One question people ask me is “What is the best way to setup a HA?” Also known as an F5 BIG-IP Device Service Cluster, what are the steps are to configure one. There’s a few tricks, and missing one might mean hours of troubleshooting for something simple. I’ll go through the steps to setting up the group right on the first try below. A few things to note. With the device clusters, you can now create multiple active devices in a cluster, but generally I prefer to still run things active/standby. Also, you can pair different types of devices such as VE’s with hardware, or different types of hardware, but I also don’t recommend this. Some things may not work, such as mirroring, and it ends up complicating things unnecessarily.
If you haven’t read step 1 here Starting out with vCMP, first take a look. This describes the features of F5 BIG-IP vCMP. With the basic system settings all set and licensed, go into the System: Resource Provisioning to provision vCMP. You can also do this step as part of the initial setup wizard. You’ll notice that when you have vCMP provisioned, the only option is dedicated, and that when you select it, no other modules can be provisioned with it; provisioning modules such as LTM will disable vCMP.
We’ve recently refreshed our F5 equipment and have decided to use F5’s version of virtualization called vCMP or virtual clustered multiprocessing. The nice thing about the technology is that we can split our F5’s for different sites, or different business units, so we can perform maintenance on one virtual F5 while the sites on the other virtual instances aren’t affected. Let’s discuss some of the F5 vCMP Concepts.