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Roland00's avatar
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Sep 14, 2023

Most efficient methods for Connection logging?

Does anyone have real world experience with logging connections at a high rate? If so, which methods are you using to collect and transmit the data? 

We have a requirement to log all connections going through our F5 devices. Things like the client/server-side IPs/ports as well as HTTP details for HTTP VIPs and DNS details from our GTMs. It's the Whitehouse M-21-31 mandate if anyone if familiar with it. 

I've used Request Logging Profiles and various iRules with HSL to collect this type of data before, but I've never been too concerned about overhead because I would only apply them as needed, like when t-shooting an issue with a VIP. Our busiest appliance pushes around 150k conn/sec and 5k HTTP req/sec, so I now have consider the most efficient methods to avoid any kind of impact to traffic flows. I've done some lab testing with several different methods but I can't do any meaningful load tests in that environment. Below are some of my opinions based on my lab testing so far.

Data Collection

AVR - I like that this single feature can meet all the requirements for collecting TCP, HTTP, and DNS data. It would also be relatively easy to perform audits to ensure the VIPs have the necessary Analytics profiles as we can manage it from the AVR profiles themselves. My main concern is the overhead that results from the traffic analysis. I assume it has to maintain a large database where it stores all the analyzed data even if we just ship it off to Splunk. Even the data shipped off to Splunk includes several different logs for each connection (each with a different 'Entity').

Request Logging Profile - This is fairly flexible and should have low overhead since the F5 doesn't need to analyze any of the data like AVR does. This only collects HTTP data so we still need another solution to collect details for non HTTP VIPs. It would be a pain to audit since we don't have use any kind of deployment templates or automation.

iRule - This provides a lot of flexibility and it is capable of collecting all the necessary data, but I don't know how well performance overhead compares to AVR. This would also be a pain to audit due to lack of deployment templates and automation.

Data Transmission

HSL UDP Syslog - I imagine this is the most efficient method to send events, but it's likely only a matter of time before we are required to use TCP/TLS. 

Telemetry Streaming - This is the more modern method and it offers some interesting features like System Poller, which could eventually allow us to move away from SNMP polling. We would need a workaround for our GTM-only devices because they cannot run a TS listener. 




1 Reply

  • Roland00 I hate to say it but I think this might be the case where you might use several BIG-IQ DCDs. You might consider contacting your F5 engineer and see what they have to say on this matter because they usually know exactly what you're looking for in instances such as this.