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An F5 Chef cookbook to manage pools and VIPs on an F5 bigip
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Tensibai and swalberg Allow resources to use another partition than Common (#33)
* Add generated delivery configuration

Allow to specify partitions in resources.

Fix tests to handle the partition change, add a test for partition.

Anchor regexes to avoid matching a pool contained by another (pool-web vs pool-webservers for exemple)

Strip slashes from partition to ensure coherence, fix the irule existence test

* Last linting fix
Latest commit e182f47 May 21, 2019
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A set of resources for managing F5 load balancers. Currently a WIP, but it will create VIPs and pools, and add nodes to pools



  • RHEL/Fedora and derivatives
  • Debian/Ubuntu and derivatives
  • Windows [2012.R2, 2016]


  • Chef 12.7+


  • none


  • node['f5']['gem_version'] - Sets the version of the gem that will be installed via the resource
  • node['f5']['enabled_status'] - Can take one of three values:
    • :manual - the default, the f5_pool resource does not touch the node's enabled status on load balancer, allowing it to be managed manually on the load balancer
    • :disabled - if a node does not exist or does exist but is enabled, the load balancer will be asked to disable the node
    • :enabled - if a node does not exist or does exist but is disabled, the load balancer will be asked to enable the node


Your node will also need access to the credentials for the load balancer either in the attributes or a data bag:

If you're using a data bag, call it f5 and the default item is called default.

$ knife data bag show f5 default
Unencrypted data bag detected, ignoring any provided secret options.
id:       default
password: TopSecret
username: chef-api

Or, if no data bag is found, attributes are used

default[:f5][:credentials][:default] = {
  host: "",
  username: "chef-api",
  password: "TopSecret"


In an application's recipe:

# Creates the pool if missing and adds this node to the pool
# (currently using node.ipaddress and node.fqdn for the node)
f5_pool 'mypool' do
  host 'value'
  port 'value'
  lb_method 'method' # LB_METHOD_ROUND_ROBIN default

# Creates the VIP if missing
f5_vip 'myvip' do
  address 'vipaddress' # IPv4 or FQDN, see below
  port 'vipport'
  protocol 'protocol' # TCP default
  pool 'mypool'

  # this is optional; defaults to :manual so won't touch your setting
  #                   unless you specify one of the valid options.
  snat_pool :automap

  # this is optional; defaults to :manual so won't touch your setting
  #                   unless you specify one of the valid options.
  #                   :none disables the firewall_policy,
  #                   anything else is a named firewall_policy

  # this is optional; defaults to :manual so won't touch your setting
  #                   unless you specify one of the valid options.
  #                   :none disables the firewall_policy,
  #                   anything else is a named firewall_policy
  # this is optional; If this VIP has IRules on the F5, this resource
  #                   will remove them and insert exactly what is specified
  #                   here. The attribute takes in an array of irules. The order 
  #                   describes the priority of the irules.
  #                   When changing priority of IRules, be aware that the F5
  #                   doesn't provide an API for re-ordering associations therefore
  #                   the re-ordered rules must be deleted then re-added in the correct
  #                   order.
  irules %w(test-irule test-irule-2)
  # this is optional; Sets the http profile of the VIP. The default value is `nil`.
  #                   When value is `nil` it will not modify the http profile. Setting  
  #                   to `:none` will remove the http profile. Otherwise
  #                   it sets the http profile. Note, the HTTP Profile must already
  #                   exist on the f5.
  http_profile :none

# Create a F5 monitor template
f5_monitor 'test-monitor' do 
  # Required properties
  template_type 'TTYPE_HTTP' # F5 template type
  parent_template 'http'
  interval 5 # frequency to check in seconds
  timeout 3 # seconds to respond
  #optional properties (default values are shown)
  dest_ip '' # tells f5 what address to test. Default indicates to test the node the monitor is applied to
  dest_port '0' # tells f5 which port to test; Default indicates to test the port the monitor is applied to
  read_only false # specifies if this template is read only
  is_directly_usable true # specifies if the template can be directly used

# Create an F5 IRule
f5_irule 'test-irule' do 
  # IRule definition
  definition <<-EOL
# For hosts that serve both http but attached to http and https vips, 
# this lets them know if the request
# originally came in on https
  HTTP::header insert HTTPS true

See the documentation for LocalLB::LBMethod and protocol.

Using DNS for the name

This is an experimental feature. Some of the corner cases might not work :)

If you pass a FQDN to the VIP's address, this resource will attempt to resolve the name through DNS. If a match is found, the first address returned is used for the VIP. If no match is found, the resource will not be processed.

f5_pool Actions

f5_pool's default action is :create which manages the pool and its settings, as well as the node and its settings. If the pool has already been created outside of this recipe and the desired behavior is for chef to fail when the pool doesn't exist use the :add action.

The :add action will only ensure the node is in the pool and configured correctly, but will not modify the pool. Pool-related attributes are ignored.

Manging node enabled status through node attributes

The f5_pool resource exposes an enabled_status property which allows you to explicitly take control of a node's enabled/disabled status within a pool via chef recipes and attributes.

f5_pool 'mypool' do
  host 'value'
  port 'value'
  enabled_status :disabled

Though more commonly this is delegated to an attribute, which is the default behavior when this property is not specified explicitly:

f5_pool 'mypool' do
  host 'value'
  port 'value'

is equivalent to

f5_pool 'mypool' do
  host 'value'
  port 'value'
  enabled_status node['f5']['enabled_status']

and node['f5']['enabled_status'] defaults to :manual so it won't touch the enabled status of your node in the pool unless you explicitly ask it to.

Managing virtual server client and server ssl profiles

The f5_vip resource exposes a pair or properties which allow you to add client and server SSL profiles to a virtual server.

f5_vip 'myvip' do
  address 'vipaddress'
  port 'vipport'
  protocol 'protocol' # TCP default
  pool 'mypool'
  client_ssl_profile 'client.cert'
  server_ssl_profile 'server.cert'

These two properties are optional and only take effect if they are specified.

They will converge to ensure that profile is applied to the given vip, but there is currently no option to remove an SSL profile.


The f5_pool and f5_vip resources can be used as-is in a chef-provisioning environment. Options exists for some resources that are especially catered to chef-provisioning.


If the host attribute on the f5_pool resource is excluded the resource will not attempt to add a node but instead simply manage the pool itself.

Writing specs for vip and pool resources

This coobkook provides custom chefspec matchers so you can write specs like this:

require 'chefspec'

describe 'example::default' do
  let(:chef_run) { 'ubuntu', version: '16.04').converge(described_recipe) }

  it 'creates the example_com pool (if needed) and adds this node to it' do
    expect(chef_run).to create_f5_pool('example_com').with(
      ip: '',
      host: '',
      port: 80,
      monitor: 'test-monitor'

  it 'creates the vip' do
    expect(chef_run).to create_f5_vip('').with(
      address: '',
      port: '80',
      protocol: 'PROTOCOL_TCP',
      pool: 'reallybasic'

NOTE: these matches verify only the presence (or absence via expect(chef_run).to_not) of a resource and the configuration of its properties according to hash passed to the optional with method.

The matchers cannot be used to validate whether convergence of an f5_pool or f5_vip resource took place.

NOTE: Due to this issue you can't test multiple calls to a resource in chefspec if the resource name is the same. All resources have an optional <RESOURCE_NAME>_name attribute that you can use to override the chef resource's name. E.g.

f5_pool 'pool_name_create' do 
  pool_name 'pool_name'
  monitor 'tcp'

f5_pool 'pool_name_add_node1' do 
  pool_name 'pool_name'
  host 'node1'
  ip ''
  port 443

f5_pool 'pool_name_add_node2' do 
  pool_name 'pool_name'
  host 'node2'
  ip ''
  port 443

In the above example, if pool_name wasn't specified then the resource name would have to be pool_name for each call to f5_pool. This would work as expected in chef but chefspec would only register the last invocation of f5_pool. By using the pool_name resource the chef resource can be uniquely named and therefore tested.

Testing this cookbook

Run bundle exec rake test to run the chefspec tests.

bundle exec rake guard starts a guard listener which watches files and auto-runs rspec to provide faster feedback

bundle exec rake lint will run rubocop

License and Authors

Author:: Sean Walberg (

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