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By: Brian Michael Williams

Today we’ll walk through how to configure F5 BIG-IP to load balance vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) web traffic. There are many reasons to consider configuring load balancing for these user logins.

BIG-IP-VROPS-Diagram

When your office catches the vRealize Operations fever, you you’ll notice there’s a limit to concurrent users per node. For vROps deployments approaching the maximum number of monitored objects, the suggested maximum is four concurrent users. Beyond that, you may notice performance degradation or the web service screeching to a halt. If you wind up there, you can reboot the vROps vApp or server to get back online.  

More information on this restriction can be found in a vRealize sizing guidelines knowledge base from VMware. The limit was increased to 200 users for vROps version 6.1, but has limitations based on objects per node and expectations of a multi-node vROps cluster configuration.

While the performance boost is key, load balancing your vROps logins creates a convenient single point of entry for a scaled out vROps deployment. To fully understand this concept, we need to review a few basic principles for vROps system architecture.  

The vROps 6.2 release supports the maximum of 16-nodes in the analytics cluster. Any Master node or Data node will allow for direct web logins, while the Replica node used for Master replication does not. Remote collector nodes are not part of the cluster as they do not perform processing or calculations on data, and also do not have a web login. This means that each of your Master and Data nodes allow for a web login. Load balancing this access, ensures that the each user is logging into the least utilized node, or simply provide a single point of entry for users.

For this blog we are assuming that an F5 BIG-IP device is already deployed in the environment and is configured with network connectivity to the deployed vROps environment. We will also need the Local Traffic Module (LTM) licensed and enabled on the BIG-IP system for use. Lastly, a vRealize Operations Manager cluster has been deployed in the environment and all nodes in the cluster are accepting web traffic.

First, let’s create the vROps server pool and add in the pool members (nodes). Log in to the BIG-IP administration interface and select Local Traffic, and then Pools. From there, click the Create button. Give the pool a Name and Description, and add the default https health monitor. In the resources section, as seen in Figure 1, set the Load Balancing Method to Least Connections by Node. Add in all of the Master and Data nodes that you have chosen for this pool, using 443 (https) as the Service Port for each node in the pool. Click Finished to create the pool.

1 vrops-pool

Figure 1 – Pool Configuration

Now that the Pool is configured and we have all of our Pool Members in place, we can begin to configure the Virtual Server. From the BIG-IP administration login, navigate to Local Traffic, Virtual Servers, and then select Create.  

In the General Properties section, give the Virtual Server a Name and Description. Next, input the Destination address. This is the address that our end users will enter into their web browsers for seamless access. Optionally, a DNS record can be added for this IP address to create a familiar access name.  

From the Configuration section, set the Service Port to 443. Set the Source Address Translation to Auto Map, this will allow traffic to return to the BIG-IP without changing our vROps node gateway configurations. These fields are shown in Figure 2, below.

2 - VS config top

Figure 2 – Virtual Server Configuration, General Properties

From the Resources section, change the selection for the Default Pool to use our previously configured pool. Lastly, select source_addr from the Default Persistence Profile drop down list. Click Finished to create the Virtual Server.

3 - VS config bottom

Figure 3 – Virtual Server Configuration – Resources

Now that we have the Virtual Server online with a useable pool, we are ready to test functionality of our configuration. Use your web browser to navigate to the new virtual server destination address. If everything is configured correctly you will be greeted with the familiar VMware vRealize Operations Manager login screen.

4 - VROPS login

Figure 4 – vRealize Operations Manager Login Web Page

To check the health of the virtual server and pools, navigate to Local Traffic and select Network Map. This will show the Virtual Servers, Pools, Pool Members, and the health monitor status of each object.

For production use I would suggest expanding our health monitors to check for known vROps Web Service fault codes, as well as enabling SSL pass-through for truly secure connections. For the best possible monitoring of this newly deployed configuration, install Blue Medora’s vRealize Operations Management Pack for F5 BIG-IP. With this Management Pack you will be able to manage, monitor, and troubleshoot the entire F5 BIG-IP environment from within a single console.

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Figure 5 – vRealize Operations: BIG-IP Application Details Dashboard

The dashboards provided with the Management Pack for F5 BIG-IP are a great way to view the number of current connections, and throughput values to confirm the functionality of our new load balancing deployment.  Thank you for following along with me today.