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BIG-IP Basics (optional)

Just in case you’re new to the F5 BIG-IP platform (or need a refresher) we’ve included some links and videos below that will help get you started.

What is BIG-IP

Source: https://devcentral.f5.com/articles/lightboard-lessons-what-is-big-ip-26793

BIG-IP Basic Nomenclature

Source: https://devcentral.f5.com/articles/lightboard-lessons-big-ip-basic-nomenclature-26144

F5 DevCentral BIG-IP Basics Articles

BIG-IP Basics Articles: https://devcentral.f5.com/articles?tag=devcentral+basics

HA Proxy to BIG-IP Quick Start

If you’re already familiar with HA Proxy, learning F5 BIG-IP is straightforward once you learn the associated F5 terminology.

Here is a list of common HA Proxy configuration terminology and its F5 equivalent:

HA Proxy F5 BIG-IP
Frontend Virtual Server (VIP)
Backend Pool
Server Member
mode http HTTP Profile
default_backend Default pool
use_backend LTM policy
check port Health monitor

NGINX to BIG-IP Quick Start

If you are already familiar with NGINX, learning F5 BIG-IP will be straightforward once you learn the F5 terminology.

NGINX administrators usually use multiple files and leverage the include command in their config to break down the config and make it easier to manage. F5 leverages Profiles which can be applied to a Virtual Server.

NGINX uses in-band (passive) health monitors which can be enabled on F5 through the creation of an inband monitor. BIG-IP also supports the use of active health monitors, which will poll the pool member periodically. Both can be used together for better monitoring of your services.

F5 BIG-IP supports control-plane and data-plane programmability with:

  • Node.js through the use of iRulesLX, iControlLX and iAppsLX
  • TCL through the use of iRules and iApp Templates

A lot of the manual configuration and scripting steps that are required with NGINX are supported more easily through various config parameters and profiles in BIG-IP. By leveraging the control-plane programmability features this class covers you can achieve full automation of your services with the BIG-IP platform.

F5 BIG-IP is designed to be a full proxy by default. In most cases there is no need to tune TCP & HTTP buffering like you would on NGINX (i.e. using proxy_buffering). This is because the default settings have been optimized and can adapt to most situations.

Here is a list of common NGINX configuration terminology and its F5 equivalent:

listen Virtual Server Port (VIP)
upstream Pool
proxy_pass Default Pool
server Member
ssl_certificate SSL Profile Option
return LTM HTTP Policy Option
proxy_set_header X Forwarded For HTTP Profile Option Insert X-Forwarded-For
proxy_set_header LTM HTTP Policy Option
add_header LTM HTTP Policy Option
location & proxy_pass LTM HTTP Policy Option
Proxy Cache Web Acceleration Policy