F5® Load Balancer Monitoring and Support

The Challenge

Today’s market is transitioning to an environment that offers network function virtualization in which services such as application load balancing and firewalling are delivered via software running on virtual machines. This makes the ability to monitor physical appliances and virtual implementations as a single system more critical than ever.

The F5 BIG-IP platform is a flexible solution that allows you to deploy local load balancing, global load balancing, application delivery controllers and more, across both physical and virtual platforms. While it’s true that some F5 monitoring can be achieved via traditional SNMP polling, a comprehensive view of the performance of F5 network services functions requires a combination of SNMP polling, scripted F5 command line access and F5 syslog message analysis.

As a user of F5’s BIG-IP® system, you know how important it is to keep your network performing at peak levels. The SevOne NPM team believes the right partnerships can help further your efforts in this area. So, we’ve teamed up with F5 to ensure application and service delivery of critical business services.

SevOne NPM can help you answer these critical questions:

  • Are load balancers keeping up or becoming a bottleneck for traffic?
  • Are all servers responding and being used to their full potential?
  • Are network congestion issues preventing access to certain servers?
  • How do session counts, Virtual IPs and # of connections compare to their historical norms?

The F5 BIG-IP platform stores performance metrics in many different ways. The SevOne NPM collects all the different and disparate metrics and produces real time reports in a single pane of glass. It also uses polling via SNMP, flow collection via sFlow, scripting via the tmsh, and logging collection via Syslog to produce real time reports and alerting. Historical reporting, capacity planning and baseline analysis are all part of how SevOne NPM  reports on F5 BIG-IP devices.

Key Benefits

  • Get a comprehensive view of performance with SNMP, shell scripts, and syslog analysis of F5 network services
  • Automatically baseline all F5 performance KPI’s collected
  • Fix issues before consumers are affected with real-time alerting of F5 performance issues
  • Visually analyze year-over-year performance using a year’s worth of F5 raw data
  • Add additional F5 resources before outages occur using capacity planning reporting capabilities

Leveraging sFlow

The BIG-IP® system (TMOS v11.4.0 and higher) can be configured to send performance data via sFlow. SevOne NPM allows you to view sFlow records and analyze traffic on the BIG-IP system. This helps you troubleshoot network and application issues and profile the types of traffic being distributed by the BIG-IP system.

Monitoring VIPs

In situations where traffic is higher than expected, SevOne NPM lets you go beyond the connections per second hit rate and view flow records filtered on a particular VIP. This enables you to identify which unique users are hitting the VIP, and how much bandwidth they’re consuming for which application type.

Keeping an Eye on F5 Devices

SevOne NPM  automatically baselines normal performance of your F5 environment and triggers real-time alerts when key indicators like CPU, memory and disk deviate from expected behavior or allowable thresholds. It instantly reports on and analyzes more than 20 metrics including connections per VIP, resource utilization per server pool and application response times. For historical reporting, it maintains a year of as-polled data, so you never have to use aggregated – and less granular – metrics to try and understand the actual performance of your load balancer, network and servers.

LTM Pool Statistics

TMM Server Statistics

  • Hardware assisted connections & connections/s
  • In accelerated Bytes
  • Out accelerated Bytes
  • Accelerated connections & connections/s
  • In accelerated packets
  • Out accelerated packets
  • In server bytes
  • Out server bytes
  • In accelerated packets
  • Out accelerated packets
  • Server-side bytes received
  • Server-side bytes sent
  • Rejected Connections

Additional Benefits of SevOne F5 Monitoring

  • KPIs collected from the F5 LTM include virtual server metrics such as connections per second, throughput and connection use among real servers
  • Service managers get a snapshot of how their service is being delivered. Capacity planners can proactively add resources to ensure optimal performance. And, troubleshooting teams are alerted in real-time to issues that may impact service delivery