Load Balancer Stickiness

Posted on 2010-09-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi Experts,

There is some debate at our office whether the persistent profile rule we've set up within our F5 load balancer is working.

I would please like to know how can test that session stickiness is either working or not working.

I have found this article:

Are there any other tests we can use to settle the debate?

Thanks in advance!
Question by:JFranks22
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

ID: 33675990
What persistent profile did you use?

If it is a iRule please post the iRule also.

Author Comment

ID: 33676039
Is this information stored in the logs? Can you verify how to locate this?
LVL 57

Expert Comment

ID: 33676090
Um, no.  Do you have admin access to the F5?  

If you don't then you need to get the admins involved.

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Author Comment

ID: 33676376
Hi quiltjr,
Thanks for weighing in.
My load balancer admin has unfortunately just left - I know he was trying the various Persistence Profiles.
The question we have is more of a general question. For any load balancer (F5 or other), how would you go about testing that a persistent profile rule is working?
Surely you don'y want to go live with an application that relies on persistent sessions without first testing that the sessions are sticky - "How" is the question?
LVL 57

Expert Comment

ID: 33676515
The answer really depends.   There are various ways to do session stickiness, called persistence in the F5.

Typically if you require session stickiness you will get errors in the application when they clients get routed to the incorrect server.  So when you are doing your testing, are you getting errors because you are being routed to the wrong back-end server?


Author Comment

ID: 33677152
Ok, let's assume we do have Admin access to F5 (which we do).
Would you please explain how we could verify that the "Cookie Persistence using the HTTP Cookie Insert method" for example was maintaining persistent state.
LVL 57

Accepted Solution

giltjr earned 500 total points
ID: 33678229
The easiest way is to run a packet trace or use Fiddler2 from the client and verify that the cookie always has the same value.

You could also run tcpdump on the F5 on both the inside (server side) and outside (client side) interfaces and verify that the session continues to send the requests to the same host.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33682893
Thank you!
LVL 57

Expert Comment

ID: 33684398

You could code an iRule that logs the value of the cookie on HTTP_REQUESTS and the logs the IP address of the server that is responding on HTTP_RESPOND events.

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