Last updated on: 2024-03-26 06:01:13.

XenServer: BIG-IP VE Setup

To deploy BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE) on XenServer, you will perform these tasks.

Step Details
1 Choose the license you want to buy, the BIG-IP VE modules you want, and the throughput you need. See K14810: Overview of BIG-IP VE license and throughput limits on the AskF5 Knowledge Base for details.
2 Confirm that you are running a hypervisor version that is compatible with a BIG-IP VE release. See BIG-IP Virtual Edition Supported Platforms for details.
3 Verify that the host hardware meets the recommended requirements.
4 Download a BIG-IP VE image and deploy it.
5 If you are running a multi-NIC configuration without DHCP, manually assign an IP address for the BIG-IP Config Utility.

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

About single NIC and multi-NIC configurations

A typical BIG-IP VE configuration can include four NICs: one for management, one for internal, one for external, and one for high availability.

However, if you want to create a VM for a quick test, you can create a configuration with just one NIC. In this case, BIG-IP VE creates basic networking objects for you.

When BIG-IP VE first boots, it determines the number of active NICs. If BIG-IP VE detects one NIC, then:

  • Networking objects (vNIC 1.0, a VLAN named Internal, and an associated self IP address) are created automatically for you.

  • The port for the Configuration utility is moved from 443 to 8443.


    If there is no DHCP server in your environment and no IP address automatically assigned, then the networking objects will not be created and the port will not be moved. As an example, do the following, which uses the same IP address for management and self IP:

    1. Disable DHCP and enable setting a static address, tmsh modify sys global-settings mgmt-dhcp disabled. See this routes topic for more information.
    2. Disable single NIC auto-config, tmsh modify sys db provision.1nicautoconfig value disable. See this KVM topic for BIG-IP VE 13.1.X for more information.
    3. Ensure management route will persist, tmsh modify sys db provision.1nic value forced_enable.
    4. Move management port, tmsh modify sys httpd ssl-port 8443. See this K31003634 article for more information.
    5. Add TCP port to the default port lockdown protocols and services, tmsh modify net self-allow defaults add { tcp:8443 }.
    6. Configure static management IP address, tmsh create sys management-ip description 'provisioned by tmos_static_mgmt'
    7. Create and attach internal VLAN to interface 1.0, tmsh create net vlan internal { interfaces replace-all-with { 1.0 { } } tag 4094 mtu 1450 }. Be aware that this configuration my already exist and can produce the following error: “The requested VLAN (/Common/internal) already exists in partition Common.”
    8. Create self IP, assign the same IP as the management IP, and assign internal VLAN to default port lockdown policy, tmsh create net self self_1nic { address allow-service default vlan internal }.
    9. Create management route gateway, tmsh create sys management-route default gateway
    10. Define the TMM default route, tmsh create net route default network default gw
    11. Save the configuration, tmsh save sys config base.
  • High availability (failover) is not supported, but config sync is supported.

  • VLANs must have untagged interface.

If BIG-IP VE detects multiple NICs, then you create the networking objects manually:

  • The port for the Configuration utility remains 443.
  • You can change the number of NICs after first boot and move from single to multi-NIC and vice versa.
  • VLANs can have tagged interfaces.

Prerequisites for BIG-IP Virtual Edition

Host CPU requirements

The host hardware CPU must meet the following requirements.

  • The CPU must have 64-bit architecture.
  • The CPU must have virtualization support (AMD-V or Intel VT-x) enabled in the BIOS.
  • The CPU must 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 your CPU supports the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (AES-NI), SSL encryption processing on BIG-IP VE will be faster. Contact your CPU vendor for details about which CPUs provide AES-NI support.
  • Set CPU appropriately for the required MHz per core. For example, if the hypervisor has 2.0GHz cores, and the VE is set to 4 cores, you will need 4x2.0GHz reserved for 8GHz (or 8000MHz).

Host memory requirements

Number of cores Memory required
1 2 Gb
2 4 Gb
4 8 Gb
8 16 Gb

Virtual machine memory requirements

The guest should have a minimum of 4 GB of RAM for the initial 2 virtual CPUs. For each additional CPU, you should add an additional 2 GB of RAM.

If you license additional modules, you should add memory.

Provisioned memory Supported modules Details
4 GB or fewer Two modules maximum. AAM can be provisioned as standalone only.
4-8 GB Three modules maximum. BIG-IP DNS does not count toward the module limit. Exception: Application Acceleration Manager (AAM) cannot be provisioned with any other module; AAM is standalone only.
8 GB Three modules maximum. BIG-IP DNS does not count toward the module-combination limit.
12 GB or more All modules. N/A


To achieve licensing performance limits, all allocated memory must be reserved.

Virtual machine storage requirements

The amount of storage you need depends on the BIG-IP modules you want to use, and whether or not you intend to upgrade.

Provisioned storage Supported modules Details
9 GB (LTM_1SLOT) Local Traffic Manager (LTM) module only; no space for LTM upgrades. You can increase storage if you need to upgrade LTM or provision additional modules.
40 GB (LTM) LTM module only; space for installing LTM upgrades. You can increase storage if you decide to provision additional modules. You can also install another instance of LTM on a separate partition.
60 GB (ALL_1SLOT) All modules except Secure Web Gateway (SWG); no space for installing upgrades. The Application Acceleration Manager (AAM) module requires 20 GB of additional storage dedicated to AAM. If you are not using AAM, you can remove the datastore disk before starting the VM.
82 GB (ALL) All modules except SWG and space for installing upgrades. The Application Acceleration Manager (AAM) module requires 20 GB of additional storage dedicated to AAM. If you are not using AAM, you can remove the datastore disk before starting the VM.

For production environments, virtual disks should be deployed Thick (allocated up front). Thin deployments are acceptable for lab environments.


To change the disk size after deploying the BIG-IP system, see Increase disk space for BIG-IP VE.

Virtual machine network interfaces

When you deploy BIG-IP VE, a specific number of virtual network interfaces (vNICs) are available.

For Citrix XenServer, two vNICs are required (one for management access and one for traffic).

Each virtual machine can have a maximum of 7 virtual NICs. You can use 1 for management and 6 for dataplane.

Deploy BIG-IP VE in XenServer

To deploy BIG-IP VE, download an image from F5 and deploy it in your environment.


Do not modify the configuration of the XenServer guest environment with settings less powerful than those recommended and described here. This includes the settings for the CPU, RAM, and network adapters. Doing so can produce unexpected results.

  1. In a browser, open the F5 Downloads page and log in.
  2. On the Downloads Overview page, click Find a Download.
  3. Under Product Line, click the link similar to BIG-IP v.x/Virtual Edition.
  4. Click the link similar to x.x.x_Virtual-Edition.
  5. If the End User Software License is displayed, read it and then click I Accept.
  6. Download the BIG-IP VE file package ending with ide.ova.
  7. Extract the file from the Zip archive.
  8. 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.
  1. Start the XenCenter client and log in.

  2. From the XenCenter 6.0 File menu, click File -> Import.

    The Import wizard starts.

  3. For the filename use Browse 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).

  4. Read and accept the license agreement, and click Next.

    The Location screen opens.

  5. Under Home Server, select the home server for the BIG-IP VE virtual machine from the list, and click Next.

  6. On the Storage screen, 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.

  7. On the Networking screen, 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.

  8. 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. Clear this check box before proceeding.

  9. On the Transfer VM Settings screen, click Next. On the Finish screen, review your settings before continuing and click Finish.

The progress bar and text in the Progress pane indicate when the BIG-IP virtual machine creation is complete.

Use BIG-IP configuration utility tool to set management IP address

If your network has DHCP, an IP address is automatically assigned to BIG-IP VE during deployment. You can use this address to access the BIG-IP VE Configuration utility or tmsh command-line utility.

If no IP address was assigned, you can assign one by using the BIG-IP Configuration utility tool.

  1. Connect to the virtual machine by using the hypervisor’s console.

  2. At the login prompt, type root.

  3. At the password prompt, type default.


    If prompted, change your password.

  4. Type config and press Enter.

    The F5 Management Port Setup screen opens.

  5. Click OK.

  6. 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 was set properly.

    You can now log into the BIG-IP VE Config utility using a browser, and license and provision BIG-IP VE.

See Also