Sneak Peak at Comtrade Management Pack for F5 BIG-IQ


A good part of having a blog that sometimes you are being contacted to have a look at new solutions. Fro such new solution I was contacted by F5 and Comtrade. Comtrade is developing a Management Pack for SCOM that will monitor F5 BIG-IQ devices. Trough monitoring BIG-IQ the soloution provides also monitoring for BIG-IP.

Let’s see what are the requirements for this solution:

  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 or Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 SP1 or Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2
  • F5 BIG-IQ 4.3.0
  • Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ MP requires .NET Framework version 3.5 SP1 installed
  • TCP 443 opened to the BIG-IQ devices
  • Administrator account in BIG-IQ

What is available in the MP:

  • Discovery, visualization and dynamic update of F5 BIG-IQ appliances topology
  • Discovery of F5BIGIQ appliance objects
  • BIG-IQ
    • Tenants
      • Catalogs – Applications
      • Virtual Servers
    • BIG-IP Devices
    • Cloud Connectors
      • Nodes
    • Disk Partitions
  • Monitoring
    • BIG-IQ (Availability, CPU utilization, Disk partition available space, Disk partition utilization, memory utilization)
    • BIG-IP (Availability, CPU utilization, Disk partition available space, Disk partition utilization, memory utilization)
    • Cloud Connectors (Cloud connector availability)
    • Tenants
    • Catalogs – Applications (Application availability status, application’s active member count)
    • Virtual Servers (Virtual server availability, server-side connection number for virtual server, client-side connection number for virtual server)
    • Nodes (Availability of tenant nodes, server-side number of connections on nodes for port 80, server-side number of connections on nodes for port general, total number of connections on nodes)
  • Statistics
    • BIG-IQ (CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk partition free space and utilization)
    • BIG-IP (CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk partition free space and utilization)
    • Tenants
      • Catalogs – Applications (application availability and active members)
      • Virtual Servers (server-side connection number on virtual servers, client-side connection number on virtual servers)
      • Nodes (server-side connection number on node port 80, server-side connection number on node port general, server-side in-packets on node port general, server-side out-packets on node port general, server-side bits-in on node port general, server-side bits-out on node port general)
  • Views (Diagram, Alert, State and Dashboard)

How it works:

  1. Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ is installed on one SCOM Management Server. The installation provides the MP and Comtrade MPBIG-IQ Agent. The agent is used for communicating with the REST API of F5 BIG-IQ.
  2. Comtrade MPBIG-IQ Agent is installed on every SCOM Management server that will participate in the BIG-IQ monitoring. SCOM Management Servers are designated trough Resource Pool in SCOM.
  3. Create Network discovery either SNMP or ICMP or both and include the BIG-IQ IP address. Assign the discovery to a SCOM Resource Pool. If needed create new resource pool.
  4. Create Run As account and enter the account with administrator rights for the BIG-IQ device/s. For distribution choose more secure and add the resource pool.
  5. Assign the run as account to F5 BIG-IQ Appliance Action Account profile.

With these easy steps you are ready for monitoring. Here are some screenshots to give you more detailed view for the solution:

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There is also a good video that shows the installation and configuration steps as well as overview:

Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ Management Pack

As this is first beta version there is always room for improvement which I’ve gave as feedback to Comtrade. Here is what is good and what can be improved:

Good:

  • Uses BIG-IQ REST API for monitoring
  • Monitors takes advantage of recalculate option
  • BIG-IQ topology discovery
  • A lot of performance data is gathered
  • Easy setup and configuration
  • MP Administration view
  • Monitor of BIG-IP and BIG-IQ components like Memory, Cores and Partitions
  • Monitor of BIG-IQ Cloud Connectors
  • Taking advantage of SCOM Resource pools and Network Discovery
  • Good Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ Management Pack documentation
  • You can put in maintenance individual objects like BIG-IP device

Room for improvement:

  • SCOM 2012 Dashboards
  • More performance rules
  • Reports

This overview is subject of change as it is based on beta version of Comtrade F5 BIG-IQ Management Pack.

If you are interested in the solution I guess you can always contact Comtrade for more information. Support for F5 BIG-IQ 4.4.0 is expected.

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