Your introduction to F5's BIG-IP platform may be a well-planned training schedule around a large datacenter project. Or, like me, you showed up for work and there was a large box in your cube with a note from your boss saying "Come see me". If you're in the latter category you may need some assistance getting up and running and finding the proper resources to understand, implement, and troubleshoot your new BIG-IP environment. Lets point you to the right places to get you installed and running and show you where the most valuable resources are.
Depending on what platform you received and if you're running HA configurations, make yourself a checklist of everything purchased and needed to ensure a quick and painless install. Nothings worse than getting everything racked and realizing your fans are blowing backwards or you forgot to order the correct SFPs. Platform guides are available based on the version of BIG-IP running.
F5 BIG-IP Product Support - Select your BIG-IP version and scroll down to see the supported platform list. These documents will include power and physical requirements, supported blades, SFP support, and cabling considerations. This is the checklist you'll want to prepare before you start building your applications.
All hardware ships with the current release of software but you may need to install a hotfix if it was released recently and not rolled up into the base version. Understanding the build version and find out how to view the software version will be very helpful when downloading and updating BIG-IP.
BIG-IP Systems: Upgrading Software - If you determine you need to update your software, follow the upgrade documentation so you're running on current software before you go live; and before you need to call support.
F5 provides images for several flavors of virtualization. From VMware ESX/i and Citrix XenServer, to KVM and custom images for Azure and AWS, we should have your virtual machine needs covered. Download the appropriate image and follow along the corresponding installation guide to get you up and running in no time.
You have a support contract with your new BIG-IP purchase; use it. Don't get frustrated, get answers. You can contact support via the following methods:
Support will always ask for some detail on your system so it's helpful to have this information available when you start the case. It's always better to be over-prepared with as much detail as possible.
Integrating your BIG-IP into a software development lifecycle or infrastructure SLA will require you to bridge knowledge gaps between the network admin, security architect, system admin, and application developer. Having skills to troubleshoot the full application stack is very helpful in solving problems and implementing streamlined solutions for you and your customers. Here's a couple things to get you started down the path towards BIG-IP hero.