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F5 Networks Virtual Server Types

Virtual Server Types



A standard virtual server sends client traffic to the load balancing pool and it is the basic virtual server type. It is a general purposed virtual server that can do everything which can’t be clearly done by other virtual servers. Standard virtual server type allows complete proxy service. So, it allows two-sided data transfer between client and server.

F5 suggests you to use Standard virtual server type under these conditions:

  • You must be sure requests which come from same client is steered to the same server by using the information at protocol flow. 
  • If you want to observe, change or save the data in protocol flow
  • If you want BIG-IP LTM to make protocol application
  • If you want an extra DDoS protection

Performance (Layer 4)

Performance (Layer 4) virtual server type has FastL4 profile that is associated with it and it uses Packet Velocity ASIC (PVA) to increase the speed of packet processing.

F5 offers you to use Performance (Layer 4) virtual server type if there is going to be a process which requires to make a very little to non L4 or L7 processes. BIG-IP system can make a port translation in addition to source and target IP address translation. Since available L7 information is at the minimum, load balancing decisions are limited in scope.

Forwarding (Layer 2)

Steering (Layer 2) virtual server usually shares the same IP address with the node that exists in a related VLAN.  Usually it is used with a VLAN group. Otherwise, it looks similar to the steering (IP) virtual server type.

Forwarding IP

Steering (IP) virtual server sends the packets directly to the target IP address. Steering (IP) virtual server doesn’t contain any pool member for load balancing. This type of virtual server is used when configuring the process of the most common packet steering (L3 routing).


Stateless virtual server type makes the lowest packet processing and it doesn’t create connection flows. It only supports UDP and suggested when the conditions are limited and certain.


Reject virtual server type rejects the packets that can create new connection flow. This type of virtual server can block IP address and connection point that is included in steering and other wildcard virtual servers.  

Performance (HTTP)

There is a FastHTTP profile which has a relationship with Performance (HTTP) virtual server. Performance (HTTP) virtual server and related profile raise the processing speed of HTTP requests. That can be the fastest way to send a HTTP traffic under certain conditions, but Performance (HTTP) virtual servers have certain requirements and limitations. 


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol virtual access server transfers DHCP client requests to one or more DHCP server for one IP address. Also, it provides DHCP server responses with an IP address that is available to the client.


Internal virtual server can create an ICAP profile and add request alerts or response adaption profiles from the virtual server. It uses Internet Content Appliaction Protocol (ICAP) to change HTTP requests and responses.

Message Routing

A Message Routing virtual server uses the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) application protocol and it works when SIP session profile or SIP steering profile warns.