Manual Chapter : 3-DNS Installation Guide v3.0: Introduction

Applies To:

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3-DNS Controller versions 1.x - 4.x

  • 3.0 PTF-02, 3.0 PTF-01, 3.0.0
Manual Chapter



Getting started

Welcome to the 3-DNS Controller Installation Guide. Before you get started installing the controller, we recommend that you browse the 3-DNS Controller Administrator Guide to find the configuration solution that most closely matches your needs. Briefly review the basic configuration tasks and the few pieces of information you should gather in preparation for completing the tasks, such as IP addresses and host names.

Once you find your solution in the Administrator Guide and gather the necessary network information, turn to this Installation Guide for instructions on installing the hardware and running the First-Time Boot utility. Then return to the Administrator Guide for instructions on setting up your chosen solution.

Choosing a configuration tool

The 3-DNS Controller provides the following web-based and command line administrative tools that make for easy setup and configuration.

First-Time Boot utility

The First-Time Boot utility is a wizard that walks you through the initial system set up. The utility helps you quickly define basic system settings, such as a root password and the IP addresses for the interfaces that connect the 3-DNS Controller to the network. The First-Time Boot utility also helps you configure access to the 3-DNS web server, which hosts the web-based Configuration utility, as well as the NameSurferTM application that you can use for DNS zone file management.

Configuration utility

The Configuration utility is a web-based application that you use to configure and monitor the 3-DNS Controller. Using the Configuration utility, you can define the load balancing configuration along with the network setup, including data centers, sync groups, and servers used for load balancing and path probing. In addition, you can configure advanced features such as topology settings and the SNMP agent. The Configuration utility also monitors network traffic, current connections, load balancing statistics, and the operating system itself.

The 3-DNS web server, which hosts the Configuration utility, provides convenient access to downloads such as the SNMP MIB, and documentation for third-party applications such as NameSurferTM.

NameSurfer application

The NameSurfer application, produced by Data Fellows, is a third-party application that automatically configures DNS zone files associated with domains handled by the 3-DNS Controller. You can use NameSurfer to configure and maintain additional DNS zone files on 3-DNS Controllers that run as master DNS servers. The Configuration utility provides direct access to the NameSurfer application, as well as the corresponding documentation for the application.

3-DNS Maintenance menu

The 3-DNS Maintenance menu is a command line utility that executes scripts which assist you in configuration and administrative tasks, such as installing the latest version of the big3d agent on all your systems, backing up the load balancing configuration files, or adding a new 3-DNS Controller to an existing network. You can use the 3-DNS Maintenance menu directly on the 3-DNS Controller, or you can use the menu when connected to the controller using a remote shell, such as an SSH client (if ssh is configured), or an RSH client (if rsh is configured).

Browser support

The Configuration utility, which provides web-based access to the 3-DNS Controller system configuration and features, supports the following browser versions:

  • Netscape Navigator 4.5 through 4.7
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 4.02 or later

Using the Administrator Kit

The 3-DNS® Controller Administrator Kit provides simple steps for quick, basic configuration, and also provides detailed information about more advanced features and tools, such as the 3dnsmaint command line utility. The information is organized into the guides described below.

  • 3-DNS Controller Installation Guide
    The 3-DNS Controller Installation Guide walks you through the basic steps needed to get the hardware plugged in and the system connected to the network. Most users turn to this guide only the first time that they set up a 3-DNS Controller. The Installation Guide also covers general network administration issues, such as setting up common network administration tools including Sendmail.
  • 3-DNS Controller Administrator Guide
    The 3-DNS Controller Administrator Guide describes essential configuration tasks, basic and advanced load balancing solutions, and monitoring and administration tools. For example, in the Administrator Guide, you can find a basic DNS request load balancing solution, and a content delivery network solution.
  • 3-DNS Controller Reference Guide
    The 3-DNS Controller Reference Guide provides descriptions and configuration details of individual 3-DNS Controller objects, such as wide IPs, pools, and virtual servers. It also provides syntax information for 3dnsmaint commands, configuration utilities, configuration files, and system utilities.

Stylistic conventions

To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, all F5 Networks administrative documentation uses the stylistic conventions described below.

Warning: All examples in F5 Networks documentation use only non-routable IP addresses. When you set up the solutions we describe, you must use IP addresses suitable to your own network in place of our sample IP addresses.

Identifying new terms

When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example, a virtual server is the combination of an IP address and port that maps to a set of back-end servers.

Identifying references to objects, names, and commands

We apply bold text to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, and portions of commands, such as variables and keywords. For example, the nslookup command requires that you include at least one <ip_address> variable.

Identifying references to other documents

We use italic text to denote a reference to another document. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as a specific chapter or section in the book, we show the book name in bold, italic text, and the chapter/section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. For example, you can find information about 3dnsmaint commands in the 3dnsmaint Command Reference section of the 3-DNS Controller Reference Guide.

Identifying command syntax

We show actual, complete commands in bold Courier text. Note that we do not include the corresponding screen prompt, unless the command is shown in a figure that depicts an entire command line screen. For example, the following command shows the current status of the 3-DNS daemons:

ndc status

Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.

Command line conventions used in this manual
Item in text Description


Continue to the next line without typing a line break.

< >

You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type in your name.


Separates parts of a command.

[ ]

Syntax inside the square brackets is optional.


Indicates that you can type a series of items.

Finding help and technical support resources

You can find additional technical documentation about the 3-DNS Controller in the following locations:

  • Release notes
    The release note for the current version of the 3-DNS Controller is available from the home screen of the Configuration utility. The release note contains the latest information for the current version including a list of new features and enhancements, a list of fixes, and a list of known issues.
  • Online help for 3-DNS Controller features
    You can find help online in three different locations:
    • The Configuration utility home screen has PDF versions of the guides included in the Administrator Kit. Software upgrades for the 3-DNS Controller replace the guides with updated versions as appropriate.
    • The Configuration utility has online help for each screen. Just click the Help button in the toolbar.
    • Individual commands have online help, including command syntax and examples, in standard UNIX man page format. Simply type man followed by the command (for example man ndc), and the 3-DNS Controller displays the syntax and usage associated with the command.
  • Third-party documentation for software add-ons
    The Configuration utility contains online documentation for NameSurfer, the third-party software application that is included with the 3-DNS Controller.
  • Technical support through the World Wide Web
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, contains the AskF5 knowledge base and provides the latest technical notes and updates for administrator guides (in PDF and HTML formats). To access this site you must first email and obtain a customer ID and a password.