Manual Chapter : System Overview

Applies To:

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  • 1.1.1, 1.1.0
Manual Chapter

System Overview

Introducing F5 rSeries systems

platforms are powerful systems that are designed specifically for application delivery performance and scalability.
systems include a platform layer that runs F5OS-A software, on which you can have multiple tenants. A tenant is a guest system running software (for example, a BIG-IP system).
F5 r5000/r10000 platforms
can run a minimum of eight tenants up to 36 tenants.
F5 r2000/r4000 platforms
can run a single tenant on the low end and up to four tenants on the higher end.
This illustration shows a simplified
deployment. The
system shown here has four tenants attached. In this example, you can have up to eight tenants running at one time.
For more information about
hardware components, see the platform guide for your hardware model at

F5 rSeries terminology

These are common F5OS terms.
appliance mode
Restricts user access to root and Bash at the system and the tenant levels. When enabled, the root user cannot log in to the system by any means, including from the serial console. Disabled by default.
Operating system software for the system.
Link aggregation group. A way to group interfaces on the system so they function as a single interface. The LAG (like a trunk on BIG-IP systems) distributes traffic across multiple links, increasing the bandwidth by adding the bandwidth of multiple links together.
port group
A configuration object that is used to control the mode of the physical ports, whether they are bundled or unbundled, and adjust their speed.
A guest system (similar to a vCMP guest) running software on the system. You can deploy multiple tenants on a system.
Browser-based user interface for configuring the rSeries system.

system licensing overview

Before you can configure and use the
system, you must activate a valid license. The license service coordinates the license installation on the system and configures the same license on the system and the tenants. Because the license applies to the whole system, the tenants all inherit licenses from the system.
A base registration key, generated by
, identifies a set of entitlements and is used to obtain the license for an F5 product. The base registration key with associated add-on keys are pre-installed on a new
system. If you do not have a base registration key, contact F5 Technical Support ( You can obtain add-on keys to enable additional features and functionality.
For more information about licensing your
system, see the
System licensing overview

Licensing terminology

Features and functionality of an
product that a customer can enable by purchasing a license.
base registration key
A 27-character string that informs the license server about which
products are included in the license.
add-on key
A 7-character string that enables features on a device, in addition to the entitlements associated with the device base registration key.
A digital fingerprint of an
product instance. The dossier uniquely identifies the device.

F5 rSeries system administration user/role overview

You can configure and manage the
system at two different levels: the platform layer or the individual tenants. Each has their own webUI, CLI, and REST API access.
The users at the platform and tenant levels are independent from each other, and the roles and what users can do are different depending on where the account was created. Even if one person is performing more than one role, separate accounts are needed at each level.
These roles are available on
System administrator
Manages the whole system configuration with read-write access to all system settings. Able to change the system root and admin passwords.
Tenant administrator
Has access to the tenant only. Performs user management on the deployed tenant(s). No management of the

F5 rSeries administration tasks overview

There are many different tasks involved in administering an
system. Though you might have several different administrators for the system and tenants, it is useful to have a general idea of all of the tasks involved and the order in which you might perform them. This is generally the order in which things happen, and it is just an overview of the many tasks involved:

Before using this guide

Plan the configuration

  • What is the network configuration at the system level, including management interfaces, port groups, interfaces, and VLANs. Will you use link aggregation or spanning tree protocol?
  • How many administrators and operators will need accounts on the system? At the tenant level?
  • How will system users be authenticated? RADIUS, TACACS+, or LDAP?
  • How many tenants do you plan to deploy?
  • What will the tenants be used for? For example, which application delivery modules will you be configuring? Multiple modules?
  • The configuration can be modified later if needs change.

Configure the system

  • Log in to the system.
  • License the system, if it wasn't done already. See the
    System Settings
  • Adjust network settings such as management interfaces if needed. See the
    Network Settings
  • Optionally, create accounts for administrators, operators, or tenants. See the
    User Management

Deploy tenants

  • Consider tenant resources needed with regard to the different tenant images of different sizes that are available. See the
    Tenant Management
  • Deploy one or more tenants. See the
    Tenant Management
  • Log in to each tenant and configure the systems as needed. For BIG-IP tenants, see the BIG-IP system documentation at