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Urs_Schwarz_122's avatar
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Jul 17, 2014

AWS auto scaling working together with AWS BIG-IP ?

Hi I am trying to figure out how AWS auto scaling can work together with AWS BIG-IP/F5 LTM. Did quite some investigation. Unfortunately could not find helpful information and I doubt that this can be accomplished in a reliable way. states: "*Users can additionally leverage scripts to automatically spin up nodes as needed, enabling organizations to execute on an auto-scaling strategy without needing to build out a complicated system" -> Sounds good, but is it true or just big words ? How ? White paper page 6 : tell about the same, not talking about interesting details.


Main issue to me is: how to dynamically and automatically change F5 LTM pools properly, when AWS auto scale adds new servers (instances) with some new (dynamic) IP address, or delete any server. I know I could basically use tmsh on the F5 to change pool members. But how could this be triggered by AWS (e.g. CloudWatch, SNS) in a robust way ? I don't see one so far.


Any hints or even experiences ? Thanks a lot. Urs


10 Replies

  • Thomas_Heloin_3's avatar
    Historic F5 Account
    Hello, The simplest way to achieve this for me, would be to add a REST call to the BIG-IP during the startup procedure of your server, so that it add itself to the pool. During shutdown it would remove itself. Basically shift the logic on the server side, not on the BIG-IP. The white paper you mentioned is a little different, the purpose is to burst on-premise load to AWS. So here BIG-IQ is in control and AWS respond to our instructions. In your case AWS is the one in control and needs to change the configuration on the BIG-IP. What I have not looked at yet if there is a possibility to add REST calls during the auto-scaling process of AWS. Regards Thomas Heloin EMEA Professional Services Principal Consultant
  • Hello Thomas, thanks for your response. Interesting, I will look into this. I never used so far. regards Urs
  • Check out this new feature in 11.6.0: You can configure a BIG-IP system with nodes and pool members that are identified with fully-qualified domain names (FQDNs). When you configure pool members with FQDN, addresses will dynamically follow DNS changes. Fully dynamic DNS-managed pools may even be created. In the following illustration, the BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager creates an ephemeral pool member for each IP address returned in the DNS response.



  • Does anyone know if there is a way to replicate this in 11.5.1? We just upgraded from 10 to 11.5.1, were advised against 11.6 because at the time it had just been released and therefore an unknown quantity. We now find ourselves with the need to do exactly this with our company putting more and more systems into AWS. I can plan for an upgrade to 11.6, but it would be good to know if this feature can be replicated in 11.5.1.






    • Danny_Epperson_'s avatar
      Historic F5 Account
      Before TMOS 11.6.0 you will need to implement this outside of BIG-IP configuration, as described above. That could be externally implemented via REST or iControl APIs or locally via tmsh/bash.
  • Update to this...


    1) In version 12.0 BYOL, you can integrate BIG-IP with an auto-scaled group of pool members. 2) When the utility version of 12.0 is released (target is mid December), you will be able to auto-scale BIG-IP as well.


    Also in 12.0 (BYOL and utility), CloudInit has been installed on BIG-IP, so that BIG-IP can be configured at launch to start handling traffic (key for 2) above with user data scripts.


    I'll be writing some articles on this stuff soon, and will post back here. Until then, here is the latest setup guide which discusses pool member auto-scaling. It refers to CloudFormation templates hosted on DevCentral that help with the setup process.