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IB-FLEX is a virtual platform that is scalable based on the resource that you allocate to the virtual machine. NIOS automatically detects the capacity of the virtual machine and scales it to the appropriate platform after you provision the IB-FLEX member.
You must first install the Grid license on a non IB-FLEX appliance that is designated as the Grid Master to allow members to join the Grid, even if you have already installed an Flex Grid Activation license. This license does not affect a non IB-FLEX Grid Master.
An IB-FLEX appliance designated as a member does not require any license, either Grid or vNIOS, while joining the Grid. When you register an IB-FLEX member, the appliance checks for the Grid (enterprise) license and changes it to a non IB-FLEX member. For an IB-FLEX appliance, it checks for an Flex Grid Activation Grid-wide license before node registration.
IB-FLEX members can join the Grid through the MGMT interface when Software ADP is enabled. You can configure an IB-FLEX appliance to function as a Grid Master or a member. To enable reporting for a Grid member that is running Software ADP, you must configure the MGMT interface.
A non IB-FLEX appliance designated as a member requires either a Grid and/or vNIOS/NIOS licenses installed to join the Grid. Similarly, for a reporting appliance to join the Grid, you must install a Grid and/or vNIOS/NIOS licenses. You cannot assign pool licenses to an IB-FLEX appliance. IB-FLEX supports HA for appliances that are running Software ADP.
Infoblox supports elastic scaling on IB-FLEX members that use the Flex Grid Activation Grid-wide license. It also supports pre-provisioning for Software ADP on the supported platforms. You must add the new IB-FLEX model to the list of supported pre-provisioning hardware types, so that you can select it during the member pre-provisioning. To pre-provision a non IB-FLEX Grid member, you must have valid pool licenses and pre-provisioned those members in the Grid.

Important

To set up a supported virtual appliance as an IB-FLEX, you must first define the hardware type of the virtual appliance as IB-FLEX before you configure it. Depending on the platform or environment in which you are installing IB-FLEX, you can define the hardware_type parameter to IB-FLEX during the cloud-init process, or you can manually set the hardware type using the set hardware-type CLI command.  For more information, see set hardware-type.

Limitations of IB-FLEX

  • It is not compatible with the traditional node-based licensing and it supports capacity based licensing only.
  • An IB-FLEX instance will not start if you do not configure the required minimum level of resources.
  • The resources assigned to IB-FLEX for cores and memory must be equal to or exceed the minimum designated values for the platform. For more information about IB-FLEX platforms, see About IB-FLEX Instances and Platform Settings.
  • IB-FLEX does not support DNS64 on appliances running NIOS version 8.2.0.
  • IB-FLEX on AWS does not support ADP and DCA features.

Installing IB-FLEX

Depending on your network environment, you can install IB-FLEX just like how you install other Infoblox virtual appliances. Before you deploy an IB-FLEX, ensure that you set the hardware type of the appliance to IB-FLEX. You can do so either through the cloud-init process during deployment or manually through the set hardware-type CLI command.

For more information about installing IB-FLEX in the VMware environment, see Deploying vNIOS Appliances on VMware.

For information about installing IB-FLEX in the OpenStack environment, see Deploying vNIOS for KVM in OpenStack Using Elastic Scaling.

About IB-FLEX Instances and Platform Settings

An IB-FLEX instance supports capacity-based licensing only, but it is compatible with NIOS Grid Master that uses node-based licensing. You can upgrade an IB-FLEX instance from a low-end platform to a high-end platform by increasing the resource allocation of the virtual machine. An IB-FLEX instance selects the default internal settings for a respective instance platform based on the resource settings detected during the startup.
An IB-FLEX instance supports VMware ESXi with or without SR-IOV enabled and OpenStack with KVM both with or without SR-IOV. The table below provides information about the IB-FLEX platform resource specification:

IB-FLEX Platform Resource Specification

Resource Type

Allowed Range of Values

Recommended Value

Description

Virtual NUMA Nodes

1

1

Single virtual CPU socket

Disk Size

250 GB

250 GB

Fixed size virtual disk


The table below provides information about the IB-FLEX platform and various platform settings:

Total Resource Usage for Different Use Cases

Intended Use   

Total CPUTotal Virtual Memory GB (Without Software ADP)Total Virtual Memory GB (With Software ADP)Database Object CountGrid Master Capable

Small Authoritative DNS

4810100,000No

Medium Authoritative DNS

81622600,000Yes

Large Authoritative DNS

1632405,000,000Yes

Recursive DNS (without acceleration)

61418200,000Yes

Large Recursive DNS (without acceleration)

1428362,000,000Yes

Small Grid Master

1018261,000,000Yes

Medium Grid Master

1222302,000,000Yes

Large Grid Master

16324016,000,000Yes

Small Recursive DNS (with acceleration)

101220100,000No

Medium Recursive DNS (with acceleration)

162028100,000No

Large Recursive DNS (with acceleration)

263038100,000No
Large Grid Master2038
16,000,000Yes

Note the following about IB-FLEX:

  • You cannot mark an IB-FLEX appliance as a Grid Master or Grid Master Candidate with resources that are intended for small authoritative DNS, small recursive DNS (with acceleration), medium recursive DNS (with acceleration), and large recursive DNS (with acceleration). For more information, see Total Resource Usage for Different Use Cases.

  • Infoblox recommends that you increase the memory to the following for IB-FLEX members to use certain features:

    • 16 GB, instead of the standard 14 GB, to use DNS analytics.
    • 20 GB, instead of the standard 18 GB, to use Threat analytics when RPZ is assigned to the IB-FLEX member.

Configuring DNS Cache Acceleration on IB-FLEX 

When you enable virtual DNS cache acceleration on the IB-FLEX, the appliance acts as a high-speed DNS caching-only name server. This feature provides DNS cache acceleration support for recursive UDP DNS queries on the IB-FLEX. The DNS cache acceleration feature is bundled with the Tiered licensing. When you install this license, you are entitled to use the DNS cache acceleration feature on IB-FLEX.
IB-FLEX supports RPZ, but the response for RPZ queries are not cached by the DNS cache accelerator. Instead, these queries are bypassed to the host and you can configure cache expiry period for RPZ queries. Note that the maximum cache lifetime for DNS cache acceleration on IB-FLEX is set to 300 seconds if the RPZ license is installed.
You can also use Elastic Scaling to pre-provision DNS cache acceleration on IB-FLEX. IB-FLEX supports Intel x86_64 systems with IOMMU, Hugepages processors, virtio-net, and Intel 82599 10 G NIC and SRIOV with Intel 82599 ethernet controllers for DNS cache acceleration.
You can configure DNS cache acceleration on IB-FLEX using the Grid Manager or API. To view accelerated cache details, you can either log in to Grid Manager, or use CLI commands, or Infoblox API. If the tiered license usage is exceeded then a message is displayed in the Grid Manager. A warning message is displayed on the Grid Manager, if the QPS is going over the threshold on these platforms based on Tiered license installed.  
Infoblox supports Auto Scaling that contains OpenStack packages to automatically scale the required number of resources based on your application. For more information, refer to Auto Scaling for Virtual DNS Cache Acceleration. For detailed information about configuring DNS Cache Acceleration, see Configuring DNS Cache Acceleration.

Reports for IB-FLEX

Infoblox supports a selected set of reports on IB-FLEX. To view all available reports, from the Reporting tab, select the Dashboards tab. The table below lists all the supported reports for IB-FLEX. For information about how to create and manage user-defined reports, see Infoblox Reporting and Analytics.

Supported Reports for IB-FLEX

DNS Reports

Security (DNS) Reports

System Reports

DNS Query Rate by Query Type

DNS Top RPZ Hits

Flex Grid Licensing Features Enabled

DNS Query Rate by Member

DNS Top RPZ Hits by Client

CPU Utilization Trend

DNS Daily Query Rate by Member

DNS RPZ Hits Trend By Mitigation Action

Memory Utilization Trend

DNS Daily Peak Hour Query Rate by Member



DNS Replies Trend



DNS Cache Hit Rate Trend



DNS Top Requested Domain Names



DNS Top NXDOMAIN / NOERROR (no data)



DNS Top Clients



DNS Top Timed-Out Recursive Queries



DNS Response Latency Trend



DNS Top SERVFAIL Errors Sent



DNS Top SERVFAIL Errors Received



DNS Object Count Trend for Flex Grid License



DNS Effective Peak Usage Trend for Flex Grid License