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Amazon Web Services: Multi-NIC BIG-IP VE

The following diagram shows a basic multi-NIC deployment of BIG-IP VE in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

Complete the tasks in this guide to create this deployment.

Alternately, you can use CloudFormation templates to create this deployment. For more information about CloudFormation templates provided by F5, go to https://github.com/F5Networks.

../_images/multi_deploy1.png

This deployment shows three subnets:

  • An external, public subnet, where you’ll create a virtual server to accept Internet traffic.
  • An internal, private subnet, where your application servers live.
  • A management subnet, where you can access the BIG-IP Configuration utility; you use the Configuration utility to configure BIG-IP VE.

Traffic flows from clients through BIG-IP VE to application servers.

You create all IP addresses and network interfaces in AWS. Then in BIG-IP VE, you create corresponding objects for the same IP addresses, represented by the shaded boxes in the diagram.

Prepare

To create a multi-NIC configuration, you must first create an Amazon virtual private cloud (VPC). This is the network environment where your instances will reside.

Step Task Description
1 Create an SSH key pair Create a key pair. You will need it to access the instance.
2 Create a VPC with multiple subnets

Use the VPC wizard to create a management subnet for administrative access, an external subnet for application access, and a NAT instance for network translation.

  • Management subnet (called Public in the AWS UI): 10.0.0.0/24
  • External subnet (called Private in the AWS UI): 10.0.1.0/24
  • NAT instance and associated network interface.
3 Create an internal subnet

This subnet contains your web servers.

  • Internal subnet: 10.0.2.0/24
4 Add routes so BIG-IP VE can access the Internet Add the private IP address of the external subnet as the gateway in a route for outbound traffic.
5 Create security groups

These groups determine which traffic can travel in and out of the VPC.

  • Management traffic group
  • Virtual server traffic group

Create an SSH key pair

To access Amazon EC2 instances, you must have an SSH key pair. You can create one in AWS or import a key pair if you already have one.

In AWS, note the region you are in. Everything you create in the console going forward must be in the same region.

Later, you will use an SSH tool like PuTTY to access your EC2 instance. You may have to use PuTTYgen to convert the .pem file to .ppk format.

Create a VPC with multiple subnets

A BIG-IP VE instance must be in an Amazon virtual private cloud (VPC). You can use a wizard to create a VPC that has management and external subnets. You will create the internal subnet separately.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select VPC.

  2. Click Start VPC Wizard -> VPC with Public and Private Subnets, and then click Select.

  3. Complete the wizard with the following entries.

    The subnet listed as Public in the AWS UI is for management traffic to the BIG-IP Configuration utility. The subnet listed as Private is for application traffic to the BIG-IP VE external VLAN.

    ../_images/vpc_multi_subnet.png

  4. Leave all other default settings and click Create VPC.

Create an internal subnet

When you used the VPC wizard, you created two subnets: management and external. Note the availability zone for these subnets (for example, us-west-2a).

Now create the internal subnet in that same availability zone. The internal subnet corresponds to the BIG-IP internal VLAN.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select VPC.

  2. In the Navigation pane, under Virtual Private Cloud, select Subnets.

  3. Click Create Subnet and populate the appropriate fields.

    Field Value
    Name tag Internal
    VPC Your VPC
    Availability Zone The zone where the other subnets reside
    CIDR block 10.0.2.0/24

  4. Click Yes, Create.

Your VPC should now have three subnets.

../_images/three_subnets.png

Add routes so BIG-IP VE can access the Internet

By default, AWS will not allow traffic from the management and external subnets to leave the VPC. You must add the BIG-IP external self IP address to the routing table for outbound traffic for the VPC.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select VPC.

  2. In the Navigation pane, under Virtual Private Cloud, select Route Tables.

  3. Select the routing table with one subnet.

    ../_images/routes1.png

  4. Click the Subnet Associations tab at the bottom of the screen.

  5. Click Edit.

    ../_images/routes2.png

  6. Select the check box for the external subnet, 10.0.1.0/24.

    ../_images/routes3.png

  7. Click Save.

The management and external subnets are now explicitly associated with the route table.

Create security groups

Amazon security groups control the inbound and outbound traffic allowed by an EC2 instance.

You can create security groups based on your needs. This specific configuration uses three security groups: one for the BIG-IP Configuration utility, one for virtual server traffic, and one for internal traffic.

  1. In AWS, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select VPC.

  2. In the Navigation pane, under Security, select Security Groups.

  3. Click Create Security Group.

  4. Create three groups associated with the VPC, based on the following information. Leave outbound traffic for each group as the default (all).

    Name tag Inbound rules Source
    Management

    SSH

    HTTPS

    ICMP

    A secure network or, temporarily, 0.0.0.0/0 for internet access.
    VirtualServer

    HTTP

    HTTPS

    TCP 4353 (Source = 0.0.0.0/0) GTM only

    For HTTP and HTTPS, use the port that serves the virtual traffic. Or temporarily, 0.0.0.0/0 for Internet access.
    Internal

    TCP 4353

    UDP 1026

    BIG-IP VE uses these two ports for config sync and failover.

Deploy

Now deploy a BIG-IP VE instance and configure basic networking for it.

Step Task Description  
1 Deploy the BIG-IP VE instance

From the AWS Marketplace, choose an F5 BIG-IP VE image. Ensure you add an extra, external NIC.

  • Management interface: eth0 10.0.0.200
  • External interface: eth1 10.0.1.200
2 Create an internal network interface

You created NICs for the management and external subnets when you deployed the instance. You must create an internal NIC and reboot, so BIG-IP VE can recognize the new NIC, and hourly instances can license with F5.

  • Internal interface: eth2 10.0.2.200
3 Create an Elastic IP for the BIG-IP Configuration utility

An EIP address is a publicly-routable address that provides access to the BIG-IP Configuration utility. If the BIG-IP VE reboots, stops, or terminates, the EIP address persists on that NIC.

  • EIP: x.x.x.x
4 Add a secondary private IP address for the virtual server

This is the address BIG-IP VE will use for the virtual IP address.

  • Secondary private IP: 10.0.1.202
5 Create an Elastic IP for the virtual server

You must create an EIP address and associate it with the secondary private IP address of the external subnet. This will make the virtual server accessible from the Internet.

  • EIP: x.x.x.x

Deploy the BIG-IP VE instance

To create an EC2 instance of BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE), you deploy a version of it from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace.

  1. Go to the AWS Marketplace.

  2. In the Search AWS Marketplace field, type F5 BIG-IP and then click GO.

  3. Click the version you want to deploy, and then click Continue.

    Important: Choose the region where you created your VPC.

  4. By the appropriate region, click Launch with EC2 Console.

  5. Select an instance type.

  6. Click Next: Configure Instance Details.

  7. In the Number of Network Instances field, type 1.

  8. From the Network list, select your VPC.

  9. From the Subnet list, select the management subnet: 10.0.0.0/24.

    ../_images/deploybigip1.png

  10. On the lower part of the screen, expand Network interfaces and click Add Device.

  11. For eth0, type the IP address of 10.0.0.200. For eth1, select the external subnet, and type the primary IP address of 10.0.1.200.

    Important: You must create the second interface (eth1) or BIG-IP VE will not install properly.

    ../_images/deploybigip2.png

  12. Click Next: Add Storage.

  13. Click Next: Tag instance.

  14. In the Value field, type a name for the instance. If you plan to create multiple BIG-IP VEs, you might want to name it BIG-IP A.

  15. Click Next: Configure Security Group.

  16. For Assign a Security Group, select Select an existing security group and choose both Management and VirtualServer.

  17. Click Review and Launch.

  18. Confirm that all settings are correct, and then click Launch.

  19. Select the key pair you created, select the acknowledgement check box, and click Launch Instances.

  20. Click View Instances to view the new instance.

When the status in the Status Checks column has changed from Initializing to 2/2 checks passed, the instance is ready.

Important: If you chose an hourly instance, you must associate an AWS Elastic IP address with the instance while it is launching, so the instance can register the license with F5. If the instance does not have internet access when it first boots, you must reboot the instance so it can connect to F5 for licensing.

Create an internal network interface

When you created the BIG-IP VE instance, you associated two network interfaces with it (one for management and one for external). To connect BIG-IP VE with your internal servers, create an internal network interface, and attach it to your BIG-IP VE instance.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select EC2.

  2. In the Navigation pane, under NETWORK & SECURITY, select Network Interfaces.

  3. Enter names for your existing network interfaces. In the list, there should be one interface for the NAT instance and two interfaces for BIG-IP VE. Use the values in the Primary private IP column to determine which NIC is for which subnet.

    ../_images/internal_nic1.png

  4. Click Create Network Interface and populate the appropriate fields.

    Field Value
    Description Internal
    Subnet 10.0.2.0/24
    Private IP 10.0.2.200
    Security groups InternalTraffic

  5. Click Yes, Create.

    AWS adds the network interface to the list.

  6. Update the name in the list to Internal.

  7. Right-click the new Internal network interface and select Attach.

    ../_images/internal_nic2.png

    The Attach Network Interface popup screen opens.

  8. From the Instance ID list, select the VE instance that you created and click Attach.

    ../_images/internal_nic3.png

Important: You must now reboot the BIG-IP VE so that it can register the new NIC. To do this, right-click the instance in the Instances list and choose Instance State -> Reboot.

Create an Elastic IP for the BIG-IP Configuration utility

In order to access the BIG-IP Configuration utility from the Internet, the BIG-IP VE instance must have an Elastic IP (EIP) address associated with it. Hourly instances of BIG-IP VE must also have internet access so that they can get a license from F5.

Note: EIPs are accessible to the Internet. Because of this, later you will set a strong password for the BIG-IP VE admin account, which you use to access the Configuration utility.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select EC2.

  2. In the Navigation pane, under NETWORK & SECURITY, select Elastic IPs.

  3. Click Allocate New Address.

  4. From the EIP used in list, select VPC.

    ../_images/elasticip1.png

  5. Click Yes, Allocate and then click Close.

  6. Right-click the newly created EIP and select Associate Address from the popup menu screen.

  7. Select the BIG-IP VE instance and the management subnet’s private IP address, 10.0.0.200.

    ../_images/elasticip2.png

  8. Click Associate.

Later, you will use this EIP to access the BIG-IP Configuration utility.

Add a secondary private IP address for the virtual server

Before you can create a virtual server, you must assign a secondary IP address to the external network interface. You will associate this secondary IP address with the BIG-IP VE virtual server address.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select EC2.

  2. In the Navigation pane, under NETWORK & SECURITY, select Network Interfaces.

  3. Identify the external network interface (the NIC that uses the 10.0.1.0 subnet).

  4. Right-click the external network interface and click Manage Private IP Addresses.

  5. Below the existing address, select Assign new IP.

  6. Type 10.0.1.202 for the address.

  7. Click Yes, Update.

    ../_images/secondarypip.png

  8. Click Cancel to close the dialog box.

The new IP address is in the Secondary private IPs column of the Network Interfaces screen. Later, you will enter this IP address in BIG-IP VE as the virtual server address.

Create an Elastic IP for the virtual server

Before you begin, note the secondary private IP address assigned to the external network interface. If you followed the steps in the previous task, the secondary private IP address is 10.0.1.202.

Now make the virtual server IP address (the secondary private IP address) accessible to the Internet by associating an Elastic IP (EIP) address with it.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, from the Services menu at the top of the screen, select EC2.
  2. In the Navigation pane, under NETWORK & SECURITY, select Elastic IPs.
  3. Click Allocate New Address.
  4. From the EIP used in list, select VPC.
  5. Click Yes, Allocate, and then click Close.
  6. From the list of EIP addresses, right-click the newly created address, and select Associate Address from the popup menu screen.
  7. Select the external interface and the secondary IP address (10.0.1.202).
  8. Click Associate.

Configure

Finally, configure BIG-IP VE so that traffic passes through it to your application servers.

Step Task Description
1 Set the admin password for BIG-IP VE

Before you can license and provision BIG-IP VE, use SSH and your key pair to connect to the instance and set a strong password.

  • In tmsh, type modify auth password admin
2 License BIG-IP VE Use the admin account to log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility (https://<ElasticIP>). If you have trouble accessing the Configuration utility, check the AWS security groups to ensure that they allow the appropriate traffic.
3 Provision BIG-IP VE Enable the modules you need.
4 Create internal and external VLANs

These VLANs and their interfaces directly correspond to the AWS external and internal subnets and their interfaces.

  • external VLAN interface: 1.1
  • internal VLAN interface: 1.2
5 Create internal and external self IPs

These static IP addresses provide a way for application traffic to reach the BIG-IP system. These addresses should match the private IP addresses you assigned to the external and internal subnets in AWS.

  • External self IP: 10.0.1.200
  • Internal self IP: 10.0.2.200
6 Create a pool and add members to it Create a pool with pool members on the internal VLAN.
7 Create a virtual server

The virtual server provides a destination for your inbound web traffic and points to the pool of web servers. The destination IP address must match the secondary private IP address you assigned to the external subnet in AWS.

  • Virtual IP: 10.0.1.202

Set the admin password for BIG-IP VE

The first time you boot BIG-IP VE, you must connect to the instance and create a strong admin password. You will use the admin account and password to access the BIG-IP Configuration utility.

This management interface may be accessible to the Internet, so ensure the password is secure.

This example shows how to use PuTTy to connect, but you can use any SSH utility.

  1. Open PuTTy and in the Host Name (or IP address) field, enter the external IP address.

    ../_images/admin_password1.png

  2. In the Category pane on the left, click Connection -> SSH -> Auth.

  3. In the Private key file for authentication field, choose your .ppk file.

    ../_images/admin_password2.png

  4. Click Open.

  5. If a host key warning appears, click OK.

    The terminal screen displays: login as:.

  6. Type admin and press Enter.

    You are now at the tmsh command prompt.

  7. Modify the admin password:

    modify auth password admin

    The terminal screen displays the message:

    changing password for admin
    new password:
    
  8. Type the new password and press Enter.

    The terminal screen displays the message:

    confirm password

  9. Re-type the new password and press Enter.

  10. Ensure that the system retains the password change and press Enter.

    save sys config

    The terminal screen displays the message:

    Saving Ethernet mapping...done

License BIG-IP VE

You must enter license information before you can use BIG-IP VE.

  1. Open a web browser and log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility by using https with the external IP address, for example: https://<external-ip-address>. The username is admin and the password is the one you set previously.

  2. On the Setup Utility Welcome page, click Next.

  3. On the General Properties page, click Activate.

  4. In the Base Registration key field, enter the case-sensitive registration key from F5.

    For Activation Method, if you have a production or Eval license, choose Automatic and click Next.

    If you chose Manual, complete these steps:

    1. In the Step 1: Dossier field, copy all of the text and then click Click here to access F5 Licensing Server.

      ../_images/license1.png

      A separate web page opens.

    2. On the new page, click Activate License.

    3. In the Enter your dossier field, paste the text and click Next.

      ../_images/license2.png

    4. Accept the agreement and click Next.

    5. On the Activate F5 Product page, copy the license text in the box. Now go back to the BIG-IP Configuration utility and paste the text into the Step 3: License field.

      ../_images/license3.png

    6. Click Next.

The BIG-IP VE system registers the license and logs you out. When the configuration change is successful, click Continue to provision BIG-IP VE.

Provision BIG-IP VE

You must confirm the modules you want to run before you can begin to work in the BIG-IP Configuration utility.

  1. Open a web browser and log in to the BIG-IP Configuration utility.

  2. On the Resource Provisioning screen, change settings if necessary and click Next.

  3. On the Device Certificates screen, click Next.

  4. On the Platform screen, in the Admin Account field, re-enter the password for the admin account and click Next.

    ../_images/provision1.png

    BIG-IP VE logs you out.

  5. When you log back in, on the Setup Utility -> Network screen, in the Advanced Network Configuration area, click Finished.

    ../_images/provision2.png

Create internal and external VLANs

In BIG-IP VE, you must create an external and internal VLAN that corresponds to the AWS VPC subnets.

  1. In the BIG-IP VE Configuration utility, on the Setup Utility Network page, under Advanced Network Configuration, click Finished.

  2. On the Main tab, click Network -> VLANs.

  3. Click Create and populate the appropriate fields for the external VLAN.

    Field Value
    Name external
    Interface 1.1
    Tagging Untagged

  4. Click Finished.

  5. Now click Create again and populate the appropriate fields for the internal VLAN.

    Field Value
    Name internal
    Interface 1.2
    Tagging Untagged

  6. Click Finished.

The screen refreshes, and the two new VLANs are in the list.

../_images/vlans.png

Create internal and external self IPs

Before starting these steps, in AWS, note the primary private IP addresses for the external network interface (device index 1) and the internal network interface (device index 2).

Then in BIG-IP VE, create an external and internal self IP address, based on these private IP addresses.

  1. In the BIG-IP VE Configuration utility, on the Main tab, click Network -> Self IPs.

  2. Click Create and populate the appropriate fields for the external self IP address.

    Field Value
    Name ExternalSelfIP
    IP Address 10.0.1.200
    Netmask 255.255.255.0
    VLAN/Tunnel external
    Port Lockdown Allow All

  3. Click Repeat and populate the appropriate fields for the internal self IP address.

    Field Value
    Name InternalSelfIP
    IP Address 10.0.2.200
    Netmask 255.255.255.0
    VLAN/Tunnel internal
    Port Lockdown Allow All

  4. Click Finished.

The screen refreshes, and the two new self IP addresses are in the list.

Create a pool and add members to it

Traffic goes through BIG-IP VE to a pool. Your application servers should be members of this pool.

  1. Open a web browser and go to the BIG-IP Configuration utility, using the public IP address on the management network, for example: https://<external-ip-address>.

  2. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic -> Pools.

  3. Click Create.

  4. In the Name field, type web_pool. Names must begin with a letter, be fewer than 63 characters, and can contain only letters, numbers, and the underscore (_) character.

  5. For Health Monitors, move https from the Available to the Active list.

  6. Choose the load balancing method or retain the default setting.

  7. In the New Members section, in the Address field, type the IP address of the application server.

  8. In the Service Port field, type a service port, for example, 443.

  9. Click Add.

    The list now contains the member.

  10. Add additional pool members as needed and click Finished.

Create a virtual server

You must create a virtual server for the secondary private IP address that’s associated with the external network interface. Application traffic goes to the Elastic IP (EIP) address associated with this BIG-IP VE virtual server.

  1. In the BIG-IP Configuration utility, on the Main tab, click Local Traffic -> Virtual Servers.

  2. Click Create and populate the following fields.

    Field Value
    Name A unique name
    Destination Address/Mask 10.0.1.202
    Service Port A port number or a service name from the Service Port list
    HTTP Profile http
    Source Address Translation Auto Map
    Default Pool web_pool

  3. Configure any other settings as needed and click Finished.

Traffic to the virtual server EIP address will now go to the pool members.