Re: [fw-wiz] Info Request: Looking for alternatives in HA/Load balancingfirewalls that are also scalable and modular. . .

David Lang schrieb:

On Sat, 8 Apr 2006, Jan Tietze wrote:

On Fri, 7 Apr 2006 16:06:42 -0400, "Paul Melson" <pmelson@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Sounds like a big firewall. I'm curious, though, as to why load-balancing
is a requirement. My experience has been that an appropriately-sized
firewall as part of a fail-over pair is more reliable and performs better
than a comparable load-balanced firewall.

I'd say that's really implementation specific. I can see why this would be the case, but that really depends on the actual solution.

I was actually thinking more about reliability (because even though poor active-active clustering capabilities are common, this doesn't mean that active-active clusters per se don't work well; it might just mean that people buy poor implementations) than performance (because it is possible to scale almost linearly in my experience) when I made that comment; however in my experience it is valid for performance as well.

unless you have a seperate device doing the load balancing you end up with the situation where the traffic arrives at firewall A that firewall B has the state info for (since there isn't any firewall I am aware of that will let you sync full state info in real time for any traffic loads high enough to actually need load balancing). When this situation takes place firewall A now needs to notice that the traffic should be on firewall B and forward the traffic to that box.

Or you can have the traffic flushed to all nodes of the cluster simultaneously by the switches in front of it; think multicast. The firewalls could distribute new connections to nodes based on a hash function over some part of the IP headers, thus eliminating the need for immediate state table change sync, then replicate slowly, like every 50 ms, usually over a dedicated heartbeat channel, the updates to their state tables and redistribution of processing load. This is one mode of operating the product I mentioned.

since a single firewall can saturate a gig ethernet line nowdays (even "slow" application proxy firewalls can do this easily per vendor specs, which indicates that they probably are close enough to doing so in real life that this is an issue), if you really need load balancing where do you get the bandwidth to do this?

Using this approach you don't need to redistribute traffic; you just have another node process the traffic, but it continues to arrive at all nodes.

David Lang

The only other firewall vendor I can think of that does (or at least
to do) load-balancing is Symantec Enterprise Firewall. However, you may
also want to look at third-party load-balancing solutions like Radware
FireProof or Foundry ServerIron.

StoneSoft StoneGate has really neat clustering with dynamic re-distribution of load etc. They also used to do deliver load balancing solutions for Checkpoint for a long time.

-- Jan
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