F5’s iHealth

16 January 2011 — Leave a comment

Back in October at a F5 user group meeting I first heard about F5’s new user tool to aid in supporting BigIP devices. It is designed to be a proactive tool that users can use to resolve issues themselves or identify issues before they become a problem. Lets go through the process of checking this tool out. As with most vendors they have a command that generates everything someone from support would want to see. F5 is no exception, what they have is called a QKView. To generate one login into the GUI of a BigIP device and go to System > Support and this is page that generates a new one. Simply click start with QKview boxed checked (no need for TCPDump in this case) and a few minutes later you have your freshly generated support file. If you have an old one already generated it will instead be prompting you to download it. When the new one is done download it and head on over to iHealth.f5.com. Since this is a support tool you will need a valid support contract to access this site. Once you login you will be presented with a simple screen to upload the new QKview file. Go ahead and upload your file.


After time you will have a number of files listed on the front page. You also notice you can enter F5 case numbers and internal help desk ticket numbers for better tracking of what was going on with that QKview.


As you can see I have files going back to October. Not sure if they have a space limit but so far this is a great archive of your support files so bonus there. Now select the report you want to view and it takes you to a main info page. This is a summary of pretty much everything you would like to know at a glance. At the top it tells you how many issues it has found and classifies them into high, medium and informational. You also can see if a upgrade is recommended or not. The rest of the page is filled with general info such a hardware info, number of servers, nodes, etc configured, the current software running and the license status.


The number one concern is the two high vulnerabilities:


The first alert is a password issue. Since this box is a dev device I know it has weak passwords so I am not worried about it. But as you can see it not only identifies real problems but helps you with best practices. Now the next alert is a concern. I can see it is not something an upgrade will fix so I need to go read up on how to fix it. The good news is that it tells me the solution I need and I can just click on that link and it takes me to the solution. In this case it is a real issue but I already have identified it and how to fix it before anything goes wrong! Got to love a tool that does that. If we keep poking around the interface we find a number of useful tools such as graphs, for example here is CPU:


Now remember how it let you keep old copies of the files? Now you have a nice historical archive of graphs you can look back on. We also can drill down and see parts of the config, for example here is virtual server and all it connects to such as pools, nodes, monitors, etc (if you’re wondering about the % after IP’s that is how different route domains [VRF’s] show up):


Now I could click on every link I don’t see the point at this point. You get the general idea. Part of our job as network engineers is to make sure the network is always up. This tool that is included with your support contract is a great way to identify and repair issues before they happen. This is also a great archive tool too as it does have a complete copy of your config (minus SSL private keys) that you can go back to later if need to compare. High five to F5 for making this tool public. A win-win for sure, we fix problems and don’t have to call support. If you have F5 devices you need to check out this tool.


So after I write this up becuase I did not find much info on it around the internet I see this in my RSS feed:

In 5 Minutes or Less Video – F5’s iHealth System

He did a better job showing you around then I did, good video of what this tool has to offer.

Steve Rossen

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Steve is a Network Engineer/Architect based in Dallas working in the financial services industry. He has worked for enterprises, non-profits, service providers, as a freelance consultant and even a short time at Cisco, deploying and maintaining networks. When not being a geek he is a avid supporter of Arsenal football club and makes regular trips to Europe to watch them play. The best way to interact with Steve is on Twitter, you can follow him as @steve.

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