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Home > Success Center > Network Performance Monitor (NPM) > Network Performance Monitor (NPM) Training > Free SolarWinds Training Videos - NPM > Network Insight for F5® BIG-IP® - Video

Network Insight for F5® BIG-IP® - Video

Updated 6-1-2016


This video (6:00) demonstrates how to set up and use this feature of Network Performance Monitor.



  • NPM 12 and above

Video Transcription

Network Insight for F5 Big IP is a feature in Network Performance Monitor that provides comprehensive visibility for your F5 application delivery controllers, including F5 LTM and BIG-IP DNS (formerly known as GTM). This video demonstrates how to setup and use this feature.

The first thing we need to do is configure the F5 so that it is available for a remote monitoring system. We need to setup SNMP and API access for complete coverage.

The SNMP data set needed by NPM is supported by F5s running version 11.2 or later. You can find the version number you're running by logging into the F5 web console, selecting System, and Configuration.

To setup SNMP, login to the F5 web console, select System, and SNMP. Make sure Host is selected and provide the IP of the Orion polling engine. Select Update to commit your changes. At the top, drop down the Agent list and select the SNMPv2c or SNMPv3 option. Here, we'll use SNMPv2c. Click Create, type in a Community string that will serve as your password, and Finish. Read Only access is sufficient.

API access is required for advanced functionality, including Health Monitor details. This is supported on F5s running 11.5 or later. Access to the iControl REST API is enabled by default for the Admin account. Orion can connect with the Admin account, or you can optionally create a separate account privileged with iControl access.

Now that the F5 is configured, it's time to add it to Network Performance Monitor.

You can add nodes manually or by using a scheduled discovery. We'll add our node manually by navigating to Settings >> Manage nodes 

Since we already have a number of F5 nodes entered, I am going to edit a node to show you the steps for adding a new node.

First, you’ll provide the IP or name of the device followed by the SNMP credentials. Under F5 iControl Polling Settings, check the box 'Poll for F5 iControl.' 

 Add your user name and password. This needs to be the admin account, or an account you have privileged with iControl access.

Select Test to verify its working. Assuming everything comes back green, continue through the Add Node wizard as you would for any other node.

Repeat for all of the F5 load balancers in your environment.

Clicking Dashboards and Load Balancing Environment takes you to an overview.


At the top we can see all of our load balanced services. Keeping these services green is the job of all of the components below.


The next row is Global Traffic Managers, or GTMs, that host the services. Those GTMs send users to your LTMs.


Your LTMs present virtual servers which are made up of pools,


and finally, individual pool members that host the content. Services perform optimally when all of these components work in unison.

The GTMs and LTMs are the nodes you added with Add Nodes or a discovery. NPM has communicated with your GTMs to enumerate the services they're providing and populated the Services row.

Meanwhile, NPM also communicated with your LTMs to enumerate the Virtual Servers, Pools, and Pool Members to populate those rows. The result is a complete picture of your load balancing environment.


Mousing over any of these components will show a snapshot of the most important information for that role. Clicking on a component gives you the option to show all of the details for that component, or see what other components are related to it.

A component is related if it is used by, or depends on, the component you've selected. For example, showing the relationships for an LTM will show all of the Virtual Servers, Pools, and Pool Members on that LTM as well as the GTMs and Services that depend on that LTM. This is a great way to see what's impacted by a component that is down, or focus in on a specific service that spans several F5 appliances.

This service seems to be having a problem. What is this? Down? That's not good. Let's view relations to understand what infrastructure components work together to deliver this service. Looks like we've got one GTM connecting to two LTMs. The LTMs have virtual servers and pools, but the pool members are all down. To inspect the pool member, click it and pick Details.

Okay, so the pool member is down, but why? The load balancer is using this health monitor to determine the health of this pool member. And we can see the reason the F5 has taken this server out of rotation already. We can now remediate directly on the server, then come back here to verify the pool member comes back up.

Let's take a look at what other details we can see for our healthy services.

Drilling into service details gives us a view into the number of connections and how our load is being distributed. The relational view of our load balancing sticks with us here so we can continue to navigate around.


Going to the virtual server shows us the number of active connections for each pool member. We can see the load balancing algorithm and how evenly it is distributing load.

Drilling into the GTM, we can see platform health information like H/A status and sync status.


We can also see the DNS resolutions, which is the primary job of the GTM.

One of the most important things you need to do to keep your load balancing environment healthy is know right away when a component goes down and resolve the issue in a timely manner so that redundancy is maintained. In the rare case where many components fail, resulting in a complete outage, it's critical to find out about it and remediate issues immediately. Alerting helps you do just that. Navigate to alerts and search for F5. We have a number of out of the box alerts.

In most environments, you'll want an aggressive alert for when the F5 GTM Service status changes so you will be emailed or paged. In some environments you may want some level of alerting for virtual servers going down or some of these other service objects.




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