The F5 BIG-IP hardware line is fairly amazing so needless to say I was really excited to find out that there was a VMware image and VirtualBox image available to trial. This allows people not only to check out the BIG-IP software, which is built on top of CentOS Linux, but also the ability to easily test configurations. Below I describe the process all the way from downloading the actual VMware image and launching the image in VMware Player to logging into the BIG-IP LTM VE instance and enabling the trial license.
Download, Install, Login & Use F5 BIG-IP LTM VE VMware Instance:
- Download BIG-IP LTM VE Trial Image: Click here to open the F5 BIG-IP LTM VE trial download page. You will be required to login so if you don’t have an account go ahead and create an account, login, and refresh the page to display the below downloads.
You want to download the BIGIP-10.1.0.3341.1084.zip file which is the image fileset for VMware Workstation v7.0.
- Unpack BIG-IP LTM VE VMware Image: Now use winzip or a similar application to unpack the contents of the BIGIP-10.1.0.3341.1084.zip file. The contents include the BIGIP-10.1.0.3341.1084.vmx which is the primary configuration file for the BIG-IP LTM VE VMware virtual machine and BIGIP-10.1.0.3341.1084.vmdk which is the VMware virtual disk file. Note the location as we will open the VMX file in a later step after VMware Player is installed.
- Download VMware Player: After downloading the BIG-IP VMware image fileset from F5 click here to download the free VMware Player from VMware. As you can see in the example image below there is only one download available on this page so click the blue download button in the far right column to download the VMware-player-3.1.4-385536.exe file. The version may be a bit different depending on how long its been since this article was written.
- Begin VMware Player Installation: Now double click on the VMware-player-3.1.4-385536.exe file to launch the VMware Player installer. While the VMware Player installation is initializing the below window will display.
Once the VMware Player Setup has initialized you will be asked, as shown in the below example image, if you want to continue with the VMware Player installation wizard. Click the Next button to continue.
- VMware Player Setup Destination Folder: After clicking the Next button in the above VMware Player Setup screen you will be required to verify or modify the Destination Folder that VMware Player will be installed in as shown in the below example image.
The default should be fine so click the Next button to continue.
- VMware Player Setup Software Updates: After confirming the Destination Folder above by clicking the Next button you will be asked if you want the VMware Player to “Check for product updates on startup” as shown in the below example image.
I would recommend leaving the default setting which is a check next to Check for product updates on startup and then click the Next button to continue.
- VMware Player Setup User Experience Improvement: After enabling VMware Player automatic software updates in the previous step you will be taken to the User Experience Improvement Program screen as shown in the below example image.
If there is a check next to “Help improve VMware Player” it means that anonymous statistics will be sent to VMware. I personally choose not to send anonymous stats for any applications that I use however either way should not effect the installation so make your selection and then click the Next button to continue.
- VMware Player Setup Shortcuts: The next screen will provide various shortcut selections such as adding a shortcut to the Desktop for VMware Player, adding VMware Player to the Windows Start Menu, or adding a VMware image to the Quick Launch toolbar as shown in the below example image.
Make your selections and then click the Next button to continue on.
- Proceed Installing VMware Player: After clicking the Next button on the VMware Player Setup Shortcuts screen you will be presented with the below screen confirming you want to install VMware player.
Click the Continue button to install VMware Player. During the installation you can keep track of the installation as shown in the below example image.
Once the VMware Player installation is completed the below Setup Wizard Complete screen will display and ask if you want to reboot now or reboot later. Close any open applications and then click the Restart Now button which will reboot your computer.
Once your computer reboots the VMware Player installation will be complete.
- Launch VMware Player: Click the Windows icon in the lower right corner of your Windows computer and select VMware Player from the pop up menu as shown in the below example image.
The first time you launch VMware Player you will have to agree to the VMware Player License as shown in the below example image.
After agreeing to the VMware Player License Agreement above the VMware Player home screen will display as shown below.
- Open BIG-IP LTM VE VMware Image: Click the Open A Virtual Machine link which is the second option underneath Welcome To VMware Player which will open a Windows Explorer window as shown below.
Navigate to the BIGIP-10.1.0.3341.1084.vmx configuration file which was unpacked in step two, highlight it, and click the Open button in the Explorer window. This will open the image in VMware Player but it will still be Powered Down as shown in the below example image.
- Start BIG-IP Virtual Machine: To start the BIG-IP Virtual Machine click the “Play virtual machine” link underneath the Virtual Machine details on the right side of the VMware Player window. This will begin the BIG-IP VM boot process as shown below.
Be patient while BIG-IP loads. If you are familiar with Linux you will notice the boot process is very similar as shown in the below example image.
- Login To BIG-IP Console: A couple days ago I wrote an article about logging into the BIG-IP VM console for the first time which you can read here.
- Login To BIG-IP GUI: After verifying you can login to the BIG-IP VM console follow these directions to login to the BIG-IP GUI configuration utility interface.
- Process BIG-IP LTM VE Trial License: Once you have verified that you can login to both the console and the GUI you should follow the directions located here to activate the BIG-IP LTM VE trial license.
Thats it! You now have a 90 day trial of the F5 BIG-IP LTM VE or the F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager Virtual Edition running!