Manual Chapter : Deploying BIG-IP Virtual Edition

Applies To:

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  • 12.0.0


  • 12.0.0


  • 12.0.0

BIG-IP Analytics

  • 12.0.0


  • 12.0.0


  • 12.0.0

BIG-IP Link Controller

  • 12.0.0


  • 12.0.0


  • 12.0.0
Manual Chapter

Deploying BIG-IP Virtual Edition

Host machine requirements and recommendations

To successfully deploy and run the BIG-IP® VE system, the host system must satisfy minimum requirements.

The host system must include:

  • Connection to a common NTP source (this is especially important for each host in a redundant system configuration)
  • XenServer

The hypervisor CPU must meet the following requirements:

  • Use 64-bit architecture.
  • Have support for virtualization (AMD-V or Intel VT-x) enabled.
  • Support a one-to-one thread-to-defined virtual CPU ratio, or (on single-threading architectures) support at least one core per defined virtual CPU.
  • If you use an Intel processor, it must be from the Core (or newer) workstation or server family of CPUs.

SSL encryption processing on your VE will be faster if your host CPU supports the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (AES-NI). Contact your CPU vendor for details on which CPUs provide AES-NI support.

The hypervisor memory requirement depends on the number of licensed TMM cores. The table describes these requirements.

Number of Cores Memory Required
1 2 Gb
2 4 Gb
4 8 Gb
8 16 Gb

About BIG-IP VE XenServer deployment

To deploy the BIG-IP® Virtual Edition (VE) system on Citrix XenServer, perform these tasks.

  • Verify the host machine requirements.
  • Deploy an instance of the BIG-IP system as a virtual machine on a host system.
  • Power on the BIG-IP VE virtual machine.
  • Assign a management IP address to the BIG-IP VE virtual machine.

After you complete these tasks, you can log in to the BIG-IP VE system and run the Setup utility. Using the Setup utility, you can perform basic network configuration tasks, such as assigning VLANs to interfaces.

Deploying the BIG-IP VE virtual machine

The first step in deploying BIG-IP® Virtual Edition (VE) is to download the OVA file to your local system. Next, you can run the Deploy OVF Template wizard from within the XenServer XenCenter client. Follow the steps in this procedure to create an instance of the BIG-IP system that runs as a virtual machine on the host system.

Important: Do not modify the configuration of the XenServer guest environment with settings less powerful than the ones recommended in this document. This includes the settings for the CPU, RAM, and network adapters. Doing so might produce unexpected results.
  1. In a browser, open the F5 Downloads page (
    If you have not already logged in, you must log in before proceeding.
  2. On the Downloads Overview page, select Find a Download.
    The Select a Product line screen opens.
  3. Under Product Line, select BIG-IP v12.x/Virtual Edition.
    The Select a Product Version and Container for BIG-IP V12.X/VIRTUAL EDITION screen opens.
  4. From the version list at the top of the screen, select the version number that you want to install.
    The screen lists the product containers for BIG-IP VE version you selected.
  5. Under Name, select Virtual-Edition.
    The first time you select an option, the Software Terms and Conditions screen opens. Otherwise, the Select a Download screen opens.
  6. If the End User Software License is displayed, read through it and then click I Accept.
    The Select a Download screen opens.
  7. Download the BIG-IP VE file package ending with ide.ova.
  8. Extract the file from the Zip archive.
  9. Before starting the import wizard, review the prospective hypervisor environment for the following.
    • Make sure a DHCP server is active on the same network as the XenServer host before you start the XenCenter OVF Appliance.
    • Make sure there are no firewall or other restrictions between the required ports for connectivity between the XenCenter Client and XenServer. For more information and networking requirements, refer to the XenServer Virtual Machine Installation Guide.
    • Make sure enough storage space is available on the XenServer for the BIG-IP virtual machine.
  10. Start the XenServer XenCenter client and log in.
  11. From the XenCenter 6.0 File menu, click File > Import .
    The Import wizard starts.
  12. For the filename use the Browse button to locate the OVA file, open it, and then click Next.
    For example: \MyDocuments\Work\Virtualization\<BIG-IP_OVA_filename>
    This displays the End-User License Agreement (EULA).
  13. Read and accept the license agreement, and click Next.
    The Location window opens.
  14. Under Home Server, select the home server for the BIG-IP VE virtual machine from the list, and click Next.
  15. On the Storage window, click Place imported virtual disks onto specified target SRs, select the 100 GB storage size and location for the BIG-IP VE virtual machine, and then click Next.
  16. On the Networking window, assign the Management, Internal, External, and HA virtual machines to their respective Target Networks and click Next.
    Tip: There is no need to enter MAC addresses, MAC addresses will be assigned automatically.
  17. In the OS Fixup Settings window, make sure the Use Operating System Fixup check box is not selected and click Next.
    Important: The Use Operating System Fixup check box is selected by default.
  18. On the Transfer VM Settings window, click Next, then on the Finish window, review your settings before continuing. Click Finish.
    The progress bar and text in the Progress pane indicate when the BIG-IP virtual machine creation is complete.

Powering on the virtual machine

You power on the virtual machine so that you can begin assigning IP addresses.
  1. In the XenCenter client window, select the Server View.
  2. Select the virtual machine that you want to power on.
  3. Click the Start icon.
    Note: If you do not see the Start icon, look at the tool bar under the View menu.
    The status icon changes to indicate that the virtual machine is on. The virtual machine boots and becomes ready for configuration.

There are two default accounts used for initial configuration and setup:

  • The root account provides access locally, or using SSH, or using the F5 Configuration utility. The root account password is default.
  • The admin account provides access through the web interface. The admin account password is admin.

You should change passwords for both accounts before bringing a system into production.

Assigning a management IP address to a virtual machine

The virtual machine needs an IP address assigned to its virtual management port.
Tip: The default configuration for new deployments and installations is for DHCP to acquire the management port IP address.
  1. In the XenCenter client window, select the Server View.
  2. In the Resources pane, select the virtual machine to which you want to assign the management IP address.
  3. Click the Console tab.
    You might need to click the console area and press Enter to activate the console.
  4. At the local host login prompt, type root.
  5. At the password prompt, type default.
  6. Type config and press Enter.
    The F5 Management Port Setup screen opens.
  7. Click OK.
  8. If you want DHCP to automatically assign an address for the management port, select Yes. Otherwise, select No and follow the instructions for manually assigning an IP address and netmask for the management port.

You can use a hypervisor generic statement such as tmsh show sys management-ip to confirm that the management IP address has been properly assigned.

Tip: F5 Networks highly recommends that you specify a default route for the virtual management port, but it is not required for operating the virtual machine.

Turning off LRO or GRO from the VE guest to optimize PEM performance

Before you can access the VE guest to turn off LRO and GRO, you must have assigned the guest a management IP address.
To optimize performance if you use the virtual machine with the PEM module, you must turn off large receive offload (LRO) and generic receive offload (GRO) for each network interface card (NIC) that is used to pass traffic. You must also use SR-IOV. Although there are a number of ways to turn off LRO, the most reliable way is to connect to the VE guest and use the ethtool utility.
  1. Use an SSH tool to access the management IP address of the BIG-IP® VE system.
  2. From the command line, log in as root.
  3. Use the ethtool to turn off rx-checksumming for the NIC.
    ethtool -K eth<X> rx off
    Important: In this example, substitute the NIC number for <X>.
  4. Use the ethtool to turn off LRO for the NIC.
    ethtool -K eth<X> lro off
    Important: In this example, substitute the NIC number for <X>.
  5. Use the ethtool to turn off GRO for the NIC.
    ethtool -K eth<X> gro off
    Important: In this example substitute the NIC number for <X>.
  6. Use the ethtool to confirm that LRO and GRO are successfully turned off for the NIC.
    ethtool -k eth<X>
    In the system response to your command, you should see this info:

    generic-receive-offload: off

    large-receive-offload: off

    If either of these responses is on, your attempt to turn them off was not successful.
    Important: In this example substitute the NIC number for <X>.
  7. Repeat the previous three steps for each of the NICs that the BIG-IP VE uses to pass traffic.

With LRO and GRO successfully turned off, the performance of the PEM module on the BIG-IP VE system will have better performance and stability.

You can achieve optimum performance (throughput and stability) with the PEM module only if you enable SR-IOV.