Manual Chapter : VELOS System Overview

Applies To:

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  • 1.1.4, 1.1.3, 1.1.2, 1.1.1, 1.1.0
Manual Chapter

VELOS System Overview

Introducing the VELOS system

The VELOS platform is a modular (chassis and blade) form factor, designed to meet the needs of large enterprise networking environments that require the ability to scale and process a large volume of increasing application workloads.
VELOS systems include a platform layer known as F5OS, which is a combination of the system controllers and chassis partitions. Chassis partitions are a kind of virtual system or subset of the chassis that handles the management and separation of disjoint sets of blades within the chassis. You can divide a chassis into multiple chassis partitions, and a chassis partition can have multiple tenants. A tenant is a guest system running software (for example, a Classic BIG-IP system).
This illustration shows a simplified VELOS deployment with a single CX410 chassis. The VELOS platform shown here has been divided into four separate chassis partitions. Partition 1 has two blades, Partitions 2 and 3 each have one blade, and Partition 4 has 4 blades. Each blade fits into one slot and can be configured to have either 2 interfaces (40Gb or 100Gb), or they can be broken out into multiple (25Gb or 10Gb) interfaces. Link Aggregation provides redundancy in case network failures occur, and by spreading LAGs across blades, you can protect against individual blade failures assuming adequate resources are available.
Example VELOS system
The chassis is managed through system controllers, which are deployed in a redundant configuration providing high availability and added performance. The system controllers connect to out-of-band management networks, and their management interfaces can be bonded together within a single LAG for added redundancy. Each system controller also has a dedicated console connection for direct console access.
Refer to the
Platform Guide: VELOS CX Series
for details on the VELOS hardware components.

VELOS terminology

Here are definitions of some of the terms you will encounter when configuring the VELOS system.
appliance mode
Restricts user access to root and the bash shell at the system controller, chassis partition, and the tenant levels. When enabled, the root user cannot log in to the device by any means, including from the serial console. Disabled by default.
The primary hardware component that handles traffic management including disaggregation, packet classification, and traffic-steering for the VELOS platform. Up to eight blades can be installed into the slots on the chassis.
The main component of the unit that houses the blades, system controllers, and other components. The chassis can be divided into multiple chassis partitions.
chassis partition
A virtual system or subset of the chassis that handles the management and separation of disjoint sets of blades within the chassis. Partitions form chassis level management and traffic partitions. Each chassis partition is a separate managed device – unlike the BIG-IP system’s administrative partitions within a single managed device. The partition can be managed using REST APIs, the partition CLI, and a webUI.
chassis terminal service
Built into the system controller software, the chassis terminal service provides a means to access the console for the system controllers and all blades.
Platform operating system software that runs on the system controllers and the chassis partitions.
Link aggregation group. A way to group interfaces on the VELOS system so they function as a single interface. The LAG (like a trunk on Classic 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 within a chassis partition (for example, a Classic BIG-IP system). Multiple tenants can be deployed in one chassis partition.
system controllers
Components of the chassis that provide a unified point for external management and connectivity to the platform and applications running in the chassis. The chassis contains a redundant pair of system controllers that provides a high bandwidth interconnect between blades and high availability. The system controllers also provide REST APIs, a system controller CLI, and a webUI.
Browser-based user interfaces for configuring the VELOS platform at the system controller (or chassis) level and at the chassis partition level.
  • System controller webUI:
    Here you can adjust system network settings, overall system settings such as licensing, create partitions, and manage users.
  • Chassis partition webUI:
    Here you can adjust network settings, port groups, interfaces, VLANs, deploy tenants, and manage partition users.

VELOS system licensing overview

Before you can configure and use the VELOS system, you must activate a valid license. The license service coordinates the license installation on the system controllers and configures the same license to the partitions and the tenants. Because the system controller license applies to the whole system, the chassis partitions and tenants all inherit licenses from the system controllers.
A base registration key, generated by F5, 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 VELOS 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.
Licensing terminology
Features and functionality of an F5 product that a customer can enable by purchasing a license.
base registration key
The base registration key is a 27-character string that informs the license server about which F5 products are included in the license.
add-on key
Add-on keys enable features on a device, in addition to the entitlements associated with the device base registration key.The format is two sets of 7 characters.
A digital fingerprint of an F5 product instance. The dossier uniquely identifies the device.

VELOS system administration overview

The VELOS system is configured and managed at three different levels: the system controller or chassis level, the chassis partitions, and the individual tenants. Each has their own webUI, CLI, and REST API access.
The users at the system controller, chassis partition, 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.
System controller administrator
Manages the whole chassis configuration with read-write access to all blades, terminal consoles, system controllers, system settings, and creates chassis partitions and users at the chassis level. Able to change the chassis root and admin passwords.
Chassis operator
Has read access to the chassis configuration and the ability to change operator password.
Partition administrator
Manages the chassis partition, creates users in the partition, has access to all tenant consoles in that partition. Able to change the partition root and admin passwords.
Partition operator
Has read access to the chassis partition configuration and the ability to change operator password.
Tenant administrator
Has access to the tenant only. Performs user management on the deployed tenant(s). No management of the VELOS system.

VELOS administration tasks overview

There are many different tasks involved in administering VELOS systems. Though a configured and fully functioning system may have several different system administrators for the system controller, chassis partition, and the 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. However, it is just an overview of the many tasks involved.

Before using this guide

  • Make sure VELOS hardware is installed and the initial configuration of management IP addresses and gateway address is completed. Refer to the
    Platform Guide: VELOS CX Series
    for complete details and descriptions of the hardware.
  • Make sure the VELOS system is made accessible. Configure network settings, DHCP, DNS, NTP. Initially, the system controller and chassis partition software will be installed. One default partition is set up for the entire chassis with all slots assigned to it. For information about software installation, refer to
    VELOS Systems: Software Installation and Upgrade

Plan the configuration

  • Depending on the number of blades installed and your business needs, determine how many chassis partitions to create.
  • What is the network configuration at the system controller level including management interfaces?
  • What is the network configuration for the chassis partitions including 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 system controller level? On the partition level?
  • How will system users be authenticated? RADIUS or LDAP?
  • Within each partition, 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 from the system controller

  • Log in to the system controller.
  • License the system, if it wasn't done already. See
    System Settings
  • Adjust network settings such as management interfaces if needed. See
    Network Settings
  • Create chassis partitions dividing up the blades. See
    Chassis Partitions
  • Optionally create accounts for system controller administrators or operators. See
    User Management

Configure the system from the chassis partitions

  • Log in to the chassis partition. See
    Chassis Partitions
  • Configure or adjust port groups, interfaces, VLANs, LAGs. See
    Network Settings
  • Optionally create accounts for chassis partition administrators and operators. See
    User Management

Deploy tenants in the partitions

  • Log in to the chassis partition. See
    Chassis Partitions
  • Consider tenant resources needed with regard to the different tenant images of different sizes that are available. Understand the size of the partition and plan what hardware resources will be configured for this partition. See
    Tenant Management
  • Deploy one or more tenants in the partition. See
    Tenant Management
  • Log in to each tenant and configure the system as needed. For Classic BIG-IP tenants, see
    BIG-IP System documentation