Deploying BIG-IP VE in VMware vCloud Director

Beginning with BIG-IP version 11.2, you may have noticed a new package in the Virtual Edition downloads folder for vCloud Director 1.5. VMware’s vCloud Director is a software solution enabling enterprises to build multi-tenant private clouds. Each virtual datacenter has its own resource set of cpu, memory, and disk that the vDC owner can allocate as necessary. F5 DevCentral is now running in these virtual datacenter configurations (as announced June 13th, 2012), with full BIG-IP VE infrastructure in place. This article will describe the deployment process to get BIG-IP VE installed and running in the vCloud Director environment.

Uploading the vCloud Image

The upload process is fairly simple, but it does take a while. First, after logging in to the vCloud interface, click catalogs, then select your private catalog.

Once in the private catalog, click the upload button highlighted below.

This will launch a pop up. Make sure the vCloud zip file has been extracted. When the .ovf is selected in this screen, it will grab that as well as the disk file after clicking upload.

Now get a cup of coffee. Or a lot of them, this takes a while.

Deploying the BIG-IP VE OVF Template

Now that the image is in place, click on my cloud at the top navigation, select vApps, then select the plus sign, which will create a new vApp. (Or, the BIG-IP can be deployed into an existing vApp as well.)

Select the BIG-IP VE template (bigip11_2 in the screenshot below) and click next.

Give the vApp a name and click next.

Accept the F5 EULA and click next.

At this point, give the VM a full name and a computer name and click finish. I checked the network adapter box to show the network adapter type. It is not configurable at this point, and the flexible NIC is not the right one.

After clicking finish, the system will create the vApp and build the VM, so maybe it’s time for another cup of coffee.

Once the build is complete, click into the vapp_test vApp.

Right-click on the testbigip-11-2 VM and select properties. Do NOT power on the VM yet!

CPU and memory should not be altered. More CPU won’t help TMM, there is no CMP yet in the virtual edition and one extra CPU for system stuff is sufficient. TMM can’t schedule more than 4G of RAM either. Click the “Show network adapter type” and again you’ll notice the NICs are not correct.

Delete all the network interfaces, then re-add one at a time as many (up to 10 in vCloud Director) NICs as is necessary for your infrastructure. To add a NIC, just click the add button and then select the network dropdown and select Add Network.

At this point, you’ll need to already have a plan for your networking infrastructure. Organizational networks are usable in and between all vApps, whereas vApp networks are isolated to just that instance. I’ll show organizational network configuration in this article. Click Organization network and then click next.

Select the appropriate network and click next. I’ve selected the Management network.

For the management NIC I’ll leave the adapter type as E1000. The IP Mode is useful for systems where guest customization is enabled, but is still a required setting.

I set it to Static-Manual and enter the self IP addresses assigned to those interfaces. This step is still required within the F5, it will not auto-configure the vlans and self IPs for you.

For the remaining NICs that you add, make sure to set the adapter type to VMXNET 3. Then click OK to apply the new NIC configurations.

*Note that adding more than 5 NICs in VE might cause the interfaces to re-order internally. If this happens, you’ll need to map the mac address in vCloud to the mac addresses reported in tmsh and adjust your vlans accordingly.

Powering Up!

After the configuration is updated, right-click on the testbigip-11-2 VM and select power on.

After the VM powers on, BIG-IP VE will boot. Login with root/default credentials and type config at the prompt to set the management ip and netmask.

Select No on auto-configuration

Set the IP address.

Then set the netmask.

I selected no on the default route, but it might be necessary depending on the infrastructure you have in place.

Finally, accept the settings.

At this point, the system should be available on the management network. I have a linux box on that network as well so I can ssh into the BIG-IP VE to perform the licensing steps as the vCloud Director console does not support copy/paste.

Published Jul 03, 2012
Version 1.0

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