Last week I got involved in a customer use case where the challenge was to deploy F5 BIG-IP in Google Cloud Platform (GCP) using the Google Deployment Manager. Yes, using our F5 Cloud Solutions templates to deploy F5 BIG-IP into GCP.
What could be easier than grabbing the template of choice, fill in the template and do a “gcloud deployments-manager create…” to deploy though GCP CLI and before you know it, your deployment is up and running, ready to be used.
But no, not this time. The security requirements for this customer are that there is no Internet access available at runtime to get our cloud-libs and assorted packages.
“Houston, we have problem!”
The only way this solution can work is where you are able to download the F5 packages from a GCP local storage like Google Cloud Storage (GCS). This implies that the GDM template must have defined how it should reach out to this GCS to get the packages and this can only be done from within the template definition, using a service account with the right authority. Another point to reckon with is API traffic. Normally the GDM template reaches out to *.googleapis.com and without Internet access this communication needs to get resolved differently. Lastly, the VPC networks connecting the BIG-IP VM need to have access to the API and be able to reach Google API services.
Google Cloud Platform has the mentioned requirements built-in and the following tasks need to get accomplished:
Enable restricted API access on subnets.
Create customer routes for the google API network 126.96.36.199/30.
Create an internal DNS zone which overrides entries for *.googleapis.com.
A GCS bucket with attached service account and SSH keys allowing the retrieval of locally stored F5 cloud-libs, GCE cloud-libs and F5 Automation Toolchain files.
A tweaked F5 BIG-IP GDM template, based on BIG-IP 3NIC existing-stack PAYG, but every F5 GDM template can be used.
The link to the step-by-step guide and the tweaked F5 GDM template can be found in the resource section of this article.
When a customer use case requires BIG-IP to be isolated from the Internet - fear no more - this can be done.
Google Cloud Platform provides the capability to redirect network and DNS to restricted.googleapi.com, making that an isolated VM, able to leverage the Google API is exactly what the customized GDM template needs to start functioning. Deploying a BIG-IP where packages get downloaded from the local Google Cloud Storage and installing them to get the BIG-IP up and running can be done in just a few minutes.
Once the BIG-IP is operational it can be used to deploy any application service or application security to deliver available and protected apps.