DevCentral Basics - Contacting Support

Contacting F5 for support can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and daunting task if you're not prepared.  Opening your case with accurate diagnostics, and a detailed description of your issues will help us route your case to the appropriate technicians, but where do you start?  We'll help you prepare for your first or tenth call to support and ensure it's an easy process. Bookmark this page and stop worrying about what you'll need.  Clear focus and a calm head during a critical issue is your best advantage.

 

What You'll Need When Contacting Support

There are several key pieces of information support will ask for regardless of what module you're opening a ticket on.  It's best to have most or all of the data ready in case support asks.  In our experience being over prepared is never a bad thing.

  • Submit a QKView to iHealth - iHealth is supports quickest window into your system health, configuration, and any update requirements.  This is the first and most important thing to have when opening a case with F5.
  • Additional Log Files - The QKView provides up to 5MB of logs but often grabbing additional logs may include more information.
  • MD5 checksums for all uploaded files - Generating MD5 Checksums ensures F5 support engineers can validate your log, tcpdumps, and qkviews.
  • tcpdump  Often if you're having issues with one or more virtual servers, a tcpdump will expedite understanding traffic flow.  This can be something you do before contacting support and we at DevCentral always find it to be valuable information.  In fact we spend our evenings capturing traffic for fun.
  • Explicit Details of your issue! - Having detailed information on your failure cannot be stressed enough.  You should know the overall status of the system when it failed, the traffic flow, and symptoms when contacting support.  This will expedite your case to the appropriate engineer.  Problem vagueness will delay your resolution.
  • Severity Level - F5 provides categories for you to determine your issue severity..
    • Sev 1: Site Down - All network traffic has ceased; critical impact to business.
    • Sev 2: Site At Risk - Primary unit failed; no redundant state.  Site/System at risk of going down.
    • Sev 3: Performance Degraded - Network traffic is partially functional causing some applications to be unreachable.
    • Sev 4: General Assistance - This is for questions regarding configurations.  This should be your default severity for troubleshooting non-critical issues or general questions about product functionality.

Contacting F5 Support

 

There are several ways to contact support, and we've found success by opening a web case for all issues, even when calling in for support.  This allows you to get files to F5 engineers quicker and expedite your case routing process prior to calling in.

  • F5 Websupport - The websupport interface allows you to create and update cases quickly without having to call support.  You will need to register|anchor your F5 Support account for websupport and it's best to do that BEFORE you have an issue.  The web support ticket process will require your serial number or parent system ID.
  • Phone - Standard, Premium, and Premium Plus support plans can call F5 for assistance.  Have your serial number or parent system ID ready.
  • Chat - Currently available for AWS hourly billed customers (BYOL uses standard support). See our AWS wiki for more information.  Azure customers are currently BYOL only (bring your own license) and can purchases regular support plans.

 

Gathering Logs

The default QKView will gather 5MB of recent log activity but support may ask for additional logs to help diagnose your issue.

  • Log into the BIG-IP CLI
  • Create a tar archive called logfiles.tar.gz in /var/tmp directory containing all of the files in /var/log by typing the following command: 
    tar -czpf /var/tmp/logfiles.tar.gz /var/log/*
  • Create an MD5 Checksum of the file so support can validate the file

 

Generating MD5 Checksums

MD5 checksum files give support a method to validate your upload is free of problems.  It's best to use the md5sum command directly on the BIG-IP to reduce potential issues by transferring the file off host prior to running MD5 tools. To create an md5sum:

  • Log into the BIG-IP CLI
  • Use the previously created logfiles.tar.gz from the above as example: 
    md5sum /var/tmp/logfiles.tar.gz > /var/tmp/logfiles.tar.gz.md5
  • Use the CAT command to validate the contents of the md5 file: 
    cat /var/tmp/logfiles.tar.gz.md5
  • You should see a result similar to: 1ebe43a0b0c7800256bfe94cdd079311  /var/tmp/logfiles.tar.gz