F5 Networks Best Practices for Application Monitoring

The F5 Networks BIG-IP platform allows you to manage network traffic so applications are always fast, available, and secure. In a large environment, it is important that your F5 devices are configured correctly, and when an issue occurs administrators can respond quickly so that internal and external customer experiences are not impacted. With the Indeni Platform engineering and operations are able to automatically check for the symptoms if / when they happen again in the future.

Here are some of the top best practices to monitor applications with F5 Networks LTM:

Server up/down

A node marked as down by a monitor, or disabled by an administrator, results in reduced pool capacity or in a worst-case scenario, downtime. Disabling nodes is common during ie. a maintenance window but it is easily forgotten. Without Indeni an administrator would login to the device’s web interface and click on “Local Traffic” -> “Nodes”. This would show a list of the nodes and their statuses. In case the configuration is divided into multiple partitions changing to the “All [Read-only]” partition is recommended. Indeni will do this for the admin, and alert one or more servers that the load balancer is directing traffic to is down.
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Syslog Servers In Use

In case of a successful intrusion attempt, it is imperative to be able to trust the log files. In order to be able to do that it is good to have a remote syslog server configured. That way the attacker would have a harder time to hide the tracks. Also, in case of an outage or hardware failure, a remote syslog server could be critical in order to find the root cause. Indeni can verify that certain syslog servers are configured on a monitored device.
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Server / Pool high response times

Nodes that have slow response times may be indicative of an application health issue. It is important to measure the response time of each node against a calculated average to note if it’s too high. Indeni will alert if the ping from the load balancer to specific servers is too high.
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Pool members unavailable

A node disabled by an administrator results in reduced pool capacity or in a worst-case scenario, downtime. Disabling nodes is common during ie. a maintenance but it is easily forgotten. This metric would warn administrators when a node is not ready to accept traffic. Indeni will alert if a pool member which should be available is not.
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Pools operating at a low capacity

A pool that is not running with full capacity could cause slowness in the application, service disruption, or in worst case downtime. Indeni tracks this by measuring the available members of the pool in percent. Indeni will alert if the number of members available in the pool is too low based on the percentage of members available out of the total.
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