F5 BIG-IP Virtual Edition Without Azure Marketplace Access

If you lack access to F5 BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE) images in the Azure Marketplace (when you search for F5, no results are returned), you can upload and create your own.

To deploy F5 BIG-IP VE without Marketplace access:

Step 1: Download a BIG-IP VE image

The first step is to get a BIG-IP VE image (a .vhd file) onto a local drive. You will upload this image to Azure storage.

  1. In a browser, open the F5 Downloads page at https://my.f5.com/manage/s/downloads and log in.
  2. On the Downloads Overview page, select Find a Download.
  3. Under Product Line, select BIG-IP <version>_Virtual Edition.
  4. Under Name, select Azure-Cloud.
  5. Click one of the tar.gz image files.
  6. If the End User Software License is displayed, read it, and then click I Accept.
  7. Choose the download location closest to you.
  8. When the file finishes downloading, unzip the .tar.gz file to a local drive. If you are using Windows, you can use 7-Zip to do this.
  9. After it’s unzipped, extract the .vhd from the .tar file. You can also use 7-Zip to do this.

Step 2: Create an Azure storage account and container

Now create an Azure storage account and container. In the next step you will upload the .vhd file to it.

  1. Open the Azure Portal at https://portal.azure.com.
  2. In the left pane, click All services.
  3. In the filter box, type Storage accounts.
  4. Click Storage accounts.
  5. Click Add.
  6. In the Name box, type a name.
  7. Choose a new or existing resource group.
  8. Click Create.
  9. When the creation succeeds, filter the list of storage accounts and click the one you just created.
  10. In the Services section, click the Blobs label.
  11. On the top toolbar, click Container.
  12. Type a name for the container, and then click OK.

Step 3: Upload the .vhd file to the container

You can upload the .vhd to the container in Azure in one of the following ways:

  • Use Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer.
  • Use the Azure portal. Navigate to the storage account container and click the Upload button. Ensure you have a good network connection, click the container, and from the Blob type list, choose Page blob.
  • Use AZCopy.

Use AzCopy

If you use AzCopy, gather the following information:

  • The name of the directory where the .vhd is stored, for example: c:\vhd
  • The path to the container, for example: https://teststorage.blob.core.windows.net/testcontainer
  • The name of the file, for example: F5_Networks-BIGIP-
  • The access key for the storage account, which you can get by opening the storage account, clicking Access keys and copying the key value.

Open a command-line and change to the AZCopy directory.

cd %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft SDKs\Azure\AzCopy

Then run the command. Using the sample data above:

AzCopy.exe /source:c:\vhd /dest:https://teststorage.blob.core.windows.net/testcontainer /BlobType:page /pattern:F5_Networks-BIGIP- /destkey:<key_value>

Step 4: Deploy a BIG-IP VE instance

You can deploy BIG-IP VE in Azure in a few different ways.

Use a GitHub template

To deploy BIG-IP VE, you can use an F5 BIG-IP Azure ARM Template on GitHub. When you deploy any of the templates, in the Custom Image field, enter the path to the .vhd file.

Use the Azure portal

Alternately, in the Azure portal, you can deploy a single-NIC configuration of BIG-IP VE. To do this, you will create an image from the .vhd file and then create the instance from the image.

  1. Go to All services -> Images.

  2. Click the Add button.

  3. Complete the Create image blade.

    For OS type choose Linux, for Storage blob select the container where the .vhd is stored, and for Account type choose Standard (HDD).

  4. Click Create.

  5. Refresh the Images list and click the image you just created.

  6. Click Create VM.

  7. Complete the Basics blade and click OK.

    Setting Description
    Name A unique name
    VM disk type Choose HDD
    Username Don’t use admin
    Authentication type Use an SSH public key; passwords are not as secure
    Resource group Create new or choose existing
  8. On the Size blade, click an instance type and click Select. Ensure the instance has at least 2 vCPU and 4 GB memory. For each additional vCPU, add at least 2 GB of memory.

  9. Complete the Settings blade and click OK.

    For Boot diagnostics, choose Disabled.

  10. Review the summary and click OK.

To view the instance, go to All services -> Virtual machine. You can connect to port 22 or add a rule for 8443 to connect to the Configuration utility (use https://<publicIPaddress>:8443 to connect).