F5 BIG-IP Virtual Edition

OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Posts: 923Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Just came across this:

BIG-IP Virtual Edition - license - F5-BIG-VE-LAB - Network Management Software - CDW.com

I am new to F5 BIG-IP, but I would like to get a little hands on in a home lab. Anyone had any experience with this, and if so, what was the virtualization software you used? I have an account with F5 and have started their LTM course. Would this be overkill, or is it worth it?
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Comments

  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Posts: 1,027Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    You can get the trial edition free for 90 days and then decide if it's worth the $97
    https://www.f5.com/trial/big-ip-ltm-virtual-edition.php
  • apr911apr911 Posts: 379Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    As already noted by joelsfood, you can get the trial edition free for 90 days but you can also then renew it every 90 days.

    F5 even allows you to request up to 4 keys at once (and the 90 day count doesnt start until the key is activated/used) and you can return to request more later if want.

    The Trial version is probably best for your lab. The Licensed Virtual Edition provides the following functions that you dont get with the Trial version:

    1. The ability to obtain F5 support (though a support contract is still required).
    2. Full device throughput. While the trial edition LTM is full featured, many of the features have limited throughput or connection limits (i.e. the throughput is limited to 1Mbps)
    3. Modules other than LTM (F5 does offer 30 day trials for other modules but I dont know if you can continually renew them and you have to contact F5 sales to get them which may or may not be more hassle than its worth)
    4. No relicensing/downtime. The 90 day trial expires every 90 days, you can acquire and apply a new license without issue but for all intents and purposes the device will cease to function or pass traffic after 90 days until you apply the updated license. If you're the type that doesnt want their lab site to go down or have to deal with remembering to proactively or reactively relicense the device every 90 days than the perpetual license makes it a bit easier. Personally, I put my F5 in one-arm mode and dont put it inline so I dont run into issues when the license expires and I dont have to deal with the 1Mbps throughput except when I specifically want to test something on/against the F5.
    5. The ability to upgrade downgrade code. For a long time F5 only offered 10.1.0 as their trial version. They have since added 11.3.0HF1 but the code base available on the free 90 day trial does not match the licensed versions (currently 10.1.0 and 11.3.0 are the only 2 "free" trial versions available but 10.x code is up to 10.2.4HF9 and 11.x code is up 11.6.0HF1 not to mention other interim or lower builds). F5 does periodically lock out licenses from upgrades based on license date so while your license that you purchased for $97 is perpetual, your ability to upgrade code is not (Here is the current F5 licence check dates SOL: https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/solutions/public/7000/700/sol7727.html) but a license purchased today should cover you for all current versions as well as future versions for sometime.


    Here's more on the trials F5 offers:

    https://f5.com/products/trials/product-trials

    I run the trial edition on a ESXi box but with a little work, I have successfully ported it over to VMWare Player running on a regular desktop machine.

    I just re-license it every time it expires. I use it primarily for testing of new iRules and other one-off configs that I dont want to do in production. Haven't had much need for the functions offered under the licensed version.

    I personally considered purchasing the licensed version about a year ago because of the inability to upgrade code. My work at the time was predominately on 10.2.4 HF6 with some 11 code devices and the VE trial was 10.1.0.
    There were quite a few new/removed/fixed functions between 10.1.0 and 10.2.4 that could have made it worth it to me and the configurations differences between 10.x and 11.x code base definitely would have made it worth it to me but they released the 11.3.0 VE trial and I no longer had a direct need (though I still have to tweak some of my configs when going from 10.1.0 to 10.2.4 or 11.3.0 to other 11.x versions).

    Since I no longer work in a position that keeps me active on F5's on a regular basis, I am considering purchasing the license again but that is so I may maintain my exposure to other modules such as GTM, APM, etc. A beginner such as yourself just learning the device and only having need of LTM functionality should be fine on the 90-day trial license.
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