The below article is the first in a series of articles to help get you more familiar with the BigIP BigPipe commands used to manage an LTM VE or Local Traffic Manager Virtual Edition installed in VMWare Player as noted in this article. After following the steps in this article you will have created two VLAN’s (Virtual Local Area Networks) and added an IP address to each VLAN which will be the foundation of the series of articles that will help you setup and configure your LTM VE to do basic load balancing followed by other articles that build on that foundation. The future articles will become more in depth by first taking you through basic troubleshooting steps using and overtime using more advanced techniques for troubleshooting issues on a BigIP Local Traffic Manager.

At the end of the article there will be a set of tasks to complete as a refresher for the initial content provided in this article.

LTM VE Initial Configuration, Use Bigpipe Commands To Create VLAN & Self IP:

  1. Shutdown VMWare Player: If your BigIP LTM VE is currently running shut it down so we can make some initial changes to the VMWare Player virtual machine settings for our BigIP LTM VE VMWare image. This will guarantee that we are all on the same page moving forward. The command below can be used to shutdown the LTM VE the proper way instead of just powering it off.

    Shutdown LTM VE

    The example image above shows what the shutdown command looks like in the VMWare Player window and below is the actual syntax you can copy/paste into your LTM VE shell.

    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # shutdown -h now
    

    The -h switch specifies halt or shutdown immediately. You can also specify wait times if you would like to send a shell message to other logged in users and provide them time to logout of the system.

  2. BigIP LTM VE Virtual Machine Settings: Once the BigIP LTM VE has shutdown completely the Vmware Player window will likely close. If that is the case simply find it in your start menu and launch it again. Once the VMware Player window is open highlight the BigIP LTM VE image as shown in the below image.

    BigIP LTM VE Image Highlighted In VMWare Player

    Now click the “Edit Virtual Machine Settings” link which will launch the Virtual Machine Settings configuration window as shown in the below example image.

    BigIP LTM VE Virtual Machine Settings Configuration Window

  3. Modify BigIP LTM VE Virtual Machine Network Adapters: Here we want to modify the default Network Adapter settings for the Virtual Machine because the LTM VE will only allow for one host-only interface. If you follow the directions below you will still be able to manage the LTM VE via SSH and HTTPS and you will avoid any VPN network conflicts. First highlight Network Adapter in the left navigation to display the Virtual Machine Network Adapter configuration options as shown in the below example image.

    Virtual Machine Network Adapter Settings

    We are going to disable this Network Adapter by removing the check next to Connect At Power On as shown in the below example image.

    Disable BigIP LTM VE Network Adapter

    Modifying the above settings is similar to shutting down the Ethernet Interface or unplugging an Ethernet cable from the Ethernet port on the back of a server. Next click on Network Adapter 2 in the left navigation of the Virtual Machine Settings configuration window. Here we will verify there is a check next to Connect At Power On and set the Network Connection setting to Bridged as shown in the below example image. This will put the Network Adapter 2 network interface on the same network as the host computer so it can communicate over the same network as your computer. This network interface will act as the external interface on the BigIP LTM VE.

    Modify Virtual Machine Network Adapter 2 Settings

    Now click on Network Adapter 3 in the left navigation menu. Verify again that there is a check next to Connect At Power On and the Network Connection mode is set to Host-only: A Private Network Shared With The Host as shown in the below example. This will allow us to place this interface in a network that doesn’t exist yet however when it does it will act as our internal network.

    Verify BigIP LTM VE Virtual Machine Network Adapter 3 Settings

    After making changes or verifying the settings for each of the three Network Adapters click the OK button at the bottom of the Virtual Machine Settings configuration window to save the new settings.

  4. Power On BigIP LTM VE: Now back at the VMWare Player window and with the BigIP LTM VE image highlighted as shown in the example image in step two click on the Play Virtual Machine link to launch the BigIP Local Traffic Manager Virtual Edition.

    BigIP LTM VE Virtual Machine Booting In VMWare Player

    **NOTE** If you have not licensed your BigIP LTM VE already then read this article.

  5. Shutdown & Delete Management Interface: Here we will first shutdown the BigIP Management interface which is located on the eth0:mgmt Ethernet interface and then we will delete the Management interface from the bigip_base.conf configuration file. The below syntax will first display the eth0:mgmt interface information followed by the IP address from the interface or temporarily disabling it.
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # ifconfig eth0:mgmt
    eth0:mgmt Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:07:BB:A1
              inet addr:192.168.2.222  Bcast:192.168.2.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
              UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
              Interrupt:169 Base address:0x1080
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # ifconfig eth0:mgmt down
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # ifconfig eth0:mgmt
    eth0:mgmt Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:07:BB:A1
              UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
              Interrupt:169 Base address:0x1080
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config #
    

    At this point you will not be able to communicate with the LTM VE from anywhere but the VMWare Player console connection unless you have already made other changes to the configuration after installation. Now that the interface is down we need to remove it from the BigIP config and then save the config.

    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # bigpipe mgmt 192.168.2.222 delete
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # bigpipe save all
    /config/bigip_base.conf was renamed to /config/bigip_base.conf.bak (26 lines).
    /config/bigip_base.sys was renamed to /config/bigip_sys.conf.bak (26 lines).
    /config/bigip.conf was renamed to /config/bigip.conf.bak (9 lines).
    /config/bigip_local.conf was renamed to /config/bigip_local.conf.bak (1 lines).
    

    The management interface no longer exists and we can proceed with our setup.

  6. Create External VLAN’s: Now that the Management interface has been removed we are going to create the external VLAN which will communicate directly on the same network that our host computer is on using the Network Adapter 2 that we set to Bridged Mode in an earlier step. Below is the syntax used to create a vlan using bigpipe.
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # bigpipe vlan external interface 1.1
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # bigpipe save all
    /config/bigip_base.conf was renamed to /config/bigip_base.conf.bak (26 lines).
    /config/bigip_base.sys was renamed to /config/bigip_sys.conf.bak (26 lines).
    /config/bigip.conf was renamed to /config/bigip.conf.bak (9 lines).
    /config/bigip_local.conf was renamed to /config/bigip_local.conf.bak (1 lines).
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config #
    

    The above syntax is fairly simple but in case you are curious about any of the parts of the above command they are explained below.

    • bigpipe: specifies we are issuing a bigpipe command directly from the LTM shell without initiating the bigpipe shell itself.
    • vlan: specifies a vlan command which can include vlan settings or vlan information display, for more information type “bigpipe vlan help”
    • external: the name of the vlan we are creating, can be named anything
    • interface 1.1: sets the interface that the VLAN resides on
  7. Add Self IP In External VLAN: Once the VLAN has been configured in step six we now can add an IP address to the VLAN so we can again communicate with our BigIP LTM VE Virtual Machine via SSH and HTTPS. Use the syntax below to create the Self IP Address on the external VLAN. Make sure you choose an IP address that is on the same network as the host computer which you can figure out by opening Command Prompt and typing “ipconfig”. Then select an IP address in that network and ping the IP address you want to use to verify nothing else on the network is using the same IP address.
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # bigpipe self 192.168.1.89 vlan external allow default
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config # bigpipe save all
    /config/bigip_base.conf was renamed to /config/bigip_base.conf.bak (37 lines).
    /config/bigip_base.sys was renamed to /config/bigip_sys.conf.bak (26 lines).
    /config/bigip.conf was renamed to /config/bigip.conf.bak (9 lines).
    /config/bigip_local.conf was renamed to /config/bigip_local.conf.bak (1 lines).
    [root@alex-hp-ltm-ve:Active] config #
    

    Below there is a brief explanation of each portion of the above command.

    • bigpipe: specifies we are issuing a bigpipe command directly from the LTM shell without initiating the bigpipe shell itself.
    • self: specifies a self command which can include self settings or self information display, for more information type “bigpipe self help”
    • 192.168.1.88: IP address that is being set on the VLAN interface
    • vlan external: sets the VLAN interface that the IP address will answer on
    • allow default: Permit the default configured ports to communicate to this IP address. The default ports include TCP ports 22, 53, 161, 443, 4353 and UDP ports 53, 161, 520, 1026, 4353
  8. Test New VLAN Interface: Now we are completed with the initial configuration steps  however you should use the below methods which include using Ping, your web browser, and an SSH client to test that the configuration is working properly. From a Command Prompt or Console2 window attempt to ping the interface you added to the external VLAN as shown below.
    C:>ping 192.168.1.89
    
    Pinging 192.168.1.89 with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from 192.168.1.89: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=255
    Reply from 192.168.1.89: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=255
    Reply from 192.168.1.89: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=255
    Reply from 192.168.1.89: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=255
    
    Ping statistics for 192.168.1.89:
        Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 2ms, Average = 0ms
    
    C:>
    

    Next open the LTM VE GUI in Internet Explorer by visiting the IP address you configured above with https:// in front of it as shown in the below example image.

    LTM VE GUI Login

Now that we have the initial steps completed attempt the below tasks on your own.

TASKS TO COMPLETE:

  1. SSH to the external VLAN using your favorite SSH client
  2. Create Another VLAN named internal on interface 1.2
  3. Add 192.168.65.1 to the internal VLAN interface with a /24 netmask
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