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F5 Foray: Day 3 of Learning

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of posts from CBT Nuggets trainer Scott Morris about his experiences learning and working with F5. 

UntitledAwww… A picture of me with my shiny F5, all ready to start playing! Got the BIG-IP box hooked up into my network, have cables running to the management Ethernet and all four copper Ethernet ports on it (we’ll leave the fiber alone for now), and the serial console port hooked up to my trusty, rusty terminal server (allows for remote/out-of-band access to the console ports of networking devices).

And… My console port is speaking a foreign language to me. *sigh* Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong, will go wrong. Time to troubleshoot. SHOULD be set to 9600, N, 8, 1 like every other vendor’s console port settings. But upon a quick Google verification, that is not actually true. It is 19200 baud (bits per second), instead of 9600. Fine, be that way.

It is more difficult to change the serial settings per port on a terminal server (more so that I’m just too lazy to vary from my template config on the term server since I plug it and unplug it often given changes in my lab), but it IS possible to change the console port settings on the F5. “How?,” you ask. Well, funny thing! The physical F5 devices have an LCD display to them, and this actually allows some control of the system! There will be a more in-depth Nugget about how to use it, but for now, I get to poke around and find the serial settings to get things up and running.

Under the system menu on the LCD, I can change the serial speed multiple ways, from 9600 baud to 115200. I will simply choose 9600 and POOF! My terminal program is suddenly readable!

So what happened next? Well, I couldn’t log into the system! When ordering things off Ebay, do not count on them being reset to factory defaults or anything useful like that. While it would be nice, it’s not often the way that hardware resellers (a.k.a. the network version of Storage Wars) work. So look for my Nugget on password recovery for F5 devices soon!

NOW things are ready to actually start playing and learning and deciding what topology I’m going to use for the lab exercises and things. I am excited to start playing with this and testing it against what I already know of load balancers, figure out the things that I don’t know and in the meantime, pass along information to all of you in a usable format!

I certainly hope that you have as much fun with this as I do! I will have to put my giddiness on hold for a little while and complete a Nugget on Multicast Source Discovery Protocol for our CCIE R&Sv5 course. I am a little behind with that! Stay tuned though, watch for course updates, and watch for blog updates of my progress in a couple of weeks!


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