Getting Up And Running With F5 ARX Virtual Edition

ARX (Adaptive Resource Switch) is a filesystem virtualization switch, which provides intelligent file virtualization for storage environments. ARX can be used to tier files across multiple filers, provide disaster recovery services, and allow administrators to migrate files between backend filers without disruption of service. These are a few of the use cases for ARX, but by no means all of them. Over the next few months, we will be covering ARX heavily here on DevCentral. Let’s get started by deploying ARX Virtual Edition in our ESX environment.

ARX Virtual Edition resource requirements

The resource requirements are difference depending on the license you have for your ARX VE.

If you have a trial license obtained from the requirements are as follows:

  • 1 CPU core, 64-bit architecture
  • 2 GB of memory
  • 1 Virtual NIC (VNIC)
  • 40 GB or more of hard drive space

If you have a production license or evaluation license, the requirements are as follows:

  • 2 CPU cores, 64-bit architecture
  • 4 GB of memory
  • 1 Virtual NIC (VNIC)
  • 40 GB or more of hard drive space


  1. Download and install VMWare ESXi
  2. Download VMWare vSphere Client from ESXi host and install on local workstation
  3. Generate registration key and download F5 ARX Virtual Edition (VE) 


  1. Connect to ESXi host using VMWare vSphere Client 

  2. Select ‘File’, then ‘Deploy OVF Template…’ 

  3. Browse to the location of the OVF template (arxve-esx-trial-XXXXX.ova), select it, and click ‘Next’ 

  4. Check the ‘OVF Template Details and make sure everything looks correct, then click ‘Next’ 

  5. Name your Virtual Edition instance, click ‘Next’ 

  6. Select ‘Trial’ from the ‘Configuration’ drop-down, click ‘Next’ 

  7. Select ‘Thick provisioned format’ to allocate the disk space immediately (only select ‘Thin provisioned format’ if disk space is an issue and you fully understand its implications), click ‘Next’ 

  8. Select the network you would like to attach the ARX VE VNIC to, click ‘Next’ 

  9. Verify all of the deployment details and click ‘Finish’ if everything is correct 

  10. The OVF template will now be deployed onto the ESXi box. This process can take 5-10 minutes. 

Configuration – command-line portion

  1. Power on ARX VE virtual machine
  2. Open console tab
  3. Press ‘enter’ to start the ‘Switch Configuration Wizard’ 

  4. Enter the following parameters (substitute your values where necessary)

    Management port IP address10.0.0.150
    Management port subnet mask255.255.255.0
    Management port gateway IP address10.0.0.254
    Switch private IP address(accept default)
    Switch private subnet mask(accept default)
    Chassis UUID(accept default)
    Crypto-officer usernameadmin
    Crypto-officer password(use your own)
    System password(use your own)
    Master key(accept default)

  5. Once you have completed the form, type ‘yes’ to accept your changes 

  6. Wait for all the services to restart

Configuration – web interface portion

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to the filer over HTTPS ( in our case) 
  2. Login with the crypto-officer username and password 

  3. From the ‘Common Operations’ leaf, select ‘Initial Setup…’ 

  4. Begin the initial setup wizard (these values will vary with your local environment)

    Switch nametest-arx-ve
    Management protocolsSSH, API Access – HTTPS (we may want this for some iControl examples later on)
    Proxy IP addresses10.0.0.160 (1 is required for ARX VE)
    NTP server10.0.0.254
    Time zone regionNorth and South America contrinents
    Time zone cityPST (-0800)/PDT (-0700) United States Pacific time
    DNS domain
    Primary DNS server10.0.0.254
    DNS search
    Fully qualified domain name of e-mail

  5. Confirm your configuration and click ‘Finish’ to finalize the initial setup
  6. At this point, the VE instance should be fully configured with the exception of licensing the unit 

Activating the license automatically

  1. Locate the email you received containing the registration key and copy the key to your clipboard 

  2. Select ‘Activate License…’ from the web interface of ARX Manager
  3. Paste the registration key into the field of the pop-up window and select ‘Automatic’ if your ARX has a route to the Internet, click ‘Next’ 

  4. Agree to the EULA terms and click ‘Next’ 

  5. If automatic activation worked correctly, you should be presented with a confirmation screen, click ‘Finish’ 

Activating the license manually

  1. Follow steps 1-2 from the previous selection
  2. Paste the registration key into the field of the pop-up window and select ‘Manual’
  3. Copy the dossier to your clipboard and click ‘Click here to access F5 licensing server’ 

  4. Paste dossier into the text field and click ‘Next’ 

  5. Copy the license to your clipboard and post it into the ‘License’ field of the pop-up window, click ‘Next’ 

  6. If manual activation worked correctly, you should be presented with a confirmation screen, click ‘Finish’ (should look like confirmation from previous section, step 5)


Now that you’ve got ARX VE up and running in your environment, you can begin playing with some of the functionality. We will be using a combination of commercial filer simulators in the examples that follow over the next few months. If you want to get ahead of the game, get your favor filer up and running on your ESX box. See everyone next week!

Published May 27, 2011
Version 1.0

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