BIG-IP version 10 introduced the concept of application templates. The goal was to provide a wizard for multiple well-deployed applications, abstracting some of the configuration details and reducing human error in the intricacies of following the deployment guides for these applications. A powerful step forward, but there were some limitations, such as the inability to customize the template or the deployment of that template, nor was there a way to centrally (and singly) clean up a template-driven deployment. However, this was only the beginning of the vision. Enter F5 iApps®.
What are iApps?¶
iApps is the BIG-IP® system framework for deploying services-based, template-driven configurations on BIG-IP systems running TMOS® 11.0.0 and later. It consists of three components: Templates, Application Services, and Analytics. An iApps Template is where the application is described and the objects (required and optional) are defined through presentation and implementation language. An iApps Application Service is the deployment process of an iApps Template which bundles all of the configuration options for a particular application together. You would have an iApps Application Service for SharePoint, for example. iApps Analytics include performance metrics on a per-application and location basis.
Benefits of using iApps¶
- Easy editing of configurations and cleanup
- Configuration encapsulation
- Cradle-to-grave configuration management
- Strictness protects against accidental changes to the configuration
- Operational tasks and health status for App objects displayed on App-specific component view (see right)
- Copy/Import/Export capability
- Community support for DevCentral hosted templates
The template is where all the groundwork for deploying application is defined. A template consists of three sections:
- Implementation - The implementation section is written with the TCL-based tmsh scripting language. This is the section that does the work of building and applying the configuration. Anything that can be done in tmsh can be accomplished with an iApps template. tmsh describes the tmsh scripting environment and all the commands and syntax. Use of the iApp.iApp-Utility-Package is encouraged.
- Presentation - The presentation section is written with APL, or application presentation language. This constructs the user interface for the iApp template. The APL page defines the available commands and syntax.
- Help - The help section is html-based and is used to guide users in the use of the iApp template.
iApps templates can also be created, edited, copied, and deleted within tmsh under /sys application template. To enable syntax highlighting, enter ‘modify /cli preference tcl-syntax-highlighting enabled’ at the tmsh cli prompt.
Shipping iApps Templates¶
In versions 12.0+, the following iApps Templates were shipped with BIG-IP:
- DNS Load Balancing
- IP Forwarding
- Microsoft IIS 7 and 7.5
- Microsoft Sharepoint 2010
- Oracle Application Server 10g (and SSO version 10g Release 2 - v10.1.2.0.2)
- Oracle EBS 12
- Oracle PeopleSoft 9
- Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3 (BEA WebLogic 5.1 and 8.1)
- SAP Enterprise Portal 6.0, mySAP ERP 2005
- SAP ERP Central Component 6.0, mySAP ERP 2005
Microsoft Exchange and other supported templates available for download at downloads.f5.com (requires login).
iControl for iApps¶
iApps are supported in iControl.
- To create, modify, or delete iApps templates, see these commands, iApps Template iControl WIKI.
- To deploy, reenter, or delete iApps Application Services, see these commands, iApps Application Service iControl WIKI.
iApps may also be configured via iControl-REST. Some examples are documented here.