Getting Started with BIG-IP Next: Installing Instances on VMware Fusion

Introductions have been made, fundamentals have been shared, and NOW it's time to make stuff happen! In this article, I'll show you how to get a BIG-IP Next Instance installed on VMware Fusion.

NoteFusion is not a supported installation target, but if you're working on discovery and/or using it for lab purposes, it'll work just fine.

Download the bits...

Login to MyF5 and head to the downloads section. Select the BIG-IP_Next group, the Virtual Edition (VE) product line, and your choice of the product version (20.0 in my case for this article, the rest of the values in parentheses follow suit, but you might choose different versions/locations). Next, select a product container (20.0.2). Select the OVA file (BIG-IP-Next-20.0.2-2.139.10+0.0.165.ova), select the download location (USA - EAST COAST) and then click download. My selections as stated are shown below.

Install Next Instance

Launch VMware Fusion, and make sure you have 2 VCPus, 8GB RAM, and 80GB of disk handy for the installation! Right-click on the VIRTUAL MACHINES icon and click new.

On the select the installation method screen, select import an existing virtual machine and then click continue.

Next, select choose file and select the bits you downloaded, then click continue. In my case, I already had the file in my recent items.

Name your virtual machine and then click save. I named mine Next-VM1 (so I can add Next-VM(x) instances later for HA and other purposes)

By default, the instance will be configured with a single NIC, 8 vCPUs, and 16GB of RAM. I'm going to scale that down in my lab, so I hit Customize Settings. If you hit finish accidentally and it powers on, just kill the power and go to settings for the virtual machine to continue.

In settings, click on the Processors & Memory icon.

On this screen I changed from 8 processor cores to 2, and 16GB of RAM to 8GB, then I clicked Show All at the top of the dialog.

Next, in the upper right of the dialog, I clicked Add Device...

Then I highlighted Network Adapter and then clicked Add...

In the NIC settings, I set the network to vmnet2, which is a host-only network in my Fusion setup that I use as the client-side network for BIG-IP devices. After selecting your network, click Show All and then add another Network Adapter for your server-side network following the previous two steps. Afterward, your virtual machine settings should reflect three NICs.

Close out the settings window and navigate to your virtual machine's configuration file. Mine is /Users/notsofastmyfriend/Virtual Machines.localized/Next-VM1.vmwarevm/Next-VM1.vmx. Open that file in your favorite editor and validate that the network interface virtualDev settings are all vmxnet3. By default on my Fusion installation, any added network adapters are set to type e1000 and that is not a setting I could find to change in the GUI client.

notsofastmyfriend@mymac Next-VM1.vmwarevm % cat Next-VM1.vmx | grep ethernet..virtualDev
ethernet0.virtualDev = "vmxnet3"
ethernet1.virtualDev = "vmxnet3"
ethernet2.virtualDev = "vmxnet3"

Save if you made changes and exit that file. Now, start up your new BIG-IP Next Instance! At power-on, you might notice a message to update tools. I click yes here and then acknowledge the side channel mitigations notice.

Set Up BIG-IP Next Instance

After the virtual machine boots up, log in to the instance with admin/admin. I noticed with my instance that the management interface was bound to my 2nd network adapter instead of my first, so I had to move the networks they were attached to in settings in order to get my management interface to pick up a DHCP address in the correct network with my Central Manager.

At the command line, type setup.

I did not set a static IP, choosing to leave this on DHCP in my lab. I named my vlans v102 and v103 for internal/external (note: vlan name max length is 15 characters!), and assigned an address to each self. I didn't assign a static route as my lab is intentionally isolated, and I skipped the license for now, I'll do that part from Central Manager when I onboard the instances.

Grab a cup of coffee or take a bio break, the configuration can take several minutes for the API to be ready. You should see that the setup completed successfully.

And that's a wrap! Now the instance is ready to be onboarded in Central Manager!


Create a BIG-IP Next Instance Locally on VMware



Published Feb 14, 2024
Version 1.0

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1 Comment

  • I am not able to make this work... i am running VMWARE Fusion on a MAC and i install the CM and it comes up and works great.  I also configure and run a NEXT instance with a Mgmt IP and a Dataplane interface and the default GW on both... i am able to add a NEXT instance to CM via Mgmt IP of both and all good there but i am not able to make Next Dataplane networks to come up.  Nothing in IFCONFIG,  i changed to vmxnet3 in the VMWARE file and all good but it's not picking up my data plane network interface.  Any ideas just let me know.

    I am trying to get my lab setup so we can look at moving to Next.  and note that ifconfig does not show my data plane network interfaces but i did add them in VMWARE fusion configuration prior to starting the VM.  Thanks,

    Steve H>