Configuring VMware Fusion for Device Services Clustering

There are a couple articles on DevCentral that cover VMware Fusion custom networking and a detailed deployment guide. The goal of this article is to prepare VMware Fusion specifically for setting up device services clustering, or DSC, as detailed in knowledge article K02234544 and in this Youtube video.

This is an example environment using time-limited BIG-IP trial licenses for the purpose of learning how to configure the Device Services Clustering feature. If you're reading this you're probably going through it for the very first time, so it's an introduction-by-screenshot.

Note: BIG-IP on VMware Fusion is unsupported by F5 Networks. The YouTube video explaining Device Service Clustering was performed on a laptop running VMware Fusion, but that does not guarantee that it will work in the future.


  • VMware Fusion Pro
  • A Mac with 16+ GB RAM
  • A valid account at

Setup steps

The following steps will get you to the point where you can follow along with the video or article mentioned above.

Setting up Fusion for multiple networks

Open VMware Fusion and click Preferences.

Click Network Preferences.

Click the golden padlock to allow yourself to make changes, then click the plus button for each of the following networks.

The first network will correspond to your management network on the BIG-IP. Ensure that all of the settings shown here are configured. If you have not configured any other networks, the network will be called vmnet2 and it will be assumed to be called vmnet2 in this guide.

The second network will correspond to the external VLAN when setting up the BIG-IP.

The third network will correspond to the internal VLAN when setting up the BIG-IP.

The fourth network will correspond to the HA VLAN when setting up the BIG-IP.

Download BIG-IP and obtain a trial license

Obtain a BIG-IP software image at

Make sure you choose the Virtual-Edition folder, you're looking for a .ova file to download. Any BIG-IP image will do for this lab, but the most recent LTS image at time of publishing is is a good choice.

Choose the file that ends with "ALL-vmware.ova" and download it.

While you're waiting for the download to complete, you can obtain a trial license by going to You may need to create an account and fill in some contact information. Make sure you generate two trial keys for yourself.

F5 will send you an email with the registration keys. The video shows you how to enter these during system setup.

Now that the BIG-IP image has downloaded you can import it into VMware Fusion. Click Import.

Click Choose File.

Choose the file you downloaded.

The file will now show up in the list. Choose it.

Read and acknowledge the EULA.

The deployment defaults of 2 CPU / 4GB is minimum for LTM but it's also about the maximum a 16GB laptop can do with two VMs and an additional VM for your web servers, so leave it at 2 CPU / 4GB RAM.

Name the VM something descriptive that implies it will be device #1.

It will take a while to import the image.

Once the import is complete, click Customize Settings. Do this before powering on the VM.

Select Networks. Here is how the networks will end up getting mapped.

Choose Network Adapter.

Select vmnet2 and then click Show All.

Choose Network Adapter 2.

Select vmnet3 and then click Show All.

Choose Network Adapter 3.

Select vmnet4 and then click Show All.

Choose Network Adapter 4.

Select vmnet5 and then click Show All.

Now that the networks are configured, you can start the VM.

While this image is booting, you can create the second virtual machine. Give it a descriptive name implying that it is device #2 so you can recognize it later.

Once both VMs have been booted, you will have two command prompts.

Log in using the default BIG-IP credentials. You will be prompted to change your root password. In BIG-IP v14.0.0 and higher this is mandatory. You should also use this opportunity to change the password of the management utility (the GUI). You can do this with the following command:

tmsh modify auth user admin password <password>

Now run the config command.

Press OK

Accept IPv4 as the default.

Choose 'no' to override the DHCP setting.

Set the management IP of BIG-IP #1 to

Leave the netmask at

Configure the route.

Click Yes

VM #1 is done and ready to log in.

Repeat these steps for the second VM, but use as the management IP address.

Using your web browser, you can now log into Note that BIG-IP generates a self-signed management certificate. This will be fine for your local lab but you are required to accept that the SSL certificate is invalid. If using Chrome and it will not let you accept the risk, select a blank spot on the page and type thisisunsafe and it should override the security.

You are now logged into the setup utility. made it!! Now that your VMware Fusion environment is configured, you can proceed to setting up device services clustering, or DSC, as detailed in knowledge article K02234544 and in this Youtube video. Much thanks to Joe Reifel for the detailed diligence in documenting this solution!

Published Apr 20, 2021
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  • Some of this and much of the DSC guide that follows can be automated. In light (and honor) of Francois's charge in his Agility keynote this morning, I'll be following this article up with another to see how much of this manual process can be reduced, even in lab environments.