The F5 BIG-IP load balancer manages and balances the traffic load across a group or cloud of physical host servers by creating a virtual server with a single virtual IP address. The load balancer acts as an aggregation point for multiple client requests from different types of applications and services. Based on its evaluation of availability, the BIG-IP load balancer distributes these requests to the servers and their applications in the cloud.

The F5 Corporation refers to physical servers as members in the BIG-IP. The load balancer monitors the availability of these members and uses that information to decide where to send the next request for a specific service.

To provide high availability, load balancers are deployed in either active/standby pairs. In the F5 BIG-IP implementation, F5 deploys the load balancers CPUs and associated memory sets. One CPU and memory set supports basic functionality and device configuration. The second management subsystem CPU and memory set are dedicated to traffic processing. The F5 BIG-IP load balancer creates Channel Ports that relate logical connections between the BIG-IP and other devices.