One of the key benefits of using virtualized networking appliance is the flexibility in deployment. Let us take a few example scenarios: A system admin would like the option to periodically migrate a virtual appliance from one host to another to balance the compute capacity in a cluster.  A cloud service provider (CSP) providing networking as a service (load balancing as a service, firewall as a service) will need to spin up/down virtual appliance as desired depending on the length of the contract (hourly, daily, monthly etc).  To meet these needs, the licensing scheme for the virtual appliance must provide the flexibility to move the license as needed. BIG-IQ Centralized Management, F5’s centralized management and orchestration platform provides the ability to manage licenses for BIG-IP Virtual Editions (VE) license pools. A pool is a pack of BIG-IP VE licenses of the same SKU type (For example –a 200Mbps BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) throughput SKU).

With BIG-IQ Centralized Management 5.1 released in September 2016, we have added the capability to enable customers to manage the lifecycle of individual VE licenses. If you need only a license management solution then you can buy just the BIG IQ license manager (referred to as license manager below). With license manager, you can revoke the license from a BIG-IP VE and subsequently reuse the license on any other VE.   Here is the summary of the workflow.

  • Launch the license manager  and log in.
  • Navigate to Device Management.

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  • Navigate to Inventory –> operations –> license management tab

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  • Create a new reg key “pool”. A pool is essentially a storage container for a set of VE licenses. For example,let us assume you are the admin and want  to allocate a set maximum number of licenses to a department (say dev/test). In this case you create a pool named “dev/test”.

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  • Next add a VE registration key to the pool and activate it. If you have add-on keys add them as well.

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  • What if you have multiple VE licenses? - You can import a CSV format that contains individual license keys and do a bulk license load by selecting the import CSV option shown above
  • What if you want to make the license manager handle VE licenses that are already used on a VE?  Yes. It is possible.  Make a one-time call to F5 support and provide the list of VE license(s) that need to be managed by the license manager. Then activate those licenses from the license manager.