From the day one, human civilisation has always tried to seek out ways that could make our life better and better each day by overcoming the challenges that come by. The path chosen to reach the destination is more important than the destination itself.
A few years later, I find someone brave enough to attempt it. What is CheckPoint Clustering? However, the operational impact of this is very poor. It is not possible to to determine which firewall is handling a given flow, thus making troubleshooting very hard or impossible. How does CheckPoint clustering work?
Perhaps this explains why the manuals miss out on the networking aspects of firewall functions. Normal Firewall Operation So lets set a baseline around normal firewall operation. In normal operation a firewall works this way: The firewall will receive the packet and forward it to the internal network.
The reverse flow is identical.
All this is standards compliant, expected and operationally easy to maintain and troubleshoot. Checkpoint Clustering Operation Obviously, to provide clustering something unusual has to happen because either, or both, firewalls need to receive each and every packet that needs to be forwarded.
The purpose of clustering is to enable two or more up to four??
Why would you do this? A shortcut like this looks attractive to double the throughput of the system. From the Challenges faced by nokia From the manual: Virtual IP addresses do not belong to an actual machine interface except in High Availability Legacy mode, explained later.
ClusterXL provides an infrastructure that ensures that data is not lost due to a failure, by ensuring that each cluster member is aware of connections passing through the other members.
Passing information about connections and other Security Gateway states between the cluster members is known as State Synchronisation.
State Synchronisation This is easy enough. Cluster Control Protocol There is no standard protocol for synchronising such devices so CheckPoint created something with an imaginative name: CCP traffic is distinct from ordinary network traffic and can be viewed using any network sniffer.
ClusterXL has four working modes: So we will ignore those. And, you would be right. Except that Checkpoint does naughty multicast. Lets walk it through: Router sends Ethernet frame with a Multicast MAC address which the switch must treat as a broadcast to all devices in the VLAN The Cluster protocol will notify one of the firewalls to forward the flow, and it will reach the server.
Server sends an ARP request.
Server sends Ethernet frame with a Multicast MAC address which the switch must treat as a broadcast to all devices in the VLAN The Cluster protocol will notify one of the firewalls to forward the flow, and it will reach the server.
Therefore after IGMP Query times have expired about three minutesthe port will start to block the frames and thus disable the Clustering functionality. When you disable IGMP on your ethernet switches, you are effectively allowing all multicast packets to be broadcast.
That is, a multicast frame becomes a broadcast frame and every packet must be handled by every device in the VLAN. That is, broadcast frames are received by all devices, and the software protocol driver of the device must process the broadcast frame before discarding it thus creating performance problems bus interrupts, buffer memory, CPU, software cycles, etc etc This is more commonly known as a Denial of Service Attack.
Lets assume that you have Mbps of inbound traffic on a fairly typical, dual router, dual firewall cluster type of setup like the following diagram. Most likely, this will cause intermittent outages and service problems on those devices as the CPU struggles to read and discard that volume of traffic.
In the worst case, the VPN concentrator may attempt to report broadcast flood and even shut down. Server hosting Lets consider the return path for traffic because all flows have a return path. Typically, this would be an email server, a web server, maybe a proxy or some other gateway.Microsoft-Nokia deal: The challenges and opportunities.
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