, and PEM
F5 Technical Support can help resolve issues more quickly when you provide a full description of the issue
and the details of your configuration. To help you gather all the required information, use the following
guidelines to prepare for opening a case:
General Information
Provide the following information when you open a case with F5 Technical Support:
1. A full description of the issue, including the following details:
• The symptoms of the issue
• The approximate time the issue first occurred
• The number of times the issue has recurred
• Any error output provided by the system
• Steps to reproduce the issue
• Any changes you made to the system before the issue first occurred
• Any steps you have attempted to resolve the issue
2. A description of the impact the issue is having on your site, using the following definitions:
• Site Down - All network traffic has ceased, causing a critical impact to your business.
• Site at Risk - Primary unit has failed resulting in no redundancy. Site is at risk of going down.
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• Performance Degraded - Network traffic is partially functional causing some applications to be
unreachable.
3. The hours that you are available to work on the issue and any alternative contacts that can work on the
issue if you are not available.
4. Remote access information, if possible.
• Remote access to your network environment is important, because it is the most effective method
for collecting information and troubleshooting technical issues. If you cannot provide remote
access, F5 Technical Support will work directly with you to resolve the issue over the phone;
however, this method can often be more time consuming and may require file transfers, replication,
and additional testing.
Collect the following information from the affected systems and provide the information when you open the case.
qkview or “tech.out” file
The qkview utility is a BIG-IP program that an administrator can use to automatically collect
configuration and diagnostic information from BIG-IP and Enterprise Manager systems.
Starting in BIG-IP 10.0.0, the qkview utility is an executable program that generates machine-readable
(XML) diagnostic data from the BIG-IP or Enterprise Manager system and combines the data into a
single compressed tar file. The diagnostic file can then be uploaded to BIG-IP iHealth, or given to F5
Technical Support to aid in troubleshooting.
Note: If you are running BIG-IP version 10.x or later, you can use BIG-IP iHealth to diagnose a qkview
file. BIG-IP iHealth diagnoses the health and proper operation of your BIG-IP system when you upload
the qkview file to the BIG-IP iHealth website. For more information, refer to the BIG-IP iHealth website.
Log files
Note: The qkview utility automatically gathers 5MB of log files and includes them with qkview in a .tar
output.
If the systems logs are heavy and more of the logs are needed, provide all the log files on the system
by performing the following procedure:
Log in to the command line.
Create a tar archive named logfiles.tar.gz in the /var/tmp directory which contains all the files in
the /var/log directory, by typing the following command:
tar -czpf /var/tmp/logfiles.tar.gz /var/log/*
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Packet traces
If the issue involves the network, perform a packet trace while the issue is occurring and provide the
packet trace when you open the case.
Note: For more information about performing packet traces with tcpdump, refer to SOL4714:
Performing a packet trace and providing the results to F5 Technical Support.
UCS archive
If you cannot give F5 Technical Support remote access to your system, you may need to provide a
UCS archive of the current configuration. For more information, refer to SOL4423: Overview of UCS
archives.
Core files
Core files contain the contents of the system memory at the time a crash occurred. If the system has
been configured to save core files, they will be located in the /var/savecore directory (BIG-IP versions
9.0 through 9.2.5) or /var/core directory (BIG-IP versions 9.3 and later). Provide any existing core
files when you open the case.
Note: For information about requirements when submitting core files to F5, refer to SOL10062:
Submitting core files for analysis to F5 Technical Support.
5.01 - Identify severity levels and the associated response times
Guidelines and Policies
All F5 Network Support Centers uphold the following case severity definitions and target response times to
ensure that the appropriate resources are used to resolve all technical issues as efficiently as possible. F5
will endeavor to respond to Severity 1 and Severity 2 issues within one hour. Understanding that unforeseen
events could delay attempts, F5 expects that the majority of Severity 1 and Severity 2 issues will be
responded to within this service level. Initial response is defined as the time from when the F5 case was
created to when a Network Support Engineer first attempts to contact the case contact for troubleshooting
and updates the case log reflecting this action.
Severity 1
1-hour response - Software or hardware conditions on your F5 device are preventing the execution of
critical business activities. The device will not power up or is not passing traffic.
Severity 2
1-hour response - Software or hardware conditions on your F5 device are preventing or significantly
impairing high-level commerce or business activities.
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Severity 3
4-business hour response - Software or hardware conditions on your F5 device are creating
degradation of service or functionality in normal business or commerce activities.
Severity 4
24-hour response - Questions regarding configurations (“how to”), troubleshooting non-critical issues,
or requests for product functionality that is not part of the current product feature set.
When a case is logged as Severity 1, F5 Network Support Managers are immediately notified to ensure the
case is assigned within the appropriate timeframe to an appropriately skilled Network Support Engineer.
Objective - 5.02 Given an issue, determine the
appropriate severity
Guidelines and Policies
Severity 1
Software or hardware conditions on your F5 device are preventing the execution of critical business
activities. The device will not power up or is not passing traffic.
Severity 2
Software or hardware conditions on your F5 device are preventing or significantly impairing high-level
commerce or business activities.
Severity 3
Software or hardware conditions on your F5 device are creating degradation of service or functionality
in normal business or commerce activities.
Severity 4
Questions regarding configurations (“how to”), troubleshooting non-critical issues, or requests for
product functionality that is not part of the current product feature set.
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Objective - 5.03 Provide quantitative and relevant
information appropriate for a given issue
5.03 - Distinguish between qualitative/quantitative statements in order
to assemble an accurate problem description
General Network Study
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Quantitative observations are observations that can be precisely measured. (i.e. There is taking an additional
20 seconds per connection over the connection times this morning.)
Qualitative observations have more to do with characteristics of what is being observed. (i.e. It seems to be
taking longer to connect than it did this morning.)
5.03 - Distinguish between relevant/irrelevant information in order to
assemble an accurate problem description
General Network Study
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Is the information that you are gathering relative to the issue you are experiencing? Troubleshooting can lead
to many rat holes where you can get lost from the real issues.
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Objective - 5.04 Given a scenario, determine the
proper F5 escalation method
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Evaluate your current network state and understand the Severity levels in section 5.02 to understand at what
level your issue should be categorized. Realize that even though you have an issue with your environment not
all issues are a Severity 1 issue. Be realistic with your assessment and be ready to categorize issues on the
exam.
SECTION 6 – IDENTIFY AND REPORT CURRENT
DEVICE STATUS
Objective - 6.01 Review the network map in order to
determine the status of objects on the box
6.01 - Explain the status icons of objects on the map
Introducing BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
The Configuration utility includes a feature known as the network map. The network map shows a summary
of local traffic objects, as well as a visual map of the virtual servers, pools, and pool members on the BIG-IP
system. For both the local traffic summary and the network map, you can customize the display using a
search mechanism that filters the information that you want to display, according to criteria that you specify.
The system highlights in blue all matches from a search operation.
Object summary
When you first open the Network Map screen, the screen displays a summary of local traffic objects. This
summary includes the type of objects specified with the search mechanism, the number of each type of
object, and, for each object type, the number of objects with a given status.
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The summary displays data for these object types:
• Virtual servers
• Pools
• Pool members
• Nodes
• iRules
Note: A local traffic summary includes only those objects that are referenced by a virtual server. For
example, if you have configured a pool on the system but there is no virtual server that references that
pool, the local traffic summary does not include that pool, its members, or the associated nodes in the
summary.
The diagram below shows an example of a network map screen that summarizes local traffic objects on the
system.
For each object type listed in the summary, the system shows the number of objects with each type of status.
Table 1.3 shows the various status indicators that the summary screen can display for a local traffic object.
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Table 1.3 Explanation of status icons in a local traffic summary
Status
indicator
Explanation
The objects are enabled and available (able to receive traffic).
The objects are enabled but are currently unavailable. However, the objects might become
available later, with no user action required.
An example of an object showing this status is a virtual server whose connection limit has
been exceeded. When the number of connections falls below the configured limit, the virtual
server becomes available again.
The objects are enabled but offline because an associated object has marked the object as
unavailable. To change the status so that the object can receive traffic, you must actively
enable the object.
The status of the objects is unknown.
The network map display
The network map presents a visual hierarchy of the names and status of virtual servers, pools, pool members,
nodes, and iRules defined on the system. The map shows all objects in context, starting with the virtual
servers at the top. The Status, Type, and Search settings at the top of the screen determine the objects that
the map includes.
When you position the cursor over an object on the map, the system presents hover text containing
information about the object. When you position the cursor over the status icon accompanying an object, the
system presents hover text containing information about the object’s status, text which also appears on the
pool’s Properties screen. The system arranges objects in alphabetic order, and organizes the dependent
objects in a hierarchy. Due to the way that a network map presents objects in context, the updated screen
also shows objects of other statuses, types, and names that relate to those objects. This is because a
network map always shows objects in context with the objects that depend on them, and the objects they
depend on.
For example, if you have an available virtual server with an available pool and two pool members, one
available and one offline, then selecting Offline from the Status list causes the system to show the offline pool
member in context with the available virtual server and the available pool. This is because the available virtual
server and the available pool depend on the offline pool member.
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6.01 - Explain what virtual servers, pools, nodes and pool members
are
Virtual Servers
Virtual Server
A virtual server is a traffic-management object on the BIG-IP system that is represented by an IP address and
a service. Clients on an external network can send application traffic to a virtual server, which then directs the
traffic according to your configuration instructions. The main purpose of a virtual server is often to balance
traffic load across a pool of servers on an internal network. Virtual servers increase the availability of resources
for processing client requests.
Not only do virtual servers distribute traffic across multiple servers, they also treat varying types of traffic
differently, depending on your traffic-management needs. For example, a virtual server can enable
compression on HTTP request data as it passes through the BIG-IP system, or decrypt and re-encrypt SSL
connections and verify SSL certificates. For each type of traffic, such as TCP, UDP, HTTP, SSL, SIP, and FTP,
a virtual server can apply an entire group of settings, to affect the way that Local Traffic Manager manages
that traffic type.
A virtual server can also enable session persistence for a specific traffic type. Through a virtual server, you
can set up session persistence for HTTP, SSL, SIP, and MSRDP sessions, to name a few.
Finally, a virtual server can apply an iRule, which is a user-written script designed to inspect and direct
individual connections in specific ways. For example, you can create an iRule that searches the content of a
TCP connection for a specific string and, if found, directs the virtual server to send the connection to a specific
pool or pool member.
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To summarize, a virtual server can do the following:
• Distribute client requests across multiple servers to balance server load
• Apply various behavioral settings to a specific type of traffic
• Enable persistence for a specific type of traffic
• Direct traffic according to user-written iRules
Pools
Pool and Pool Members
A load balancing pool is a logical set of devices, such as web servers, that you group together to receive and
process traffic. Instead of sending client traffic to the destination IP address specified in the client request,
Local Traffic Manager sends the request to any of the servers that are members of that pool. This helps to
efficiently distribute the load on your server resources.
When you create a pool, you assign pool members to the pool. A pool member is a logical object that
represents a physical node (server), on the network. You then associate the pool with a virtual server on the
BIG-IP system. Once you have assigned a pool to a virtual server, Local Traffic Manager directs traffic coming
into the virtual server to a member of that pool. An individual pool member can belong to one or multiple
pools, depending on how you want to manage your network traffic.
The specific pool member that the Local Traffic Manager chooses to send the request to is determined by
the load balancing method that you have assigned to the pool. A load balancing method is an algorithm that
Local Traffic Manager uses to select a pool member for processing a request. For example, the default load
balancing method is Round Robin, which causes Local Traffic Manager to send each incoming request to the
next available member of the pool, thereby distributing requests evenly across the servers in the pool.
To configure and manage pools, log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, and on the Main tab, expand Local
Traffic, and click Pools.
Nodes
Nodes
A node is a logical object on the BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager system that identifies the IP address of a
physical resource on the network. You can explicitly create a node, or you can instruct Local Traffic Manager
to automatically create one when you add a pool member to a load balancing pool.
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The difference between a node and a pool member is that a node is designated by the devices IP address
only (10.10.10.10), while designation of a pool member includes an IP address and a service (such as
10.10.10:80).
A primary feature of nodes is their association with health monitors. Like pool members, nodes can be
associated with health monitors as a way to determine server status. However, a health monitor for a pool
member reports the status of a service running on the device, whereas a health monitor associated with a
node reports status of the device itself.
For example, if an ICMP health monitor is associated with node 10.10.10.10, which corresponds to pool
member 10.10.10.10:80, and the monitor reports the node as being in a down state, then the monitor also
reports the pool member as being down. Conversely, if the monitor reports the node as being in an up state,
then the monitor reports the pool member as being either up or down, depending on the status of the service
running on it.
Nodes are the basis for creating a load balancing pool. For any server that you want to be part of a load
balancing pool, you must first create a node, that is, designate that server as a node. After designating the
server as node, you can add the node to a pool as a pool member. You can also associate a health monitor
with the node, to report the status of that server.
To configure and manage nodes, log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, and on the Main tab, expand Local
Traffic, and click Nodes. Objective - 6.02 Use the dashboard to gauge the
current running status of the system
6.02 - Interpret each of the statistic types displayed by the
dashboard
GUI Study in the vLabs
The main Dashboard screen is of the system overview. This screen displays a graphical representation of
CPU utilization, Memory utilization, Connections and Throughput of the system.
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6.02 - Given a situation, predict the appropriate dashboard statistics
GUI Study in the vLabs
Understand what situations and which configurations will affect the different areas of the Dashboard statistics.
For example, the more features that are provisioned on the BIG-IP platform the higher the base Memory
utilization will be. Also, if ASM is running on the BIG-IP the CPU utilization my get higher as additional policies
are added to the configuration under load.
Objective - 6.03 Review log files in order to gauge the
current operational status of the device
6.03 - Given log file snippets, describe an event sequence
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Get familiar with looking at the event logs on the BIG-IP and learn to reconstruct what has happened recently
based on the events in the logs.
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6.03 - Given log file snippets, identify critical events
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Get familiar with looking at the event logs on the BIG-IP and be able to identify critical events. This may be
hard to do in the lab unless you are cresting your own system errors. Possible do the opposite and get used
to seeing what is there when all is good and then the errors will stand out. Objective - 6.04 Use iApps Analytics to gauge the
current running status of application services
6.04 - Explain the purpose of iApps Analytics
What is Analytics?
Analytics (also called Application Visibility and Reporting) is a module on the BIG-IP® system that lets you
analyze performance of web applications. It provides detailed metrics such as transactions per second, server
and client latency, request and response throughput, and sessions. You can view metrics for applications,
virtual servers, pool members, URLs, specific countries, and additional detailed statistics about application
traffic running through the BIG-IP system.
Transaction counters for response codes, user agents, HTTP methods, countries, and IP addresses provide
statistical analysis of the traffic that is going through the system. You can capture traffic for examination and
have the system send alerts so you can troubleshoot problems and immediately react to sudden changes.
The Analytics module also provides remote logging capabilities so that your company can consolidate
statistics gathered from multiple BIG-IP appliances onto syslog servers or SIEM devices, such as Splunk.
About Analytics profiles
An Analytics profile is a set of definitions that determines the circumstances under which the system gathers,
logs, notifies, and graphically displays information regarding traffic to an application. The Analytics module
requires that you select an Analytics profile for each application you want to monitor. You associate the
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Analytics profile with one or more virtual servers used by the application, or with an iApps™ application
service. Each virtual server can have only one Analytics profile associated with it.
In the Analytics profile, you customize:
• What statistics to collect
• Where to collect data (locally, remotely, or both)
• Whether to capture the traffic itself
• Whether to send notifications
The BIG-IP® system includes a default Analytics profile called analytics. It is a minimal profile that internally
logs application statistics for server latency, throughput, response codes, and methods. You can create
custom Analytics profiles for each application if you want to track different data for each one.
Charts shown in the Overview > Statistics > Analytics screen display the application data saved for all
Analytics profiles associated with iApps application services or virtual servers on the system. You can filter
the information, for example, by application or URL. You can also drill down into the specifics on the charts,
and click the tabs to further refine the information in the charts.
Overview: Setting up application statistics collection
This implementation describes how to set up the BIG-IP system to collect application performance statistics.
The system can collect application statistics locally, remotely, or both. You use these statistics for
troubleshooting and improving application performance.
You can collect application statistics for one or more virtual servers or for an iApps application service. If
virtual servers are already configured, you can specify them when setting up statistics collection. If you want
to collect statistics for an iApps application service, you should first set up statistics collection, creating an
Analytics profile, and then create the application service.
The system can send alerts regarding the statistics when thresholds are exceeded, and when they cross back
into the normal range. You can customize the threshold values for transactions per second, latency, page load
time, and throughput.
6.04 - Describe how to capture application statistics
You can examine the statistics on the Analytics charts when Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) is
provisioned. The system recalculates the Analytics statistics and updates the charts every five minutes.
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Before you can look at the application statistics, you need to have created an Analytics profile so that the
system is capturing the application statistics internally on the BIG-IP® system. You must associate the
Analytics profile with one or more virtual servers (in the Analytics profile or in the virtual server). If you created
an iApp application service, the template provided allows you to associate the virtual server. To view Analytics
statistics properly, Adobe Flash Player must be installed on the computer where you plan to view them.
6.04 - Given a current running status, recognize significant statistics
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
Get familiar with looking at the status information in Statistics – Module Statistics – Local Traffic under the
different Statistics Types drop menu on the BIG-IP and be able to identify significant statistic levels. This may
be hard to do in the lab unless you are pushing load through the unit. Get used to how the reports look and
how to read them. SECTION 7 – MAINTAIN SYSTEM CONFIGURATION
Objective - 7.01 Create and restore a UCS archive
under the appropriate circumstances
7.01 - Discuss scenarios in which restoring a UCS archive is appropriate
Once you have created the configuration data for the BIG-IP system, you can replicate all of this set of data in
a separate file. You can then use this replicated data later, for these reasons:
As an archive for disaster recovery
Using the Archives feature, you can back up the current configuration data, and if necessary, restore the data
at a later time. We highly recommend that you use this feature to mitigate the potential loss of BIG-IP system
configuration data. To create an archive, you can use the Configuration utility, which stores the configuration
data in a special file known as a user configuration set, or UCS file. You can then use the UCS file to recover
from any loss of data, in the unlikely event that you need to do so.
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7.01 - Discuss the tasks involved in successfully restoring a UCS
archive
Restoring configuration data by using the Configuration utility
There are a few different ways to do a UCS restore on a BIG-IP platform.
Restoring configuration data by using the Configuration utility
Impact of procedure: The BIG-IP system replaces any existing configuration with the UCS archive file
configuration.
If you are restoring a UCS archive on a BIG-IP 6400, 6800, 8400, or 8800 hardware platform other than the
system from which the backup was created, such as when replacing an RMA system, you must perform the
procedure in the “Restoring configuration data from the command line by using the tmsh utility” section of this
article to restore the configuration.
To restore a configuration in a UCS archive by using the Configuration utility, review the considerations
described in the Considerations for restoring configuration data section of this article before performing the
following procedure:
1. Log in to the Configuration utility.
2. Click System.
3. Click Archives.
4. Click the name of the UCS archive you want to restore.
5. If the UCS archive is encrypted, type the passphrase for the encrypted UCS archive file in the Restore
Passphrase field. If the UCS archive is not encrypted, you can skip this step.
6. To initiate the UCS archive restore process, click Restore.
7. When the restore process is completed, examine the status page for any reported errors before
proceeding to the next step.
8. To return to the Archive List page, click OK.
If you restored the UCS archive on a different device and received the errors noted in the “Considerations for
restoring configuration data” section of this article, you must reactivate the BIG-IP system license.
After relicensing the system, restart the system to ensure that the configuration is fully loaded. To restart the
system, navigate to System > Configuration, and then click Reboot.
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If the system you restored contains the FIPS 140 HSM, you must configure the FIPS 140 HSM Security World
after completing steps 1 through 9. For additional information about recovering FIPS information after a
system recovery, refer to the Configuring and Maintaining a FIPS Security Domain chapter in the Platform
Guide: 6900 and 8900.
Restoring configuration data from the command line by using the tmsh utility
Impact of procedure: The BIG-IP system replaces any existing configuration with the UCS archive file
configuration.
1. Log in to tmsh by typing the following command:
tmsh
2. Restore the UCS archive file by using the following command syntax. Replace <path/to/UCS> with
the full path of the UCS archive file you want to restore:
load /sys ucs <path/to/UCS>
If you do not specify the path, the BIG-IP system performs as if the UCS archive file is located in the
default /var/local/ucs directory.
3. If the UCS archive file was encrypted with a passphrase during the backup, you are prompted to enter
the passphrase for the archive file.
4. If you are running BIG-IP on a 6400, 6800, 8400, or 8800 hardware platform, type the following
command to switch to the bash shell:
run /util bash
5. Type the following command to verify that the new or replaced secure shell (SSH) keys from the UCS
file are synchronized between the BIG-IP system and the Switch Card Control Processor (SCCP):
keyswap.sh sccp
6. Type the following command to switch back to tmsh:
exit
7. Restart the system by typing the following command:
reboot
If you installed the UCS archive on the same device on which the backup was created, it loads the
restored configuration after the system restarts. If you restored the backup on a different device and
received the first error noted in the Considerations for restoring configuration data section of this article,
you must reactivate the BIG-IP system license. Alternatively, you can replace the /config/bigip.license
file with the original bigip.license file that you backed up from the target system.
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8. If the system you restored contains the FIPS 140 HSM, you must configure the FIPS 140 HSM Security
World after completing steps 1 through 5. For additional information about recovering FIPS information
after a system recovery, refer to the Configuring and Maintaining a FIPS Security Domain chapter in the
Platform Guide: 6900 and 8900.
Restoring configuration data on a replacement RMA unit
F5 recommends that you use the following procedure when you restore the archive on a different device than
the system on which the backup was created, such as an RMA system. If you do not use this procedure when
restoring the archive on a different device, the configuration load may fail and the mcpd process generates an
error message that appears similar to the following example to both stdout and the /var/log/ltm file:
mcpd[2395]: 01070608:0: License is not operational(expired or digital signature
does not match contents)
F5 expects this message, and you can correct the issue by re-licensing the system, which is discussed later
in the procedure.
Impact of procedure: The BIG-IP system replaces any existing configuration with the UCS archive file
configuration.
1. Activate the license on the unit according to the steps detailed in SOL7752: Overview of licensing the
BIG-IP system.
2. Log in to tmsh by typing the following command:
tmsh
3. Restore the UCS archive file by using the following command syntax. Replace <path/to/UCS> with the
full path of the UCS archive file you want to restore:
load /sys ucs <path/to/UCS> no-license
If you do not specify the path, the BIG-IP system performs as if the UCS archive file is located in the
default /var/local/ucs directory.
4. If the UCS archive file was encrypted with a passphrase during the backup, you are prompted to enter
the passphrase for the archive file.
5. If you are running the BIG-IP system on a 6400, 6800, 8400, or 8800 hardware platform, switch to the
bash utility by entering the following command:
run /util bash
6. To verify that the new or replaced SSH keys from the UCS file are synchronized between the BIG-IP
and the SCCP, enter the following command:
keyswap.sh sccp
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7. To switch back to tmsh, type the following command:
exit
8. Restart the system by typing the following command:
reboot
9. If the system you restored contains the FIPS 140 HSM, you must configure the FIPS 140 HSM Security
World after completing steps 1 through 5. For additional information about recovering FIPS information
after a system recovery, refer to the Configuring and Maintaining a FIPS Security Domain chapter in the
Platform Guide: 6900 and 8900.
Restoring UCS archives on BIG-IP systems running later software versions
Impact of procedure: The BIG-IP system replaces any existing configuration with the UCS archive file
configuration.
F5 recommends that the BIG-IP system run the same version of the BIG-IP software from which it was
backed up. However, in some cases, it is possible to restore a UCS archive that was obtained from an earlier
software version on a target BIG-IP system running a later software version. For example, if you saved a UCS
archive on a system running BIG-IP 10.2.3, it is possible to restore the version BIG-IP 10.2.3 archive file on a
BIG-IP system running 11.x. To restore a UCS archive on a BIG-IP system running a later software version,
perform the following procedure:
1. Verify that a supported upgrade path exists between the software version from which the UCS archive
was obtained and the software version running on the target system.
For example, there is a supported upgrade path between BIG-IP 10.x and BIG-IP 11.x. As a result,
you can successfully restore a BIG-IP 10.x UCS archive file on a BIG-IP system running 11.x. However,
there is no supported upgrade path between BIG-IP 9.x and BIG-IP 11.x. As a result, you cannot
restore a BIG-IP 9.x UCS archive file on a BIG-IP system running 11.x.
For information about supported upgrade paths, refer to the product release notes for your specific
software version.
2. Review the previous section, Considerations for restoring configuration data.
3. Manually copy the UCS archive file to the /var/local/ucs/ directory on the target system.
4. Restore the UCS archive on the BIG-IP system:
• If you are restoring the archive on a different device than the system on which the backup was
created, follow the “Restoring configuration data on a replacement RMA unit” procedure.
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• If you are restoring the archive on a different device than the system on which the backup was
created, follow the “Restoring configuration data from the command line by using the tmsh utility”
procedure.
7.01 - Given a scenario, discuss when it is appropriate to create a
UCS archive
GUI Study in the vLabs
Any time the system administrator makes changes to the configuration of the system a UCS archive should
be taken prior to the change and after the change. This will allow for a restore to the point prior to the change
and also provides a backup of the new current state. This should be done on both the Active and stand by
systems in an HA pair.
Objective - 7.02 Identify the components and methods
associated with automating and scheduling tasks
with Enterprise Manager
7.02 - Identify which tasks can be automated using EM
Enterprise Manager Overview
You can select, stage, and automate common operational tasks, including:
• Configuration
• Certificate management
• Software updates
• Node management
• Policy control
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7.02 - Identify which sub-tasks exist (i.e. install a hotfix but not reboot
into the newly upgraded volume, etc.)
Managing Software Images
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
In an Enterprise Manager task, such as one that installs new software to a BIG-IP platform, there may be follow
on tasks or Task Options necessary for the installation to be complete. A “sub-task” to a software install may
be to reboot the system, found in the task options section.
7.02 - Outline EM’s method of creating automated UCS archives
Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide, version 1.0
Enterprise Manager saves UCS files to a UCS archive. You can create a task to save UCS archives for devices
at regularly scheduled intervals. Archives that are created and saved on a schedule are called, rotating
archives. When the system creates rotating archives, it compares the most recently stored UCS archive file
to the current configuration on the device at the specified interval. If there are any differences, Enterprise
Manager stores a copy of the current configuration in a UCS archive. If there are no differences, Enterprise
Manager does not store an additional copy of the current configuration, which leaves you room to store a
higher number of unique historical UCS archives. When Enterprise Manager reaches the maximum number
of archives specified to store, it deletes the oldest archive in the rotating archive list. By default, Enterprise
Manager stores up to 10 rotating archives each, for itself and every managed device.
Another option for archive storage is to create an archive of a specific UCS for a device, referred to as a
pinning an archive. Enterprise Manager also creates a pinned archive of a device’s current configuration
before it installs new software. Pinned archives are stored until you delete them.
Creating a rotating UCS archive schedule
A device must be listed on the Device List screen before you can create a rotating archive schedule for it.
It is best practice to create a rotating archive schedule for each device in your network so that you always
have a copy of a recent configuration. The UCS archive provides your network with added stability in the
event that a configuration change results in a need for a system restore. You can create a customized
schedule for a specific device, or create several schedules and assign any number of devices to each
schedule.
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• On the Main tab, click Enterprise Management > Tasks > Schedules > Archive Collection. The Archive
Collection screen opens.
• Click the Create button. The New Scheduled Task screen opens.
• In the Archive File Name field, type a name for the rotating archive schedule.
• From the Check for Changes list, select the frequency that you want Enterprise Manager to check for
configuration changes. Depending on your selection, the screen refreshes to display associated options.
• Click Finished to save the settings.
The Archive Collection list screen opens and the new rotating archive schedule appears in the list. If a device
in the Assigned list changes its configuration during the interval you specified, Enterprise Manager creates an
archive of the device’s configuration and adds it to the rotating archives on the Archives Collection screen.
7.02 - Describe EM’s behavior when encountering task failures on
specific devices
Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide, version 1.0
You see the failure in the Task List if a task fails.
You can configure custom alerts to notify you or others if a device becomes unreachable by Enterprise
Manager, the completion or failure of a software or hotfix installation, and if a device system clock differs from
the Enterprise Manager clock. When you configure custom alerts, you can apply them to individual devices,
or to a device group. You can also create alerts for the Enterprise Management device itself so that you can
maintain the health of your management system.
Objective - 7.03 Automate and schedule tasks using
Enterprise Manager
7.03 - Discuss the strategy for deploying a hotfix from EM to multiple
high availability (HA) pairs
You can use Enterprise Manager’s software repository to store both software, and hotfix images. Once you
add these images to the repository, you can deploy a hotfix or software upgrade to one device, or configure
multiple device upgrades. Alternately, you can check which upgrades are compatible on a per device basis
and install only the upgrades that suit your needs. In any software upgrade, you can choose multiple upgrade
options, including the installation location and reboot location on each device.
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Installing software to high availability systems
To minimize the risk when performing a installation to a system in a high availability configuration, we
recommend that you configure only one device in the pair per upgrade task. For example, for an activestandby pair, instead of adding both the active and standby devices to the installation list when configuring
the task, upgrade only the software on the standby device. Then, when the upgrade completes, you can
switch the device to active mode to test whether the upgrade works properly. Once you confirm that the
upgrade works as expected, you can configure a task to upgrade the second device of the pair.
Important: If you include both the active and standby systems in the same upgrade task and the
upgrade does not work properly on the first device of a high availability pair, you cannot cancel the
upgrade on the second device.
7.03 - Discuss how EM can be used to track a configuration change
on a managed device
Enterprise Manager can create and store UCS archives for managed devices on demand, or at regularly
scheduled intervals using rotating archives. Rotating archives are UCS archives created at a regular interval
according to a schedule that you set in Enterprise Manager.
The advantage of scheduling rotating archives is that you can set Enterprise Manager to create archives on
a regular interval so that after Enterprise Manager recognizes that a managed device’s configuration has
changed, it schedules the creation of a UCS archive during the current rotating archive schedule. This way,
you can have a recent backup configuration for a managed device, which provides added stability in case a
configuration change results in a need for a system restore. For example, if you set up a daily rotating archive
schedule, Enterprise Manager creates a UCS archive on each day that the managed device configuration
changes. This ensures that you do not unnecessarily save any duplicate configuration archives, and that you
always have one or more archives of recent configurations with which to restore. In a rotating archive schedule,
Enterprise Manager saves multiple archives and cycles out old archives as it creates new ones.
So each time you see a new archive created for a device you know that changes have been made.
7.03 - Discuss how to use EM to determine SSL certification
expiration on managed devices
Working with device certificates
Because the BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) can control your SSL traffic, you may have a large number of
SSL and web certificates on many different LTM devices your network.
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Enterprise Manager can provide a quick overview of all the server certificates and web certificates on each
managed device in the network. You can use Enterprise Manager to monitor which certificates are nearing
their expiration date, and which ones have expired. Using this overview can save you time over monitoring
certificate expiration dates on individual LTM devices.
Monitoring device certificates
When Enterprise Manager adds a device to the device list, you have the option to monitor the expiration status
of all the certificates on the managed device. You can view the status of both traffic certificates and system
certificates. Traffic certificates are server certificates that a managed device uses in its traffic management
tasks. System certificates are the web certificates that allow client systems to log into the BIG-IP system
Configuration utility.
Enabling certificate monitoring
By default, certificate monitoring is enabled for all managed devices, however, you may specify which specific
device or device groups you want to monitor. If you choose to monitor a device group, you automatically
monitor all of the certificates on all of the devices that are members of the device group.
Working with the certificate list screens
You can view either traffic certificates or system certificates on their own certificate list screens. These screens
provide a quick overview of vital certificate information such as the expiration status, name, the device the
certificate is configured on, the common name, and expiration date and time.
Status flags offer the quickest view on the status of a certificate. The table below outlines the status flags.
Table - Certificate status flags
Status
indicator
Expiration Status
The Red Status Flag indicates that the certificate has expired. When client systems require
this certificate for authentication, the client receives an expired certificate warning.
The Yellow Status Flag indicates that a certificate will expire in 30 days or less. The certificate
is still valid, but you should take action to prevent certificate expiration.
The Green Status Flag indicates that a certificate is valid and will remain valid for at least 30
more days.
When working with the certificate list screens, you can sort the list by clicking the respective column headings,
or you can filter the list to display only certificates with a particular status flag. When working with the
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certificate list screens, you can sort the list by clicking the respective column headings, or you can filter the
list to display only certificates with a particular status flag.
Creating alerts for certificate expiration
If you require more precise notification of certificate expiration dates, you can create a custom alert. When you
create a custom alert on the New Alert screen, in the Alert Type box, select Certificate Expiration. Once you
select this type of alert, you can configure an alert based on the number of days until the certificate expires.
Objective - 7.04 Manage software images
7.04 - Given an HA pair, describe the appropriate strategy for
deploying a new software image
The upgrade process involves preparation of the two BIG-IP® devices (Device A and Device B) configured in
an active-standby implementation, followed by the installation and verification of version 11.0 on each device.
When you upgrade each device, you perform several tasks. Completing these tasks results in a successful
upgrade to version 11.0 on both BIG-IP devices, with a traffic group configured properly for an active-standby
implementation.
In a properly configured HA pair of BIG-IP devices, a software upgrade should always be done on the standby
unit in the pair. This allows the upgrade to be hitless to the extent of nothing greater than a failover between
functioning units in the HA pair.
7.04 - Describe the potential impact of booting a device into another
volume
GUI Study in the vLabs
Booting the BIG-IP platform into another volume may put the system in an inaccessible state if the
circumstances are right. Just because there is an OS loaded onto a volume does not mean there is any
configuration other than the default configuration on the volume. The out of band management may still be set
to the default IP address and you could lose your management connection the unit. Or if this was a volume
that was used in the past it will likely be in the state it was in when the system was booted into another volume.
This could mean that it is running some older configuration that is not the same as the current configuration
in the current volume, or the system could even be licensed differently leaving some functions of the OS not
even enabled.
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The cpcfg command allows you to copy a configuration from a specified source boot location to a specified
target boot location. If the specified target boot location is an earlier version than the source boot location,
the command fails with an error message. If the specified target boot location is the active boot location, the
command fails with an error message.
7.04 - Discuss common issues related to the migration of a device to
a new software version
Managing BIG-IP product hotfixes (11.x)
If the device you are migrating, to a new version of software, is not an HA pair. The upgrade will cause an
outage so plan accordingly.
When dealing with an HA pair of devices, upgrades should be done on the units in the standby state to
minimize outages. A hotfix to an existing software version is normally non-impactful to the operation of the
unit, however it is still a best practice to upgrade the standby unit first, confirm the upgrade, failover the pair
and proceed with upgrading the now standby unit.
Always follow the F5 Solutions or SOLs for installing the software.
Some common issues that can be impactful to an environment when doing software upgrades are know
issues with the release, iRule compatibility with the newer version and older version configurations migrating
forward successfully.
Before upgrading to the next desired version of OS the administrator should read all the release notes to make
sure that the known issues on that release will not impact with the configurations currently running.
iRules are compiled scripts running on the system’s current version of code. Changes in the OS can change
how the iRule functions (or functions at all) between versions. Testing the OS upgrade in a lab environment is
the best way to make sure there are no failing iRules after an upgrade. Also reading through the DevCentral
reference on Commands and Events by version is a good place to start.
DevCentral Commands and Events
When migrating from older releases to a newer major release of OS, there can be issues with configuration
migration to the newer release. You should always read the release notes and follow the recommended
migration path for the version on the Ask F5 site.
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SECTION 8 – MANAGE EXISTING SYSTEM AND
APPLICATION SERVICES
Objective - 8.01 Modify and manage virtual servers
8.01 - Given a proposed virtual server configuration change, outline
the scope of the change and for which connections those changes
will affect (active connections, new connections, persisted sessions)
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
This topic would be an example of an existing virtual server configuration that is being modified. If you were to
add a profile or an iRule to a virtual server what would be the impact to the existing or new client connections.
Build out a basic virtual server on the LTM and see what different profile changes do to client connections.
8.01 - Given a description of an application, identify the correct
virtual server configured for it (HTTP/HTTPS, TCP/UDP, VLANs
enabled, route-domain)
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
With a description of an application can you tell how a virtual server will need to be configured? For example
if you had an SSL protected virtual server and needed to do cookie insert persistence. How would this be
configured at a high level? The virtual server would have to terminate the SSL traffic with a Clientside SSL
profile, to be able to apply the http profile, so that you can process the http traffic to insert a cookie into the
header.
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8.01 - Given a situation where a virtual server configuration change
did not appear to immediately take effect, determine why
GUI Study in the vLabs
This blueprint topic is related to choosing the correct answer for a scenario type of question. For most
questions like these you must have exposure to supporting the BIG-IP platform in a production environment
or understand many of the different issues that may arise around the topic and the best practice method of
solving the issue. Hands-on study is the best way to master these types of topics.
This topic has to do with recognizing that changing settings on a virtual server may not immediately look as if
anything changed. The scope of the change and behavior of the type of change will define who and how the
clients will be affected.
Some changes do not affect existing connections only the new connections after the change is made will be
affected.
Objective - 8.02 Modify and manage pools
8.02 - Distinguish between disabling a member and forcing it down
Disabling nodes or pool members for maintenance (9.x - 10.x)
You can set the node and pool members to a Disabled or Forced offline state. When you need to interrupt
access to a network device (such as a server) for maintenance, you should change the state of the node to
Disabled or Forced Offline.
When set to Disabled, a node or pool member continues to process persistent and active connections. It
can accept new connections only if the connections belong to an existing persistence session.
When set to Forced Offline, a node or pool member allows existing connections to time out, but no new
connections are allowed.
8.02 - Determine use cases for disabling a member
GUI Study in the vLabs
If the administrator needs to make changes, such as configuration maintenance, to a server, that is the
resource of a pool, but wants to gracefully allow users to finish what they are doing, then they should set
the pool resource to Disabled.
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8.02 - Determine use cases for forcing down a member
GUI Study in the vLabs
If the administrator needs take a resource out of a pool immediately due to a critical misconfiguration or
system error that is impacting business, they can set the resource to Forced Offline.
8.02 - Given a situation where a pool member has been disabled
but still appears to be receiving traffic, determine the cause
GUI Study in the vLabs
Setting the pool resource to Disabled will allow the current users to finish their sessions but not start new
connections to this resource unless the virtual server is using persistence. If the virtual server is using
persistence then the persistence record will be honored until it expires. Thus the administrator could disable
a pool member and that member can still receive new connections from the existing persisted clients.
8.02 - Articulate the characteristics of a pool member that has been
disabled or forced offline (Such as for new connections, persisted
connections, etc.)
GUI Study in the vLabs
Setting the pool resource to Disabled will allow the current users to finish their sessions but not start new
connections to this resource unless the virtual server is using persistence. Setting the pool resource to Forced
Offline will allow current connections to finish but will not allow any new connections to the even if persistence
is configured on the virtual server. If the Administrator needs to stop all connections immediately from a pool
resource with out any completion of the current connections. Then removing the pool member from the pool
will kill all connections immediately. This is not recommended for day-to-day maintenance but is an option for
emergencies.
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Conclusion
This document is intended as a study guide for the F5 201 – TMOS Administration exam. This study guide is
not an all-inclusive document that will guarantee a passing grade on the exam. It is intended to be a living doc
and any feedback or material that you feel should be included, to help exam takers better prepare, can be
sent to channeleng@f5.com.
Thank you for using this study guide to prepare the F5 201 – TMOS Administration exam and good luck with
your certification goals.
Thanks,
Eric Mitchell
Channel FSE, East US and Federal
F5 Networks, Inc. 401 Elliott Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119
Americas
info@f5.com
Asia-Pacific
apacinfo@f5.com
888-882-4447
Europe/Middle-East/Africa
emeainfo@f5.com
f5.com
Japan
f5j-info@f5.com
CER T IFIED
©2015 F5 Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. F5, F5 Networks, and the F5 logo are trademarks of F5 Networks, Inc. in the U.S. and in certain other countries. Other F5 trademarks are identified at f5.com.
Any other products, services, or company names referenced herein may be trademarks of their respective owners with no endorsement or affiliation, express or implied, claimed by F5. GUIDE-CERT-58793938 0915
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