Cisco ASA Series CLI Configuration Guide, 9.0
Configuring a Cluster of ASAs
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Configuring a Cluster of ASAs

Table Of Contents

Configuring a Cluster of ASAs

Information About ASA Clustering

How the ASA Cluster Fits into Your Network

Performance Scaling Factor

Cluster Members

ASA Hardware and Software Requirements

Bootstrap Configuration

Master and Slave Unit Roles

Master Unit Election

ASA Cluster Interfaces

Interface Types

Interface Type Mode

Cluster Control Link

Cluster Control Link Traffic Overview

Cluster Control Link Network

Sizing the Cluster Control Link

Cluster Control Link Redundancy

Cluster Control Link Latency and Reliability

Cluster Control Link Failure

High Availability within the ASA Cluster

Unit Health Monitoring

Interface monitoring

Unit or Interface Failure

Data Path Connection State Replication

Configuration Replication

ASA Cluster Management

Management Network

Management Interface

Master Unit Management Vs. Slave Unit Management

RSA Key Replication

ASDM Connection Certificate IP Address Mismatch

Load Balancing Methods

Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)

Policy-Based Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)

Equal-Cost Multi-Path Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)

How the ASA Cluster Manages Connections

Connection Roles

New Connection Ownership

Sample Data Flow

Rebalancing New TCP Connections Across the Cluster

ASA Features and Clustering

Unsupported Features

Centralized Features

Features Applied to Individual Units

Dynamic Routing

Multicast Routing

NAT

AAA for Network Access

Syslog and Netflow

SNMP

VPN

FTP

Cisco TrustSec

Licensing Requirements for ASA Clustering

Prerequisites for ASA Clustering

Guidelines and Limitations

Default Settings

Configuring ASA Clustering

Task Flow for ASA Cluster Configuration

Cabling the Cluster Units and Configuring Upstream and Downstream Equipment

Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit

Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit

Configuring Individual Interfaces (Recommended for the Management Interface)

Configuring Spanned EtherChannels

Configuring the Master Unit Bootstrap Settings

Prerequisites

Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface

Configuring Basic Bootstrap Settings and Enabling Clustering

Configuring Advanced Clustering Settings

Examples

Configuring Slave Unit Bootstrap Settings

Prerequisites

Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface

Configuring Bootstrap Settings and Joining the Cluster

Examples

Managing ASA Cluster Members

Becoming an Inactive Member

Inactivating a Member

Leaving the Cluster

Changing the Master Unit

Executing a Command Cluster-Wide

Monitoring the ASA Cluster

Monitoring Commands

Related Commands

Configuration Examples for ASA Clustering

Sample ASA and Switch Configuration

ASA Configuration

IOS Switch Configuration

Firewall on a Stick

Traffic Segregation

Redundant Interface (PBR or ECMP)

Spanned EtherChannel With Backup Links

Feature History for ASA Clustering


Configuring a Cluster of ASAs


Clustering lets you group multiple ASAs together as a single logical device. A cluster provides all the convenience of a single device (management, integration into a network) while achieving the increased throughput and redundancy of multiple devices.


Note Some features are not supported when using clustering. See the "Unsupported Features" section.


Information About ASA Clustering

Licensing Requirements for ASA Clustering

Prerequisites for ASA Clustering

Guidelines and Limitations

Default Settings

Configuring ASA Clustering

Managing ASA Cluster Members

Monitoring the ASA Cluster

Configuration Examples for ASA Clustering

Feature History for ASA Clustering

Information About ASA Clustering

How the ASA Cluster Fits into Your Network

Performance Scaling Factor

Cluster Members

ASA Cluster Interfaces

Cluster Control Link

High Availability within the ASA Cluster

Configuration Replication

ASA Cluster Management

Load Balancing Methods

How the ASA Cluster Manages Connections

ASA Features and Clustering

How the ASA Cluster Fits into Your Network

The cluster consists of multiple ASAs acting as a single unit. (See the "Licensing Requirements for ASA Clustering" section for the number of units supported per model). To act as a cluster, the ASAs need the following infrastructure:

Isolated, high-speed backplane network for intra-cluster communication, known as the cluster control link. See the "Cluster Control Link" section.

Management access to each ASA for configuration and monitoring. See the "ASA Cluster Management" section.

When you place the cluster in your network, the upstream and downstream routers need to be able to load-balance the data coming to and from the cluster using one of the following methods:

Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)—Interfaces on multiple members of the cluster are grouped into a single EtherChannel; the EtherChannel performs load balancing between units. See the "Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)" section.

Policy-Based Routing (Routed firewall mode only)—The upstream and downstream routers perform load balancing between units using route maps and ACLs. See the "Policy-Based Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)" section.

Equal-Cost Multi-Path Routing (Routed firewall mode only)—The upstream and downstream routers perform load balancing between units using equal cost static or dynamic routes. See the "Equal-Cost Multi-Path Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)" section.

Performance Scaling Factor

When you combine multiple units into a cluster, you can expect a performance of approximately:

70% of the combined throughput

60% of maximum connections

50% of connections per second

For example, for throughput, the ASA 5585-X with SSP-40 can handle approximately 10 Gbps of real world firewall traffic when running alone. For a cluster of 8 units, the maximum combined throughput will be approximately 70% of 80 Gbps (8 units x 10 Gbps): 56 Gbps.

Cluster Members

ASA Hardware and Software Requirements

Bootstrap Configuration

Master and Slave Unit Roles

Master Unit Election

ASA Hardware and Software Requirements

All units in a cluster:

Must be the same model with the same DRAM. You do not have to have the same amount of flash memory.

Must run the identical software except at the time of an image upgrade. Hitless upgrade is supported between any maintenance releases within a minor release (such as 9.0(1) to 9.0(4)), adjacent minor releases (such as 9.0 to 9.1), and last minor release of previous version to the next major release (such as 8.6 to 9.0, where 8.6 is the last version available for your model previous to 9.0).

Must be in the same geographical location.

Must be in the same security context mode, single or multiple.

(Single context mode) Must be in the same firewall mode, routed or transparent.

New cluster members must use the same SSL encryption setting (the ssl encryption command) as the master unit for initial cluster control link communication before configuration replication.

Bootstrap Configuration

On each device, you configure a minimal bootstrap configuration including the cluster name, cluster control link interface, and other cluster settings. The first unit on which you enable clustering typically becomes the master unit. When you enable clustering on subsequent units, they join the cluster as slaves.

Master and Slave Unit Roles

One member of the cluster is the master unit. The master unit is determined by the priority setting in the bootstrap configuration; the priority is set between 1 and 100, where 1 is the highest priority. All other members are slave units. Typically, when you first create a cluster, the first unit you add becomes the master unit simply because it is the only unit in the cluster so far.

You must perform all configuration (aside from the bootstrap configuration) on the master unit only; the configuration is then replicated to the slave units. In the case of physical assets, such as interfaces, the configuration of the master unit is mirrored on all slave units. For example, if you configure GigabitEthernet 0/1 as the inside interface and GigabitEthernet 0/0 as the outside interface, then these interfaces are also used on the slave units as inside and outside interfaces.

Some features do not scale in a cluster, and the master unit handles all traffic for those features. See the "Centralized Features" section.

Master Unit Election

Members of the cluster communicate over the cluster control link to elect a master unit as follows:

1. When you enable clustering for a unit (or when it first starts up with clustering already enabled), it broadcasts an election request every 3 seconds.

2. Any other units with a higher priority respond to the election request; the priority is set between 1 and 100, where 1 is the highest priority.

3. If after 45 seconds, a unit does not receive a response from another unit with a higher priority, then it becomes master.


Note If multiple units tie for the highest priority, the cluster unit name and then the serial number is used to determine the master.


4. If a unit later joins the cluster with a higher priority, it does not automatically become the master unit; the existing master unit always remains as the master unless it stops responding, at which point a new master unit is elected.


Note You can manually force a unit to become the master. For centralized features, if you force a master unit change, then all connections are dropped, and you have to re-establish the connections on the new master unit. See the "Centralized Features" section for a list of centralized features.


ASA Cluster Interfaces

You can configure data interfaces as either Spanned EtherChannels or as Individual interfaces. All data interfaces in the cluster must be one type only.

Interface Types

Interface Type Mode

Interface Types

Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)

You can group one or more interfaces per unit into an EtherChannel that spans all units in the cluster. The EtherChannel aggregates the traffic across all the available active interfaces in the channel. A Spanned EtherChannel can be configured in both routed and transparent firewall modes. In routed mode, the EtherChannel is configured as a routed interface with a single IP address. In transparent mode, the IP address is assigned to the bridge group, not to the interface. The EtherChannel inherently provides load balancing as part of basic operation. See also the "Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)" section.

Individual interfaces (Routed firewall mode only)

Individual interfaces are normal routed interfaces, each with their own Local IP address. Because interface configuration must be configured only on the master unit, the interface configuration lets you set a pool of IP addresses to be used for a given interface on the cluster members, including one for the master. The Main cluster IP address is a fixed address for the cluster that always belongs to the current master unit. The Main cluster IP address is a secondary IP address for the master unit; the Local IP address is always the primary address for routing. The Main cluster IP address provides consistent management access to an address; when a master unit changes, the Main cluster IP address moves to the new master unit, so management of the cluster continues seamlessly. Load balancing, however, must be configured separately on the upstream switch in this case. For information about load balancing, see the "Load Balancing Methods" section.


Note We recommend Spanned EtherChannels instead of Individual interfaces because Individual interfaces rely on routing protocols to load-balance traffic, and routing protocols often have slow convergence during a link failure.


Interface Type Mode

You must choose the interface type (Spanned EtherChannel or Individual) before you configure your devices. See the following guidelines for the interface type mode:

You can always configure the management-only interface as an Individual interface (recommended), even in Spanned EtherChannel mode. The management interface can be an Individual interface even in transparent firewall mode.

In Spanned EtherChannel mode, if you configure the management interface as an Individual interface, you cannot enable dynamic routing for the management interface. You must use a static route.

In multiple context mode, you must choose one interface type for all contexts. For example, if you have a mix of transparent and routed mode contexts, you must use Spanned EtherChannel mode for all contexts because that is the only interface type allowed for transparent mode.

Cluster Control Link

Each unit must dedicate at least one hardware interface as the cluster control link.

Cluster Control Link Traffic Overview

Cluster Control Link Network

Sizing the Cluster Control Link

Cluster Control Link Redundancy

Cluster Control Link Latency and Reliability

Cluster Control Link Failure

Cluster Control Link Traffic Overview

Cluster control link traffic includes both control and data traffic.

Control traffic includes:

Master election. (See the "Cluster Members" section.)

Configuration replication. (See the "Configuration Replication" section.)

Health monitoring. (See the "Unit Health Monitoring" section.)

Data traffic includes:

State replication. (See the "Data Path Connection State Replication" section.)

Connection ownership queries and data packet forwarding. (See the "Rebalancing New TCP Connections Across the Cluster" section.)

Cluster Control Link Network

Each cluster control link has an IP address on the same subnet. This subnet should be isolated from all other traffic, and should include only the ASA cluster control link interfaces.

For a 2-member cluster, do not directly-connect the cluster control link from one ASA to the other ASA. If you directly connect the interfaces, then when one unit fails, the cluster control link fails, and thus the remaining healthy unit fails. If you connect the cluster control link through a switch, then the cluster control link remains up for the healthy unit.

Sizing the Cluster Control Link

You should assign an equal amount of bandwidth to the cluster control link as you assign for through traffic. For example, if you have the ASA 5585-X with SSP-60, which can pass 14 Gbps per unit maximum in a cluster, then you should also assign interfaces to the cluster control link that can pass approximately 14 Gbps. In this case, you could use 2 Ten Gigabit Ethernet interfaces in an EtherChannel for the cluster control link, and use the rest of the interfaces as desired for data links.

Cluster control link traffic is comprised mainly of state update and forwarded packets. The amount of traffic at any given time on the cluster control link varies. For example state updates could consume up to 10% of the through traffic amount if through traffic consists exclusively of short-lived TCP connections. The amount of forwarded traffic depends on the load-balancing efficacy or whether there is a lot of traffic for centralized features. For example:

NAT results in poor load balancing of connections, and the need to rebalance all returning traffic to the correct units.

AAA for network access is a centralized feature, so all traffic is forwarded to the master unit.

When membership changes, the cluster needs to rebalance a large number of connections, thus temporarily using a large amount of cluster control link bandwidth.

A higher-bandwidth cluster control link helps the cluster to converge faster when there are membership changes and prevents throughput bottlenecks.


Note If your cluster has large amounts of asymmetric (rebalanced) traffic, then the cluster control link should be even larger.


Cluster Control Link Redundancy

We recommend using an EtherChannel for the cluster control link, so you can pass traffic on multiple links in the EtherChannel while still achieving redundancy.

The following diagram shows how to use an EtherChannel as a cluster control link in a Virtual Switching System (VSS) or Virtual Port Channel (vPC) environment. All links in the EtherChannel are active. When the switch is part of a VSS or vPC, then you can connect ASA interfaces within the same EtherChannel to separate switches in the VSS or vPC. The switch interfaces are members of the same EtherChannel port-channel interface, because the separate switches act like a single switch. Note that this EtherChannel is device-local, not a Spanned EtherChannel.

Cluster Control Link Latency and Reliability

To ensure cluster control link functionality, be sure the round-trip time (RTT) between units is less than the following:

5 ms

To check your latency, perform a ping on the cluster control link between units.

The cluster control link must be reliable, with no out-of-order or dropped packets.

Cluster Control Link Failure

If the cluster control link line protocol goes down for a unit, then clustering is disabled; data interfaces are shut down until you manually re-enable clustering on each affected unit (after you fix the cluster control link.)


Note When an ASA becomes inactive, all data interfaces are shut down; only the management-only interface can send and receive traffic. The management interface remains up using the IP address the unit received from the cluster IP pool. However if you reload, and the unit is still inactive in the cluster, the management interface is not accessible (because it then uses the Main IP address, which is the same as the master unit). You must use the console port for any further configuration.


High Availability within the ASA Cluster

Unit Health Monitoring

Interface monitoring

Unit or Interface Failure

Data Path Connection State Replication

Unit Health Monitoring

The master unit monitors every slave unit by sending keepalive messages over the cluster control link periodically (the period is configurable). Each slave unit monitors the master unit using the same mechanism.

Interface monitoring

Each unit monitors the link status of all hardware interfaces in use, and reports status changes to the master unit.

Spanned EtherChannel—Uses cluster Link Aggregation Control Protocol (cLACP). Each unit monitors the link status and the cLACP protocol messages to determine if the port is still active in the EtherChannel. The status is reported to the master unit.

Individual interfaces (Routed mode only)—Each unit self-monitors its interfaces and reports interface status to the master unit.

Unit or Interface Failure

When health monitoring is enabled, a unit is removed from the cluster if it fails or if its interfaces fail. If an interface fails on a particular unit, but the same interface is active on other units, then the unit is removed from the cluster.

When a unit in the cluster fails, the connections hosted by that unit are seamlessly transferred to other units; state information for traffic flows is shared over the control cluster link.

If the master unit fails, then another member of the cluster with the highest priority (lowest number) becomes the master.


Note When an ASA becomes inactive (either manually or through a health check failure), all data interfaces are shut down; only the management-only interface can send and receive traffic. The management interface remains up using the IP address the unit received from the cluster IP pool. However if you reload, and the unit is still inactive in the cluster, the management interface is not accessible (because it then uses the Main IP address, which is the same as the master unit). You must use the console port for any further configuration.


Data Path Connection State Replication

Every connection has one owner and at least one backup owner in the cluster. The backup owner does not take over the connection in the event of a failure; instead, it stores TCP/UDP state information, so that the connection can be seamlessly transferred to a new owner in case of a failure.

If the owner becomes unavailable, the first unit to receive packets from the connection (based on load balancing) contacts the backup owner for the relevant state information so it can become the new owner.

Some traffic requires state information above the TCP or UDP layer. See Table 10-1 for clustering support or lack of support for this kind of traffic.

Table 10-1 ASA Features Replicated Across the Cluster

Traffic
State Support
Notes

Up time

Yes

Keeps track of the system up time.

ARP Table

Yes

Transparent mode only.

MAC address table

Yes

Transparent mode only.

User Identity

Yes

Includes AAA rules (uauth) and identify firewall.

IPv6 Neighbor database

Yes

 

Dynamic routing

Yes

 

Multi-site licensing

No

 

SNMP Engine ID

No

 

VPN (Site-to-Site)

No

VPN sessions will be disconnected if the master unit fails.


Configuration Replication

All units in the cluster share a single configuration. Except for the initial bootstrap configuration, you can only make configuration changes on the master unit, and changes are automatically replicated to all other units in the cluster.

ASA Cluster Management

Management Network

Management Interface

Master Unit Management Vs. Slave Unit Management

RSA Key Replication

ASDM Connection Certificate IP Address Mismatch

Management Network

We recommend connecting all units to a single management network. This network is separate from the cluster control link.

Management Interface

For the management interface, we recommend using one of the dedicated management interfaces. You can configure the management interfaces as Individual interfaces (for both routed and transparent modes) or as a Spanned EtherChannel interface.

We recommend using Individual interfaces for management, even if you use Spanned EtherChannels for your data interfaces. Individual interfaces let you connect directly to each unit if necessary, while a Spanned EtherChannel interface only allows remote connection to the current master unit.


Note If you use Spanned EtherChannel interface mode, and configure the management interface as an Individual interface, you cannot enable dynamic routing for the management interface. You must use a static route.


For an Individual interface, the Main cluster IP address is a fixed address for the cluster that always belongs to the current master unit. For each interface, you also configure a range of addresses so that each unit, including the current master, can use a Local address from the range. The Main cluster IP address provides consistent management access to an address; when a master unit changes, the Main cluster IP address moves to the new master unit, so management of the cluster continues seamlessly. The Local IP address is used for routing, and is also useful for troubleshooting.

For example, you can manage the cluster by connecting to the Main cluster IP address, which is always attached to the current master unit. To manage an individual member, you can connect to the Local IP address.

For outbound management traffic such as TFTP or syslog, each unit, including the master unit, uses the Local IP address to connect to the server.

For a Spanned EtherChannel interface, you can only configure one IP address, and that IP address is always attached to the master unit. You cannot connect directly to a slave unit using the EtherChannel interface; we recommend configuring the management interface as an Individual interface so you can connect to each unit. Note that you can use a device-local EtherChannel for management.

Master Unit Management Vs. Slave Unit Management

Aside from the bootstrap configuration, all management and monitoring can take place on the master unit. From the master unit, you can check runtime statistics, resource usage, or other monitoring information of all units. You can also issue a command to all units in the cluster, and replicate the console messages from slave units to the master unit.

You can monitor slave units directly if desired. Although also available from the master unit, you can perform file management on slave units (including backing up the configuration and updating images). The following functions are not available from the master unit:

Monitoring per-unit cluster-specific statistics.

Syslog monitoring per unit.

RSA Key Replication

When you create an RSA key on the master unit, the key is replicated to all slave units. If you have an SSH session to the Main cluster IP address, you will be disconnected if the master unit fails. The new master unit uses the same key for SSH connections, so you do not need to update the cached SSH host key when you reconnect to the new master unit.

ASDM Connection Certificate IP Address Mismatch

By default, a self-signed certificate is used for the ASDM connection based on the Local IP address. If you connect to the Main cluster IP address using ASDM, then a warning message about a mismatched IP address appears because the certificate uses the Local IP address, and not the Main cluster IP address. You can ignore the message and establish the ASDM connection. However, to avoid this type of warning, you can enroll a certificate that contains the Main cluster IP address and all the Local IP addresses from the IP address pool. You can then use this certificate for each cluster member. For more information, see Chapter 40 "Configuring Digital Certificates."

Load Balancing Methods

See also the "ASA Cluster Interfaces" section.

Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)

Policy-Based Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)

Equal-Cost Multi-Path Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)

Spanned EtherChannel (Recommended)

You can group one or more interfaces per unit into an EtherChannel that spans all units in the cluster. The EtherChannel aggregates the traffic across all the available active interfaces in the channel.

Spanned EtherChannel Benefits

Guidelines for Maximum Throughput

Load Balancing

EtherChannel Redundancy

Connecting to a VSS or vPC

Spanned EtherChannel Benefits

The EtherChannel method of load-balancing is recommended over other methods for the following benefits:

Faster failure discovery.

Faster convergence time. Individual interfaces rely on routing protocols to load-balance traffic, and routing protocols often have slow convergence during a link failure.

Ease of configuration.

For more information about EtherChannels in general (not just for clustering), see the "EtherChannels" section.

Guidelines for Maximum Throughput

To achieve maximum throughput, we recommend the following:

Use a load balancing hash algorithm that is "symmetric," meaning that packets from both directions will have the same hash, and will be sent to the same ASA in the Spanned EtherChannel. We recommend using the source and destination IP address (the default) or the source and destination port as the hashing algorithm.

Use the same type of line cards when connecting the ASAs to the switch so that hashing algorithms applied to all packets are the same.

Load Balancing

The EtherChannel link is selected using a proprietary hash algorithm, based on source or destination IP addresses and TCP and UDP port numbers.


Note On the ASA, do not change the load-balancing algorithm from the default (see the "Customizing the EtherChannel" section). On the switch, we recommend that you use one of the following algorithms: source-dest-ip or source-dest-ip-port (see the Nexus OS or IOS port-channel load-balance command). Do not use a vlan keyword in the load-balance algorithm because it can cause unevenly distributed traffic to the ASAs in a cluster.


The number of links in the EtherChannel affects load balancing. See the "Load Balancing" section for more information.

Symmetric load balancing is not always possible. If you configure NAT, then forward and return packets will have different IP addresses and/or ports. Return traffic will be sent to a different unit based on the hash, and the cluster will have to redirect most returning traffic to the correct unit. See the "NAT" section for more information.

EtherChannel Redundancy

The EtherChannel has built-in redundancy. It monitors the line protocol status of all links. If one link fails, traffic is re-balanced between remaining links. If all links in the EtherChannel fail on a particular unit, but other units are still active, then the unit is removed from the cluster.

Connecting to a VSS or vPC

You can include multiple interfaces per ASA in the Spanned EtherChannel. Multiple interfaces per ASA are especially useful for connecting to both switches in a VSS or vPC. Keep in mind that an EtherChannel can have only 8 active interfaces out of 16 maximum; the remaining 8 interfaces are on standby in case of link failure. The following figure shows a 4-ASA cluster and an 8-ASA cluster, both with a total of 16 links in the EtherChannel. The active links are shown as solid lines, while the inactive links are dotted. cLACP load-balancing can automatically choose the best 8 links to be active in the EtherChannel. As shown, cLACP helps achieve load balancing at the link level.

Policy-Based Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)

When using Individual interfaces, each ASA interface maintains its own IP address and MAC address. One method of load balancing is Policy-Based Routing (PBR).

We recommend this method if you are already using PBR, and want to take advantage of your existing infrastructure. This method might offer additional tuning options vs. Spanned EtherChannel as well.

PBR makes routing decisions based on a route map and ACL. You must manually divide traffic between all ASAs in a cluster. Because PBR is static, it may not achieve the optimum load balancing result at all times. To achieve the best performance, we recommend that you configure the PBR policy so that forward and return packets of a connection are directed to the same physical ASA. For example, if you have a Cisco router, redundancy can be achieved by using IOS PBR with Object Tracking. IOS Object Tracking monitors each ASA using ICMP ping. PBR can then enable or disable route maps based on reachability of a particular ASA. See the following URLs for more details:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6599/products_white_paper09186a00800a4409.shtml

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/ios/12_3t/12_3t4/feature/guide/gtpbrtrk.html#wp1057830


Note If you use this method of load-balancing, you can use a device-local EtherChannel as an Individual interface.


Equal-Cost Multi-Path Routing (Routed Firewall Mode Only)

When using Individual interfaces, each ASA interface maintains its own IP address and MAC address. One method of load balancing is Equal-Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) routing.

We recommend this method if you are already using ECMP, and want to take advantage of your existing infrastructure. This method might offer additional tuning options vs. Spanned EtherChannel as well.

ECMP routing can forward packets over multiple "best paths" that tie for top place in the routing metric. Like EtherChannel, a hash of source and destination IP addresses and/or source and destination ports can be used to send a packet to one of the next hops. If you use static routes for ECMP routing, then an ASA failure can cause problems; the route continues to be used, and traffic to the failed ASA will be lost. If you use static routes, be sure to use a static route monitoring feature such as Object Tracking. We recommend using dynamic routing protocols to add and remove routes, in which case, you must configure each ASA to participate in dynamic routing.


Note If you use this method of load-balancing, you can use a device-local EtherChannel as an Individual interface.


How the ASA Cluster Manages Connections

Connection Roles

New Connection Ownership

Sample Data Flow

Rebalancing New TCP Connections Across the Cluster

Connection Roles

There are 3 different ASA roles defined for each connection:

Owner—The unit that initially receives the connection. The owner maintains the TCP state and processes packets. A connection has only one owner.

Director—The unit that handles owner lookup requests from forwarders and also maintains the connection state to serve as a backup if the owner fails. When the owner receives a new connection, it chooses a director based on a hash of the source/destination IP address and TCP ports, and sends a message to the director to register the new connection. If packets arrive at any unit other than the owner, the unit queries the director about which unit is the owner so it can forward the packets. A connection has only one director.

Forwarder—A unit that forwards packets to the owner. If a forwarder receives a packet for a connection it does not own, it queries the director for the owner, and then establishes a flow to the owner for any other packets it receives for this connection. The director can also be a forwarder. Note that if a forwarder receives the SYN-ACK packet, it can derive the owner directly from a SYN cookie in the packet, so it does not need to query the director. (If you disable TCP sequence randomization, the SYN cookie is not used; a query to the director is required.) For short-lived flows such as DNS and ICMP, instead of querying, the forwarder immediately sends the packet to the director, which then sends them to the owner. A connection can have multiple forwarders; the most efficient throughput is achieved by a good load-balancing method where there are no forwarders and all packets of a connection are received by the owner.

New Connection Ownership

When a new connection is directed to a member of the cluster via load balancing, that unit owns both directions of the connection. If any connection packets arrive at a different unit, they are forwarded to the owner unit over the cluster control link. For best performance, proper external load balancing is required for both directions of a flow to arrive at the same unit, and for flows to be distributed evenly between units. If a reverse flow arrives at a different unit, it is redirected back to the original unit. For more information, see the "Load Balancing Methods" section.

Sample Data Flow

The following example shows the establishment of a new connection.

1. The SYN packet originates from the client and is delivered to an ASA (based on the load balancing method), which becomes the owner. The owner creates a flow, encodes owner information into a SYN cookie, and forwards the packet to the server.

2. The SYN-ACK packet originates from the server and is delivered to a different ASA (based on the load balancing method). This ASA is the forwarder.

3. Because the forwarder does not own the connection, it decodes owner information from the SYN cookie, creates a forwarding flow to the owner, and forwards the SYN-ACK to the owner.

4. The owner sends a state update to the director, and forwards the SYN-ACK to the client.

5. The director receives the state update from the owner, creates a flow to the owner, and records the TCP state information as well as the owner. The director acts as the backup owner for the connection.

6. Any subsequent packets delivered to the forwarder will be forwarded to the owner.

7. If packets are delivered to any additional units, it will query the director for the owner and establish a flow.

8. Any state change for the flow results in a state update from the owner to the director.

Rebalancing New TCP Connections Across the Cluster

If the load balancing capabilities of the upstream or downstream routers result in unbalanced flow distribution, you can configure overloaded units to redirect new TCP flows to other units. No existing flows will be moved to other units.

ASA Features and Clustering

Unsupported Features

Centralized Features

Features Applied to Individual Units

Dynamic Routing

NAT

Syslog and Netflow

SNMP

VPN

FTP

Cisco TrustSec

Unsupported Features

These features cannot be configured with clustering enabled, and the commands will be rejected.

Unified Communications

Remote access VPN (SSL VPN and IPsec VPN)

The following application inspections:

CTIQBE

GTP

H323, H225, and RAS

IPsec passthrough

MGCP

MMP

RTSP

SIP

SCCP (Skinny)

WAAS

WCCP

Botnet Traffic Filter

Auto Update Server

DHCP client, server, relay, and proxy

VPN load balancing

Failover

ASA CX module

Centralized Features

The following features are only supported on the master unit, and are not scaled for the cluster. For example, you have a cluster of eight units (5585-X with SSP-60). The Other VPN license allows a maximum of 10,000 site-to-site IPsec tunnels for one ASA 5585-X with SSP-60. For the entire cluster of eight units, you can only use 10,000 tunnels; the feature does not scale.


Note Traffic for centralized features is forwarded from member units to the master unit over the cluster control link; see the "Sizing the Cluster Control Link" section to ensure adequate bandwidth for the cluster control link.

If you use the rebalancing feature (see the "Rebalancing New TCP Connections Across the Cluster" section), traffic for centralized features may be rebalanced to non-master units before the traffic is classified as a centralized feature; if this occurs, the traffic is then sent back to the master unit.

For centralized features, if the master unit fails, all connections are dropped, and you have to re-establish the connections on the new master unit.


Site-to-site VPN

The following application inspections:

DCERPC

NetBios

PPTP

RADIUS

RSH

SUNRPC

TFTP

XDMCP

Dynamic routing (Spanned EtherChannel mode only)

Multicast routing (Individual interface mode only)

Static route monitoring

IGMP multicast control plane protocol processing (data plane forwarding is distributed across the cluster)

PIM multicast control plane protocol processing (data plane forwarding is distributed across the cluster)

Authentication and Authorization for network access. Accounting is decentralized.

Filtering Services

Features Applied to Individual Units

These features are applied to each ASA unit, instead of the cluster as a whole or to the master unit.

QoS—The QoS policy is synced across the cluster as part of configuration replication. However, the policy is enforced on each unit independently. For example, if you configure policing on output, then the conform rate and conform burst values are enforced on traffic exiting a particular ASA. In a cluster with 8 units and with traffic evenly distributed, the conform rate actually becomes 8 times the rate for the cluster.

Threat detection—Threat detection works on each unit independently; for example, the top statistics is unit-specific. Port scanning detection, for example, does not work because scanning traffic will be load-balanced between all units, and one unit will not see all traffic.

Resource management—Resource management in multiple context mode is enforced separately on each unit based on local usage.

IPS module—There is no configuration sync or state sharing between IPS modules. Some IPS signatures require IPS to keep the state across multiple connections. For example, the port scanning signature is used when the IPS module detects that someone is opening many connections to one server but with different ports. In clustering, those connections will be balanced between multiple ASA devices, each of which has its own IPS module. Because these IPS modules do not share state information, the cluster may not be able to detect port scanning as a result.

Dynamic Routing

Dynamic Routing in Spanned EtherChannel Mode

Dynamic Routing in Individual Interface Mode

Dynamic Routing in Spanned EtherChannel Mode

In Spanned EtherChannel mode, the routing process only runs on the master unit, and routes are learned through the master unit and replicated to slaves. If a routing packet arrives at a slave, it is redirected to the master unit.

Figure 10-1 Dynamic Routing in Spanned EtherChannel Mode

After the slave members learn the routes from the master unit, each unit makes forwarding decisions independently.

The OSPF LSA database is not synchronized from the master unit to slave units. If there is a master unit switchover, the neighboring router will detect a restart; the switchover is not transparent. The OSPF process picks an IP address as its router ID. Although not required, you can assign a static router ID to ensure a consistent router ID is used across the cluster.

Dynamic Routing in Individual Interface Mode

In Individual interface mode, each unit runs the routing protocol as a standalone router, and routes are learned by each unit independently.

Figure 10-2 Dynamic Routing in Individual Interface Mode

In the above diagram, Router A learns that there are 4 equal-cost paths to Router B, each through an ASA. ECMP is used to load balance traffic between the 4 paths. Each ASA picks a different router ID when talking to external routers.

You must configure a cluster pool for the router ID so that each unit has a separate router ID.

Multicast Routing

Multicast Routing in Spanned EtherChannel Mode

Multicast Routing in Individual Interface Mode

Multicast Routing in Spanned EtherChannel Mode

In Spanned EtherChannel mode, the master unit handles all multicast routing packets and data packets until fast-path forwarding is established. After the connection is established, each slave can forward multicast data packets.

Multicast Routing in Individual Interface Mode

In Individual interface mode, units do not act independently with multicast. All data and routing packets are processed and forwarded by the master unit, thus avoiding packet replication.

NAT

NAT can impact the overall throughput of the cluster. Inbound and outbound NAT packets can be sent to different ASAs in the cluster because the load balancing algorithm relies on IP addresses and ports, and NAT causes inbound and outbound packets to have different IP addresses and/or ports. When a packet arrives at an ASA that is not the connection owner, it is forwarded over the cluster control link to the owner, causing large amounts of traffic on the cluster control link.

If you still want to use NAT in clustering, then consider the following guidelines:

No Proxy ARP—For Individual interfaces, a proxy ARP reply is never sent for mapped addresses. This prevents the adjacent router from maintaining a peer relationship with an ASA that may no longer be in the cluster. The upstream router needs a static route or PBR with Object Tracking for the mapped addresses that points to the Main cluster IP address. This is not an issue for a Spanned EtherChannel, because there is only one IP address associated with the cluster interface.

No interface PAT on an Individual interface—Interface PAT is not supported for Individual interfaces.

NAT pool address distribution—The master unit evenly pre-distributes addresses across the cluster. If a member receives a connection and they have no addresses left, the connection is dropped, even if other members still have addresses available. Make sure to include at least as many NAT addresses as there are units in the cluster to ensure that each unit receives an address. Use the show nat pool cluster command to see the address allocations.

No round-robin—Round-robin for a PAT pool is not supported with clustering.

Dynamic NAT xlates managed by the master unit—The master unit maintains and replicates the xlate table to slave units. When a slave unit receives a connection that requires dynamic NAT, and the xlate is not in the table, it requests the xlate from the master unit. The slave unit owns the connection.

Per-session PAT feature—Although not exclusive to clustering, the per-session PAT feature improves the scalability of PAT and, for clustering, allows each slave unit to own PAT connections; by contrast, multi-session PAT connections have to be forwarded to and owned by the master unit. By default, all TCP traffic and UDP DNS traffic use a per-session PAT xlate. For traffic that requires multi-session PAT, such as H.323, SIP, or Skinny, you can disable per-session PAT. For more information about per-session PAT, see the "Per-Session PAT vs. Multi-Session PAT" section in the firewall configuration guide.

No static PAT for the following inspections—

FTP

PPTP

RSH

SQLNET

TFTP

XDMCP

All Voice-over-IP applications

AAA for Network Access

AAA for network access consists of three components: authentication, authorization, and accounting. Authentication and accounting are implemented as centralized features on the clustering master with replication of the data structures to the cluster slaves. If a master is elected, the new master will have all the information it needs to continue uninterrupted operation of the established authenticated users and their associated authorizations. Idle and absolute timeouts for user authentications are preserved when a master unit change occurs.

Accounting is implemented as a distributed feature in a cluster. Accounting is done on a per-flow basis, so the cluster unit owning a flow will send accounting start and stop messages to the AAA server when accounting is configured for a flow.

Syslog and Netflow

Syslog—Each unit in the cluster generates its own syslog messages. You can configure logging so that each unit uses either the same or a different device ID in the syslog message header field. For example, the hostname configuration is replicated and shared by all units in the cluster. If you configure logging to use the hostname as the device ID, syslog messages generated by all units look as if they come from a single unit. If you configure logging to use the local-unit name that is assigned in the cluster bootstrap configuration as the device ID, syslog messages look as if they come from different units. See the "Including the Device ID in Non-EMBLEM Format Syslog Messages" section.

NetFlow—Each unit in the cluster generates its own NetFlow stream. The NetFlow collector can only treat each ASA as a separate NetFlow exporter.

SNMP

An SNMP agent polls each individual ASA by its Local IP address. You cannot poll consolidated data for the cluster.

You should always use the Local address, and not the Main cluster IP address for SNMP polling. If the SNMP agent polls the Main cluster IP address, if a new master is elected, the poll to the new master unit will fail.

VPN

Site-to-site VPN is a centralized feature; only the master unit supports VPN connections.


Note Remote access VPN is not supported with clustering.


VPN functionality is limited to the master unit and does not take advantage of the cluster high availability capabilities. If the master unit fails, all existing VPN connections are lost, and VPN users will see a disruption in service. When a new master is elected, you must reestablish the VPN connections.

When you connect a VPN tunnel to a Spanned EtherChannel address, connections are automatically forwarded to the master unit. For connections to an Individual interface when using PBR or ECMP, you must always connect to the Main cluster IP address, not a Local address.

VPN-related keys and certificates are replicated to all units.

FTP

If FTP data channel and control channel flows are owned by different cluster members, the data channel owner will periodically send idle timeout updates to the control channel owner and update the idle timeout value. However, if the control flow owner is reloaded, and the control flow is re-hosted, the parent/child flow relationship will not longer be maintained; the control flow idle timeout will not be updated.

If you use AAA for FTP access, then the control channel flow is centralized on the master unit.

Cisco TrustSec

Only the master unit learns security group tag (SGT) information. The master unit then populates the SGT to slaves, and slaves can make a match decision for SGT based on the security policy.

Licensing Requirements for ASA Clustering

Model
License Requirement

ASA 5580, ASA 5585-X

Cluster License.

A Cluster license is required on each unit. For other feature licenses, cluster units do not require the same license on each unit. If you have feature licenses on multiple units, they combine into a single running ASA cluster license.

Note Each unit must have the same encryption license.

All other models

No support.


Prerequisites for ASA Clustering

Switch Prerequisites

Be sure to complete the switch configuration before you configure clustering on the ASAs.

Table 10-2 lists supported external hardware and software to interoperate with ASA clustering.

Table 10-2 External Hardware and Software Dependencies for ASA Clustering

External Hardware
External Software
ASA Version

Nexus 7000

NXOS 5.2(5)

9.0(1) and later.

Catalyst 6500 with Supervisor 32, 720, and 720-10GE

IOS 12.2(33)SXI7, SXI8, and SXI9

9.0(1) and later.


ASA Prerequisites

Provide each unit with a unique IP address before you join them to the management network.

See Chapter 2 "Getting Started," for more information about connecting to the ASA and setting the management IP address.

Except for the IP address used by the master unit (typically the first unit you add to the cluster), these management IP addresses are for temporary use only.

After a slave joins the cluster, its management interface configuration is replaced by the one replicated from the master unit.

To use jumbo frames on the cluster control link (recommended), you must enable Jumbo Frame Reservation before you enable clustering. See the "Enabling Jumbo Frame Support (Supported Models)" section.

See also the "ASA Hardware and Software Requirements" section.

Other Prerequisites

We recommend using a terminal server to access all cluster member unit console ports. For initial setup, and ongoing management (for example, when a unit goes down), a terminal server is useful for remote management.

Guidelines and Limitations

Context Mode Guidelines

Supported in single and multiple context modes. The mode must match on each member unit.

Firewall Mode Guidelines

Supported in routed and transparent firewall modes. For single mode, the firewall mode must match on all units.

Failover Guidelines

Failover is not supported with clustering.

IPv6 Guidelines

Supports IPv6. However, the cluster control link is only supported using IPv4.

Model Guidelines

Supported on:

ASA 5585-X

For the ASA 5585-X with SSP-10 and SSP-20, which includes two Ten Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, we recommend using one interface for the cluster control link, and the other for data (you can use subinterfaces for data). Although this setup does not accommodate redundancy for the cluster control link, it does satisfy the need to size the cluster control link to match the size of the data interfaces. See the "Sizing the Cluster Control Link" section for more information.

ASA 5580

Switch Guidelines

On the switch(es) for the cluster control link interfaces, you can optionally enable Spanning Tree PortFast on the switch ports connected to the ASA to speed up the join process for new units.

When you see slow bundling of a Spanned EtherChannel on the switch, you can enable LACP rate fast for an Individual interface on the switch.

On the switch, we recommend that you use one of the following EtherChannel load-balancing algorithms: source-dest-ip or source-dest-ip-port (see the Nexus OS and IOS port-channel load-balance command). Do not use a vlan keyword in the load-balance algorithm because it can cause unevenly distributed traffic to the ASAs in a cluster. Do not change the load-balancing algorithm from the default on the ASA (in the port-channel load-balance command).

If you change the load-balancing algorithm of the EtherChannel on the switch, the EtherChannel interface on the switch temporarily stops forwarding traffic, and the Spanning Tree Protocol restarts. There will be a delay before traffic starts flowing again.

EtherChannel Guidelines

For detailed EtherChannel guidelines, limitations, and prerequisites, see the "Configuring an EtherChannel" section.

See also the "EtherChannel Guidelines" section.

Spanned vs. Device-Local EtherChannel Configuration—Be sure to configure the switch appropriately for Spanned EtherChannels vs. Device-local EtherChannels.

Spanned EtherChannels—For ASA Spanned EtherChannels, which span across all members of the cluster, the interfaces are combined into a single EtherChannel on the switch. Make sure each interface is in the same channel group on the switch.

Device-local EtherChannels—For ASA Device-local EtherChannels including any EtherChannels configured for the cluster control link, be sure to configure discrete EtherChannels on the switch; do not combine multiple ASA EtherChannels into one EtherChannel on the switch.

Additional Guidelines

See the "ASA Hardware and Software Requirements" section.

For unsupported features with clustering, see the "Unsupported Features" section.

When significant topology changes occur (such as adding or removing an EtherChannel interface, enabling or disabling an interface on the ASA or the switch, adding an additional switch to form a VSS or vPC) you should disable the health check feature. When the topology change is complete, and the configuration change is synced to all units, you can re-enable the health check feature.

When adding a unit to an existing cluster, or when reloading a unit, there will be a temporary, limited packet/connection drop; this is expected behavior. In some cases, the dropped packets can hang your connection; for example, dropping a FIN/ACK packet for an FTP connection will make the FTP client hang. In this case, you need to reestablish the FTP connection.

If you use a Windows 2003 server connected to a Spanned EtherChannel, when the syslog server port is down and the server does not throttle ICMP error messages, then large numbers of ICMP messages are sent back to the ASA cluster. These messages can result in some units of the ASA cluster experiencing high CPU, which can affect performance. We recommend that you throttle ICMP error messages.

Default Settings

When using Spanned EtherChannels, the cLACP system ID is auto-generated and the system priority is 1 by default.

The cluster health check feature is enabled by default with the holdtime of 3 seconds.

Connection rebalancing is disabled by default. If you enable connection rebalancing, the default time between load information exchanges is 5 seconds.

Configuring ASA Clustering


Note To enable or disable clustering, you must use a console connection (for CLI) or an ASDM connection.


Task Flow for ASA Cluster Configuration

Cabling the Cluster Units and Configuring Upstream and Downstream Equipment

Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit

Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit

Configuring the Master Unit Bootstrap Settings

Configuring Slave Unit Bootstrap Settings

Task Flow for ASA Cluster Configuration

To configure clustering, perform the following steps:


Step 1 Complete all pre-configuration on the switches and ASAs according to the "Prerequisites for ASA Clustering" section.

Step 2 Cable your equipment. Before configuring clustering, cable the cluster control link network, management network, and data networks. See the "Cabling the Cluster Units and Configuring Upstream and Downstream Equipment" section.

Step 3 Configure the interface mode. You can only configure one type of interface for clustering: Spanned EtherChannels or Individual interfaces. See the "Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit" section.

Step 4 Configure interfaces for clustering on the master unit. You cannot enable clustering if the interfaces are not cluster-ready. See the "Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit" section.

Step 5 Configure the bootstrap settings and enable clustering on the master unit. See the "Configuring the Master Unit Bootstrap Settings" section.

Step 6 Configure the bootstrap settings for each slave unit. See the "Configuring Slave Unit Bootstrap Settings" section.

Step 7 Configure the security policy on the master unit. See the chapters in this guide to configure supported features on the master unit. The configuration is replicated to the slave units. For a list of supported and unsupported features, see the "ASA Features and Clustering" section.


Cabling the Cluster Units and Configuring Upstream and Downstream Equipment

Before configuring clustering, cable the cluster control link network, management network, and data networks.


Note At a minimum, an active cluster control link network is required before you configure the units to join the cluster.


You should also configure the upstream and downstream equipment. For example, if you use EtherChannels, then you should configure the upstream and downstream equipment for the EtherChannels.

Examples


Note This example uses EtherChannels for load-balancing. If you are using PBR or ECMP, your switch configuration will differ.


For example on each of 4 ASA 5585-Xs, you want to use:

2 Ten Gigabit Ethernet interfaces in a device-local EtherChannel for the cluster control link.

2 Ten Gigabit Ethernet interfaces in a Spanned EtherChannel for the inside and outside network; each interface is a VLAN subinterface of the EtherChannel. Using subinterfaces lets both inside and outside interfaces take advantage of the benefits of an EtherChannel.

1 Management interface.

You have one switch for both the inside and outside networks.

Purpose
Connect Interfaces on each of 4 ASAs
To Switch Ports

Cluster control link

TenGigabitEthernet 0/6 and TenGigabitEthernet 0/7

8 ports total

For each TenGigabitEthernet 0/6 and TenGigabitEthernet 0/7 pair, configure 4 EtherChannels (1 EC for each ASA).

These EtherChannels must all be on the same isolated cluster control VLAN, for example VLAN 101.

Inside and outside interfaces

TenGigabitEthernet 0/8 and TenGigabitEthernet 0/9

8 ports total

Configure a single EtherChannel (across all ASAs).

On the switch, configure these VLANs and networks now; for example, a trunk including VLAN 200 for the inside and VLAN 201 for the outside.

Management interface

Management 0/0

4 ports total

Place all interfaces on the same isolated management VLAN, for example VLAN 100.


What to Do Next

Configure the cluster interface mode on each unit. See the "Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit" section.

Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit

You can only configure one type of interface for clustering: Spanned EtherChannels or Individual interfaces; you cannot mix interface types in a cluster. For exceptions for the management interface and other guidelines, see the "Interface Type Mode" section.

Prerequisites

You must set the mode separately on each ASA that you want to add to the cluster.

Transparent firewall mode supports only Spanned EtherChannel mode.

For multiple context mode, configure this setting in the system execution space; you cannot configure the mode per context.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

cluster interface-mode {individual | spanned} check-details

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster interface-mode spanned check-details

The check-details command shows any incompatible configuration so you can force the interface mode and fix your configuration later; the mode is not changed with this command.

Step 2 

cluster interface-mode {individual | spanned} force

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster interface-mode spanned force

Sets the interface mode for clustering. There is no default setting; you must explicitly choose the mode. If you have not set the mode, you cannot enable clustering.

The force option changes the mode without checking your configuration for incompatible settings. You need to manually fix any configuration issues after you change the mode. Because any interface configuration can only be fixed after you set the mode, we recommend using the force option so you can at least start from the existing configuration. You can re-run the check-details option after you set the mode for more guidance.

Without the force option, if there is any incompatible configuration, you are prompted to clear your configuration and reload, thus requiring you to connect to the console port to reconfigure your management access. If your configuration is compatible (rare), the mode is changed and the configuration is preserved. If you do not want to clear your configuration, you can exit the command by typing n.

To remove the interface mode, enter the no cluster interface-mode command.

What to Do Next

Configure interfaces. See the "(Recommended; Required in Multiple Context Mode) Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit" section on page 10-33.

Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit

You must modify any interface that is currently configured with an IP address to be cluster-ready before you enable clustering. For other interfaces, you can configure them before or after you enable clustering; we recommend pre-configuring all of your interfaces so that the complete configuration is synced to new cluster members.

This section describes how to configure interfaces to be compatible with clustering. You can configure data interfaces as either Spanned EtherChannels or as Individual interfaces. Each method uses a different load-balancing mechanism. You cannot configure both types in the same configuration, with the exception of the management interface, which can be an Individual interface even in Spanned EtherChannel mode. For more information, see the "ASA Cluster Interfaces" section.

Configuring Individual Interfaces (Recommended for the Management Interface)

Configuring Spanned EtherChannels

Configuring Individual Interfaces (Recommended for the Management Interface)

Individual interfaces are normal routed interfaces, each with their own IP address taken from a pool of IP addresses. The Main cluster IP address is a fixed address for the cluster that always belongs to the current master unit.

In Spanned EtherChannel mode, we recommend configuring the management interface as an Individual interface. Individual management interfaces let you connect directly to each unit if necessary, while a Spanned EtherChannel interface only allows connection to the current master unit. See the "Management Interface" section for more information.

Prerequisites

Except for the management-only interface, you must be in Individual interface mode; see the "Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit" section.

For multiple context mode, perform this procedure in each context. If you are not already in the context configuration mode, enter the changeto context name command.

Individual interfaces require you to configure load balancing on neighbor devices. External load balancing is not required for the management interface. For information about load balancing, see the "Load Balancing Methods" section.

(Optional) Configure the interface as a device-local EtherChannel interface, a redundant interface, and/or configure subinterfaces.

For an EtherChannel, see the "Configuring an EtherChannel" section. This EtherChannel is local to the unit, and is not a Spanned EtherChannel.

For a redundant interface, see the "Configuring a Redundant Interface" section. Management-only interfaces cannot be redundant interfaces.

For subinterfaces, see the "Configuring VLAN Subinterfaces and 802.1Q Trunking" section.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

(IPv4)

ip local pool poolname first-addresslast-address [mask mask]

(IPv6)

ipv6 local pool poolname ipv6-address/prefix-length number_of_addresses

Example:

hostname(config)# ip local pool ins 192.168.1.2-192.168.1.9

hostname(config-if)# ipv6 local pool insipv6 2001:DB8::1002/32 8

Configures a pool of Local IP addresses (IPv4 and/or IPv6), one of which will be assigned to each cluster unit for the interface. Include at least as many addresses as there are units in the cluster. If you plan to expand the cluster, include additional addresses. The Main cluster IP address that belongs to the current master unit is not a part of this pool; be sure to reserve an IP address on the same network for the Main cluster IP address.

You cannot determine the exact Local address assigned to each unit in advance; to see the address used on each unit, enter the show ip[v6] local pool poolname command. Each cluster member is assigned a member ID when it joins the cluster. The ID determines the Local IP used from the pool.

Step 2 

interface interface_id

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

Enters interface configuration mode.

Step 3 

(Management interface only)

management-only

Example:

hostname(config-if)# management-only

Sets an interface to management-only mode so that it does not pass through traffic.

By default, Management type interfaces are configured as management-only. In transparent mode, this command is always enabled for a Management type interface.

This setting is required if the cluster interface mode is Spanned.

Step 4 

nameif name

Example:

hostname(config-if)# nameif inside

Names the interface.

The name is a text string up to 48 characters, and is not case-sensitive. You can change the name by reentering this command with a new value.

Step 5 

(IPv4)

ip address ip_address [mask] cluster-pool poolname

(IPv6)

ipv6 address ipv6-address/prefix-length cluster-pool poolname

Example:

hostname(config-if)# ip address 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool ins

hostname(config-if)# ipv6 address 2001:DB8::1002/32 cluster-pool insipv6

Sets the Main cluster IP address and identifies the cluster pool. This IP address must be on the same network as the cluster pool addresses, but not be part of the pool. You can configure an IPv4 and/or an IPv6 address.

DHCP, PPPoE, and IPv6 autoconfiguration are not supported; you must manually configure the IP addresses.

Step 6 

security-level number

Example:

hostname(config-if)# security-level 100

Sets the security level, where number is an integer between 0 (lowest) and 100 (highest). See the "Security Levels" section.

Step 7 

no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Enables the interface.

Examples

The following example configures the Management 0/0 and Management 0/1 interfaces as a device-local EtherChannel, and then configures the EtherChannel as an Individual interface:

ip local pool mgmt 10.1.1.2-10.1.1.9

ipv6 local pool mgmtipv6 2001:DB8:45:1002/64 8

interface management 0/0

channel-group 1 mode active
no shutdown

interface management 0/1

channel-group 1 mode active
no shutdown

interface port-channel 1

nameif management
ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool mgmt
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:45:1001/64 cluster-pool mgmtipv6
security-level 100
management-only
 
   

What to Do Next

For spanned interface mode, configure your data interfaces. See the "Configuring Spanned EtherChannels" section.

For Individual interface mode, join the cluster. See the "Adding or Joining an ASA Cluster" section on page 10-45.

Configuring Spanned EtherChannels

A Spanned EtherChannel spans all ASAs in the cluster, and provides load balancing as part of the EtherChannel operation.

Prerequisites

You must be in Spanned EtherChannel interface mode; see the "Configuring the Cluster Interface Mode on Each Unit" section.

For multiple context mode, start this procedure in the system execution space. If you are not already in the System configuration mode, enter the changeto system command.

For transparent mode, configure the bridge group according to the "Configuring Bridge Groups" section.

Guidelines

Do not specify the maximum and minimum links in the EtherChannel—We recommend that you do not specify the maximum and minimum links in the EtherChannel (The lacp max-bundle and port-channel min-bundle commands) on either the ASA or the switch. If you need to use them, note the following:

The maximum links set on the ASA is the total number of active ports for the whole cluster. Be sure the maximum links value configured on the switch is not larger than the ASA value.

The minimum links set on the ASA is the minimum active ports to bring up a port-channel interface per unit. On the switch, the minimum links is the minimum links across the cluster, so this value will not match the ASA value.

Do not change the load-balancing algorithm from the default (see the port-channel load-balance command). On the switch, we recommend that you use one of the following algorithms: source-dest-ip or source-dest-ip-port (see the Nexus OS and IOS port-channel load-balance command). Do not use a vlan keyword in the load-balance algorithm because it can cause unevenly distributed traffic to the ASAs in a cluster.

The lacp port-priority and lacp system-priority commands are not used for a Spanned EtherChannel.

When using Spanned EtherChannels, the port-channel interface will not come up until clustering is fully enabled (see the "Adding or Joining an ASA Cluster" section on page 10-45). This requirement prevents traffic from being forwarded to a unit that is not an active unit in the cluster.

For detailed EtherChannel guidelines, limitations, and prerequisites, see the "Configuring an EtherChannel" section.

See also the "EtherChannel Guidelines" section.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

interface physical_interface

Example:

hostname(config)# interface gigabitethernet 0/0

Specifies the interface you want to add to the channel group, where the physical_interface ID includes the type, slot, and port number as type slot/port. This first interface in the channel group determines the type and speed for all other interfaces in the group.

Step 2 

channel-group channel_id mode active [vss-id {1 | 2}]

Example:

hostname(config-if)# channel-group 1 mode active

Assigns this interface to an EtherChannel with the channel_id between 1 and 48. If the port-channel interface for this channel ID does not yet exist in the configuration, one will be added automatically:

interface port-channel channel_id

Only active mode is supported for Spanned EtherChannels.

If you are connecting the ASA to two switches in a VSS or vPC, then configure the vss-id keyword to identify to which switch this interface is connected (1 or 2). You must also use the port-channel span-cluster vss-load-balance command for the port-channel interface in Step 6. See also the "Connecting to a VSS or vPC" section for more information.

Step 3 

no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Enables the interface.

Step 4 

(Optional) Add additional interfaces to the EtherChannel by repeating Step 1 through Step 3.

Example:

hostname(config)# interface gigabitethernet 0/1

hostname(config-if)# channel-group 1 mode active

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Multiple interfaces in the EtherChannel per unit are useful for connecting to switches in a VSS or vPC. Keep in mind that an EtherChannel, can have only 8 active interfaces out of 16 maximum; the remaining 8 interfaces are on standby in case of link failure. For example, for a cluster of 8 ASAs, you can use a maximum of 2 interfaces on each ASA, for a total of 16 interfaces in the EtherChannel.

Step 5 

interface port-channel channel_id

Example:

hostname(config)# interface port-channel 1

Specifies the port-channel interface. This interface was created automatically when you added an interface to the channel group.

Step 6 

port-channel span-cluster [vss-load-balance]

Example:

hostname(config-if)# port-channel span-cluster

Sets this EtherChannel as a Spanned EtherChannel.

If you are connecting the ASA to two switches in a VSS or vPC, then you should enable VSS load balancing by using the vss-load-balance keyword. This feature ensures that the physical link connections between the ASAs to the VSS (or vPC) pair are balanced. You must configure the vss-id keyword in the channel-group command for each member interface before enabling load balancing (see Step 2).

Step 7 

(Optional)

You can set the Ethernet properties for the port-channel interface to override the properties set on the Individual interfaces.

This method provides a shortcut to set these parameters because these parameters must match for all interfaces in the channel group. See the "Enabling the Physical Interface and Configuring Ethernet Parameters" section for Ethernet commands.

Step 8 

(Optional)

If you are creating VLAN subinterfaces on this EtherChannel, do so now. The rest of this procedure applies to the subinterfaces.

Example:

hostname(config)# interface port-channel 1.10

hostname(config-if)# vlan 10

See the "Configuring VLAN Subinterfaces and 802.1Q Trunking" section.

Step 9 

(Multiple Context Mode)

Allocate the interface to a context. See the "Configuring a Security Context" section.

Then enter:

changeto context name

interface port-channel channel_id

Example:

hostname(config)# context admin

hostname(config)# allocate-interface port-channel1

hostname(config)# changeto context admin

hostname(config-if)# interface port-channel 1

For multiple context mode, the rest of the interface configuration occurs within each context.

Step 10 

nameif name

Example:

hostname(config-if)# nameif inside

Names the interface.

The name is a text string up to 48 characters, and is not case-sensitive. You can change the name by reentering this command with a new value.

Step 11 

Perform one of the following, depending on the firewall mode:

 

Routed Mode:

(IPv4)

ip address ip_address [mask]

(IPv6)

ipv6 address ipv6-prefix/prefix-length

Example:

hostname(config-if)# ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0

hostname(config-if)# ipv6 address 2001:DB8::1001/32

Sets the IPv4 and/or IPv6 address. DHCP, PPPoE, and IPv6 autoconfig are not supported.

 

Transparent Mode:

bridge-group number

Example:

hostname(config-if)# bridge-group 1

Assigns the interface to a bridge group, where number is an integer between 1 and 100. You can assign up to four interfaces to a bridge group. You cannot assign the same interface to more than one bridge group. Note that the BVI configuration includes the IP address.

Step 12 

security-level number

Example:

hostname(config-if)# security-level 50

Sets the security level, where number is an integer between 0 (lowest) and 100 (highest). See the "Security Levels" section.

Step 13 

mac-address mac_address

Example:

hostname(config-if)# mac-address 000C.F142.4CDE

You must configure a MAC address for a Spanned EtherChannel so that the MAC address does not change when the current master unit leaves the cluster; with a manually-configured MAC address, the MAC address stays with the current master unit.

In multiple context mode, if you share an interface between contexts, auto-generation of MAC addresses is enabled by default, so you only need to set the MAC address manually for a shared interface if you disable auto-generation. Note that you must manually configure the MAC address for non-shared interfaces.

The mac_address is in H.H.H format, where H is a 16-bit hexadecimal digit. For example, the MAC address 00-0C-F1-42-4C-DE is entered as 000C.F142.4CDE.

The first two bytes of a manual MAC address cannot be A2 if you also want to use auto-generated MAC addresses.

What to Do Next

Configure the master unit bootstrap settings. See the "Configuring the Master Unit Bootstrap Settings" section.

Configuring the Master Unit Bootstrap Settings

Each unit in the cluster requires a bootstrap configuration to join the cluster. Typically, the first unit you configure to join the cluster will be the master unit. After you enable clustering, after an election period, the cluster elects a master unit. With only one unit in the cluster initially, that unit will become the master unit. Subsequent units that you add to the cluster will be slave units.

Prerequisites

Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface

Configuring Basic Bootstrap Settings and Enabling Clustering

Configuring Advanced Clustering Settings

Examples

Prerequisites

You must use the console port to enable or disable clustering. You cannot use Telnet or SSH.

Back up your configurations in case you later want to leave the cluster, and need to restore your configuration.

For multiple context mode, complete these procedures in the system execution space. To change from the context to the system execution space, enter the changeto system command.

We recommend enabling jumbo frame reservation for use with the cluster control link. See the "Enabling Jumbo Frame Support (Supported Models)" section.

With the exception of the cluster control link, any interfaces in your configuration must be configured with a cluster IP pool or as a Spanned EtherChannel before you enable clustering, depending on your interface mode. If you have pre-existing interface configuration, you can either clear the interface configuration (clear configure interface), or convert your interfaces to cluster interfaces according to the "(Recommended; Required in Multiple Context Mode) Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit" section on page 10-34 before you enable clustering.

When you add a unit to a running cluster, you may see temporary, limited packet/connection drops; this is expected behavior.

Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface

You need to enable the cluster control link interface before you join the cluster. You will later identify this interface as the cluster control link when you enable clustering.

We recommend that you combine multiple cluster control link interfaces into an EtherChannel if you have enough interfaces. The EtherChannel is local to the ASA, and is not a Spanned EtherChannel.

The cluster control link interface configuration is not replicated from the master unit to slave units; however, you must use the same configuration on each unit. Because this configuration is not replicated, you must configure the cluster control link interfaces separately on each unit.

Prerequisites

Determine the size of the cluster control link by referring to the "Sizing the Cluster Control Link" section.

Restrictions

You cannot use a VLAN subinterface as the cluster control link.

You cannot use a Management x/x interface as the cluster control link, either alone or as an EtherChannel.

For the ASA 5585-X with an ASA IPS or ASA CX module, you cannot use the module interfaces for the cluster control link.

Detailed Steps—Single Interface

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

interface interface_id

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

Enters interface configuration mode.

Step 2 

no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Enables the interface. You only need to enable the interface; do not configure a name for the interface, or any other parameters.

Detailed Steps—EtherChannel Interface

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

interface interface_id

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

Enters interface configuration mode.

Step 2 

channel-group channel_id mode on

Example:

hostname(config-if)# channel-group 1 mode on

Assigns this physical interface to an EtherChannel with the channel_id between 1 and 48. If the port-channel interface for this channel ID does not yet exist in the configuration, one will be added automatically:

interface port-channel channel_id

We recommend using the On mode for cluster control link member interfaces to reduce unnecessary traffic on the cluster control link. The cluster control link does not need the overhead of LACP traffic because it is an isolated, stable network. Note: We recommend setting data EtherChannels to Active mode.

Step 3 

no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Enables the interface.

Step 4 

interface interface_id

  channel-group channel_id mode on

  no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

hostname(config-if)# channel-group 1 mode on

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Repeat for each additional interface you want to add to the EtherChannel.

What to Do Next

Configure the master unit bootstrap settings. See the Configuring Basic Bootstrap Settings and Enabling Clustering.

Configuring Basic Bootstrap Settings and Enabling Clustering

Perform the following steps to configure basic bootstrap settings and to enable clustering.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

(Optional)

mtu cluster bytes

Example:

hostname(config)# mtu cluster 9000

Specifies the maximum transmission unit for the cluster control link interface, between 64 and 65,535 bytes. The default MTU is 1500 bytes.

Note We suggest setting the MTU to 1600 bytes or greater, which requires you to enable jumbo frame reservation before continuing with this procedure. See the "Enabling Jumbo Frame Support (Supported Models)" section. Jumbo frame reservation requires a reload of the ASA.

This command is a global configuration command, but is also part of the bootstrap configuration that is not replicated between units.

Step 2 

cluster group name

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster group pod1

Names the cluster and enters cluster configuration mode. The name must be an ASCII string from 1 to 38 characters. You can only configure one cluster group per unit. All members of the cluster must use the same name.

Step 3 

local-unit unit_name

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# local-unit unit1

Names this member of the cluster with a unique ASCII string from 1 to 38 characters. Each unit must have a unique name. A unit with a duplicated name will be not be allowed in the cluster.

Step 4 

cluster-interface interface_id ip ip_address mask

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# cluster-interface port-channel2 ip 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0

INFO: Non-cluster interface config is cleared on Port-Channel2

Specifies the cluster control link interface, preferably an EtherChannel. Subinterfaces and Management interfaces are not allowed. See the "Configuring Interfaces on the Master Unit" section

Specify an IPv4 address for the IP address; IPv6 is not supported for this interface. This interface cannot have a nameif configured.

For each unit, specify a different IP address on the same network.

Step 5 

priority priority_number

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# priority 1

Sets the priority of this unit for master unit elections, between 1 and 100, where 1 is the highest priority. See the "Master Unit Election" section for more information.

Step 6 

(Optional)

key shared_secret

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# key chuntheunavoidable

Sets an authentication key for control traffic on the cluster control link. The shared secret is an ASCII string from 1 to 63 characters. The shared secret is used to generate the key. This command does not affect datapath traffic, including connection state update and forwarded packets, which are always sent in the clear.

Step 7 

(Optional)

clacp system-mac {mac_address | auto} [system-priority number]

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# clacp system-mac 000a.0000.aaaa

When using Spanned EtherChannels, the ASA uses cLACP to negotiate the EtherChannel with the neighbor switch. ASAs in a cluster collaborate in cLACP negotiation so that they appear as a single (virtual) device to the switch. One parameter in cLACP negotiation is a system ID, which is in the format of a MAC address. All ASAs in the cluster use the same system ID: auto-generated by the master unit (the default) and replicated to all slaves; or manually specified in this command in the form H.H.H, where H is a 16-bit hexadecimal digit. (For example, the MAC address 00-0A-00-00-AA-AA is entered as 000A.0000.AAAA.) You might want to manually configure the MAC address for troubleshooting purposes, for example, so you can use an easily identified MAC address. Typically, you would use the auto-generated MAC address.

The system priority, between 1 and 65535, is used to decide which unit is in charge of making a bundling decision. By default, the ASA uses priority 1, which is the highest priority. The priority needs to be higher than the priority on the switch.

This command is not part of the bootstrap configuration, and is replicated from the master unit to the slave units. However, you cannot change this value after you enable clustering.

Step 8 

enable [noconfirm]

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# enable

INFO: Clustering is not compatible with following commands:

policy-map global_policy

class inspection_default

inspect skinny

policy-map global_policy

class inspection_default

inspect sip

Would you like to remove these commands? [Y]es/[N]o:Y

INFO: Removing incompatible commands from running configuration...

Cryptochecksum (changed): f16b7fc2 a742727e e40bc0b0 cd169999

INFO: Done

Enables clustering. When you enter the enable command, the ASA scans the running configuration for incompatible commands for features that are not supported with clustering, including commands that may be present in the default configuration. You are prompted to delete the incompatible commands. If you respond No, then clustering is not enabled. Use the noconfirm keyword to bypass the confirmation and delete incompatible commands automatically.

For the first unit enabled, a master unit election occurs. Because the first unit should be the only member of the cluster so far, it will become the master unit. Do not perform any configuration changes during this period.

To disable clustering, enter the no enable command.

Note If you disable clustering, all data interfaces are shut down, and only the management-only interface is active. If you want to remove the unit from the cluster entirely (and thus want to have active data interfaces), see the "Leaving the Cluster" section.

What to Do Next

Configure advanced settings. See the "Configuring Advanced Clustering Settings" section.

Add slave units. See the "Configuring Slave Unit Bootstrap Settings" section.

Configuring Advanced Clustering Settings

Perform the following steps to customize your clustering configuration.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

health-check [holdtime timeout]

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# health-check holdtime 5

Customizes the cluster health check feature, which includes unit health monitoring and interface health monitoring. The holdime determines the amount of time between keepalive or interface status messages, between .8 and 45 seconds. The default is 3 seconds.

To determine unit health, the ASA cluster units send keepalive messages on the cluster control link to other units. If a unit does not receive any keepalive messages from a peer unit within the holdtime period, the peer unit is considered unresponsive or dead.

Interface status messages detect link failure. If an interface fails on a particular unit, but the same interface is active on other units, then the unit is removed from the cluster. If a unit does not receive interface status messages within the holdtime, then the amount of time before the ASA removes a member from the cluster depends on the type of interface and whether the unit is an established member or is joining the cluster. For EtherChannels (spanned or not), if the interface is down on an established member, then the ASA removes the member after 9 seconds. If the unit is joining the cluster as a new member, the ASA waits 45 seconds before rejecting the new unit. For non-EtherChannels, the unit is removed after 500 ms, regardless of the member state.

Health check is enabled by default. You can disable it using the no form of this command.

Note When any topology changes occur (such as adding or removing a data interface, enabling or disabling an interface on the ASA or the switch, or adding an additional switch to form a VSS or vPC) you should disable the health check feature. When the topology change is complete, and the configuration change is synced to all units, you can re-enable the health check feature.

Step 2 

conn-rebalance [frequency seconds]

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# conn-rebalance frequency 60

Enables connection rebalancing for TCP traffic. This command is disabled by default. If enabled, ASAs exchange load information periodically, and offload new connections from more loaded devices to less loaded devices. The frequency, between 1 and 360 seconds, specifies how often the load information is exchanged. The default is 5 seconds.

Step 3 

console-replicate

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# console-replicate

Enables console replication from slave units to the master unit. This feature is disabled by default. The ASA prints out some messages directly to the console for certain critical events. If you enable console replication, slave units send the console messages to the master unit so you only need to monitor one console port for the cluster.

What to Do Next

Add slave units. See the "Configuring Slave Unit Bootstrap Settings" section.

Examples

The following example configures a management interface, configures a device-local EtherChannel for the cluster control link, and then enables clustering for the ASA called "unit1," which will become the master unit because it is added to the cluster first:

ip local pool mgmt 10.1.1.2-10.1.1.9

ipv6 local pool mgmtipv6 2001:DB8::1002/32 8

interface management 0/0

nameif management
ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool mgmt
ipv6 address 2001:DB8::1001/32 cluster-pool mgmtipv6
security-level 100
management-only
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

cluster group pod1

local-unit unit1
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
priority 1
key chuntheunavoidable
enable noconfirm
 
   

Configuring Slave Unit Bootstrap Settings

Perform the following procedures to configure the slave units.

Prerequisites

Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface

Configuring Bootstrap Settings and Joining the Cluster

Examples

Prerequisites

You must use the console port to enable or disable clustering. You cannot use Telnet or SSH.

Back up your configurations in case you later want to leave the cluster, and need to restore your configuration.

For multiple context mode, complete this procedure in the system execution space. To change from the context to the system execution space, enter the changeto system command.

We recommend enabling jumbo frame reservation for use with the cluster control link. See the "Enabling Jumbo Frame Support (Supported Models)" section.

If you have any interfaces in your configuration that have not been configured for clustering (for example, the default configuration Management 0/0 interface), you can join the cluster as a slave unit (with no possibility of becoming the master in a current election).

When you add a unit to a running cluster, you may see temporary, limited packet/connection drops; this is expected behavior.

Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface

Configure the same cluster control link interface as you configured for the master unit. See the "Enabling the Cluster Control Link Interface" section.

Detailed Steps—Single Interface

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

interface interface_id

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

Enters interface configuration mode.

Step 2 

no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Enables the interface. You only need to enable the interface; do not configure a name for the interface, or any other parameters.

Detailed Steps—EtherChannel Interface

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

interface interface_id

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

Enters interface configuration mode.

Step 2 

channel-group channel_id mode on

Example:

hostname(config-if)# channel-group 1 mode on

Assigns this physical interface to an EtherChannel with the channel_id between 1 and 48. If the port-channel interface for this channel ID does not yet exist in the configuration, one will be added automatically:

interface port-channel channel_id

We recommend using the On mode for cluster control link member interfaces to reduce unnecessary traffic on the cluster control link. The cluster control link does not need the overhead of LACP traffic because it is an isolated, stable network. Note: We recommend setting data EtherChannels to Active mode.

Step 3 

no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Enables the interface.

Step 4 

interface interface_id

  channel-group channel_id mode on

  no shutdown

Example:

hostname(config)# interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

hostname(config-if)# channel-group 1 mode on

hostname(config-if)# no shutdown

Repeat for each additional interface you want to add to the EtherChannel.

What to Do Next

Configure the slave unit bootstrap settings. See the Configuring Bootstrap Settings and Joining the Cluster.

Configuring Bootstrap Settings and Joining the Cluster

Perform the following steps to configure bootstrap settings and join the cluster as a slave unit.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

(Optional)

mtu cluster bytes

Example:

hostname(config)# mtu cluster 9000

Specifies the same MTU that you configured for the master unit.

Note We suggest setting the MTU to 1600 bytes or greater, which requires you to enable jumbo frame reservation before continuing with this procedure. See the "Enabling Jumbo Frame Support (Supported Models)" section. Jumbo frame reservation requires a reload of the ASA.

Step 2 

cluster group name

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster group pod1

Identifies the same cluster name that you configured for the master unit.

Step 3 

local-unit unit_name

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# local-unit unit1

Names this member of the cluster with a unique ASCII string from 1 to 38 characters. Each unit must have a unique name. A unit with a duplicated name will be not be allowed in the cluster.

Step 4 

cluster-interface interface_id ip ip_address mask

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# cluster-interface port-channel2 ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0

INFO: Non-cluster interface config is cleared on Port-Channel2

Specifies the same cluster control link interface that you configured for the master unit.

Specify an IPv4 address for the IP address; IPv6 is not supported for this interface. This interface cannot have a nameif configured.

For each unit, specify a different IP address on the same network.

Step 5 

priority priority_number

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# priority 2

Sets the priority of this unit for master unit elections, between 1 and 100, where 1 is the highest priority. See the "Master Unit Election" section for more information.

Step 6 

(Optional)

key shared_secret

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# key chuntheunavoidable

Sets the same authentication key that you set for the master unit.

Step 7 

enable as-slave

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# enable as-slave

Enables clustering. You can avoid any configuration incompatibilities (primarily the existence of any interfaces not yet configured for clustering) by using the enable as-slave command. This command ensures the slave joins the cluster with no possibility of becoming the master in any current election. Its configuration is overwritten with the one synced from the master unit.

To disable clustering, enter the no enable command.

Note If you disable clustering, all data interfaces are shut down, and only the management interface is active. If you want to remove the unit from the cluster entirely (and thus want to have active data interfaces), see the "Leaving the Cluster" section.

What to Do Next

Configure the security policy on the master unit. See the chapters in this guide to configure supported features on the master unit. The configuration is replicated to the slave units. For a list of supported and unsupported features, see the "ASA Features and Clustering" section.

Examples

The following example includes the configuration for a slave unit, unit2:

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

cluster group pod1

local-unit unit2
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0
priority 2
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave

Managing ASA Cluster Members

Becoming an Inactive Member

Inactivating a Member

Leaving the Cluster

Changing the Master Unit

Executing a Command Cluster-Wide

Becoming an Inactive Member

To become an inactive member of the cluster, disable clustering on the unit while leaving the clustering configuration intact.


Note When an ASA becomes inactive (either manually or through a health check failure), all data interfaces are shut down; only the management-only interface can send and receive traffic. To resume traffic flow, re-enable clustering; or you can remove the unit altogether from the cluster. See the "Leaving the Cluster" section. The management interface remains up using the IP address the unit received from the cluster IP pool. However if you reload, and the unit is still inactive in the cluster, the management interface is not accessible (because it then uses the Main IP address, which is the same as the master unit). You must use the console port for any further configuration.


Prerequisites

You must use the console port; you cannot enable or disable clustering from a remote CLI connection.

For multiple context mode, perform this procedure in the system execution space. If you are not already in the System configuration mode, enter the changeto system command.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

cluster group name

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster group pod1

Enters cluster configuration mode.

Step 2 

no enable

Example:

hostname(cfg-cluster)# no enable

Disables clustering. If this unit was the master unit, a new master election takes place, and a different member becomes the master unit.

The cluster configuration is maintained, so you can enable clustering again later.

Inactivating a Member

To inactivate a member from any unit, perform the following steps.


Note When an ASA becomes inactive, all data interfaces are shut down; only the management-only interface can send and receive traffic. To resume traffic flow, re-enable clustering; or you can remove the unit altogether from the cluster. See the "Leaving the Cluster" section. The management interface remains up using the IP address the unit received from the cluster IP pool. However if you reload, and the unit is still inactive in the cluster, the management interface is not accessible (because it then uses the Main IP address, which is the same as the master unit). You must use the console port for any further configuration.


Prerequisites

For multiple context mode, perform this procedure in the system execution space. If you are not already in the System configuration mode, enter the changeto system command.

Detailed Steps

Command
Purpose

cluster remove unit unit_name

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster remove unit ?

Current active units in the cluster:

asa2

hostname(config)# cluster remove unit asa2

WARNING: Clustering will be disabled on unit asa2. To bring it back

to the cluster please logon to that unit and re-enable clustering

Removes the unit from the cluster. The bootstrap configuration remains intact, as well as the last configuration synced from the master unit, so you can later re-add the unit without losing your configuration. If you enter this command on a slave unit to remove the master unit, a new master unit is elected.

To view member names, enter cluster remove unit ?, or enter the show cluster info command.


Leaving the Cluster

If you want to leave the cluster altogether, you need to remove the entire cluster bootstrap configuration. Because the current configuration on each member is the same (synced from the master unit), leaving the cluster also means either restoring a pre-clustering configuration from backup, or clearing your configuration and starting over to avoid IP address conflicts.

Prerequisites

You must use the console port; when you remove the cluster configuration, all interfaces are shut down, including the management interface and cluster control link. Moreover, you cannot enable or disable clustering from a remote CLI connection.

Detailed Steps

 
Command
Purpose

Step 1 

For a slave unit:

cluster group cluster_name

no enable
Example:

hostname(config)# cluster group cluster1

hostname(cfg-cluster)# no enable

Disables clustering. You cannot make configuration changes while clustering is enabled on a slave unit.

Step 2 

clear configure cluster

Example:

hostname(config)# clear configure cluster

Clears the cluster configuration. The ASA shuts down all interfaces including the management interface and cluster control link.

Step 3 

no cluster interface-mode

Example:

hostname(config)# no cluster interface-mode

Disables cluster interface mode. The mode is not stored in the configuration and must be reset manually.

Step 4 

If you have a backup configuration:

copy backup_cfg running-config

Example:

hostname(config)# copy backup_cluster.cfg running-config

Source filename [backup_cluster.cfg]?

Destination filename [running-config]?

hostname(config)#

Copies the backup configuration to the running configuration.

Step 5 

write memory

Example:

hostname(config)# write memory

Saves the configuration to startup.

Step 6 

If you do not have a backup configuration, reconfigure management access according to Chapter 2 "Getting Started." Be sure to change the interface IP addresses, and restore the correct hostname, for example.

Changing the Master Unit


Caution The best method to change the master unit is to disable clustering on the master unit (see the "Becoming an Inactive Member" section), waiting for a new master election, and then re-enabling clustering. If you must specify the exact unit you want to become the master, use the procedure in this section. Note, however, that for centralized features, if you force a master unit change using this procedure, then all connections are dropped, and you have to re-establish the connections on the new master unit. See the "Centralized Features" section for a list of centralized features.

To change the master unit, perform the following steps.

Prerequisites

For multiple context mode, perform this procedure in the system execution space. If you are not already in the System configuration mode, enter the changeto system command.

Detailed Steps

Command
Purpose

cluster master unit unit_name

Example:

hostname(config)# cluster master unit asa2

Sets a new unit as the master unit. You will need to reconnect to the Main cluster IP address.

To view member names, enter cluster master unit ? (to see all names except the current unit), or enter the show cluster info command.


Executing a Command Cluster-Wide

To send a command to all members in the cluster, or to a specific member, perform the following steps. Sending a show command to all members collects all output and displays it on the console of the current unit. Other commands, such as capture and copy, can also take advantage of cluster-wide execution.

Detailed Steps

Command
Purpose

cluster exec [unit unit_name] command

Example:

hostname# cluster exec show xlate

Sends a command to all members, or if you specify the unit name, a specific member.

To view member names, enter cluster exec unit ? (to see all names except the current unit), or enter the show cluster info command.


Examples

To copy the same capture file from all units in the cluster at the same time to a TFTP server, enter the following command on the master unit:

hostname# cluster exec copy /pcap capture: tftp://10.1.1.56/capture1.pcap
 
   

Multiple PCAP files, one from each unit, are copied to the TFTP server. The destination capture file name is automatically attached with the unit name, such as capture1_asa1.pcap, capture1_asa2.pcap, and so on. In this example, asa1 and asa2 are cluster unit names.

The following sample output for the cluster exec show port-channel summary command shows EtherChannel information for each member in the cluster:

hostname# cluster exec show port-channel summary
primary(LOCAL):***********************************************************
 Number of channel-groups in use: 2
Group  Port-channel  Protocol  Span-cluster  Ports
------+-------------+-----------+-----------------------------------------------
1         Po1              LACP      	Yes  Gi0/0(P)
2         Po2              LACP      	Yes  Gi0/1(P)
 secondary:******************************************************************
 Number of channel-groups in use: 2
Group  Port-channel  Protocol  Span-cluster   Ports
------+-------------+-----------+-----------------------------------------------
1         Po1              LACP      	Yes   Gi0/0(P)
2         Po2              LACP      	Yes   Gi0/1(P)

Monitoring the ASA Cluster

Monitoring Commands

Related Commands

Monitoring Commands

To monitor the cluster, enter one of the following commands:

Command
Purpose

show cluster info [conn-distribution | packet-distribution | health | loadbalance | trace]

With no keywords, the show cluster info command shows the status of all members of the cluster.

The show cluster info conn-distribution and show cluster info packet-distribution commands show traffic distribution across all cluster units. These commands can help you to evaluate and adjust the external load balancer.

The show cluster info trace command shows the debug information for further troubleshooting.

The show cluster info health command shows the current health of interfaces, units, and the cluster overall.

The show cluster info loadbalance command shows connection rebalance statistics.

show cluster {access-list | conn | cpu | history | interface-mode | memory | resource | traffic | xlate} [options]

Displays aggregated data for the entire cluster. The options available depends on the data type.

show cluster user-identity [options]

Displays cluster-wide user identity information and statistics.

show lacp cluster {system-mac | system-id}

Shows the cLACP system ID and priority.

debug cluster [ccp | datapath | fsm | general | hc | license | rpc | transport]

Shows debug messages for clustering.

debug lacp cluster [all | ccp | misc | protocol]

Shows debug messages for cLACP.

show asp cluster counter

This command is useful for datapath troubleshooting.


Example 10-1 show cluster info

hostname# show cluster info
Cluster stbu: On
  This is "C" in state SLAVE
      ID        : 0
      Version   : 100.8(0.52)
      Serial No.: P3000000025
      CCL IP    : 10.0.0.3
      CCL MAC   : 000b.fcf8.c192
      Last join : 17:08:59 UTC Sep 26 2011
      Last leave: N/A
Other members in the cluster:
  Unit "D" in state SLAVE
      ID        : 1
      Version   : 100.8(0.52)
      Serial No.: P3000000001
      CCL IP    : 10.0.0.4
      CCL MAC   : 000b.fcf8.c162
      Last join : 19:13:11 UTC Sep 23 2011
      Last leave: N/A
  Unit "A" in state MASTER
      ID        : 2
      Version   : 100.8(0.52)
      Serial No.: JAB0815R0JY
      CCL IP    : 10.0.0.1
      CCL MAC   : 000f.f775.541e
      Last join : 19:13:20 UTC Sep 23 2011
      Last leave: N/A
  Unit "B" in state SLAVE
      ID        : 3
      Version   : 100.8(0.52)
      Serial No.: P3000000191
      CCL IP    : 10.0.0.2
      CCL MAC   : 000b.fcf8.c61e
      Last join : 19:13:50 UTC Sep 23 2011
      Last leave: 19:13:36 UTC Sep 23 2011
 
   

Example 10-2 show cluster info trace

hostname# show cluster info trace
 Feb 02 14:19:47.456 [DBUG]Receive CCP message: CCP_MSG_LOAD_BALANCE
 Feb 02 14:19:47.456 [DBUG]Receive CCP message: CCP_MSG_LOAD_BALANCE
 Feb 02 14:19:47.456 [DBUG]Send CCP message to all: CCP_MSG_KEEPALIVE from 80-1 at MASTER
 
   

Example 10-3 show cluster access-list

hostname#  show cluster access-list
hitcnt display order: cluster-wide aggregated result, unit-A, unit-B,  unit-C, unit-D
access-list cached ACL log flows: total 0, denied 0 (deny-flow-max 4096) alert-interval 
300
access-list 101; 122 elements; name hash: 0xe7d586b5
access-list 101 line 1 extended permit tcp 192.168.143.0 255.255.255.0 any eq www 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0x207a2b7d
access-list 101 line 2 extended permit tcp any 192.168.143.0 255.255.255.0 (hitcnt=0, 0, 
0, 0, 0) 0xfe4f4947
access-list  101 line 3 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.183 host 192.168.43.238 
(hitcnt=1, 0, 0, 0, 1) 0x7b521307
access-list 101 line 4 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.116 host 192.168.43.238 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0x5795c069
access-list 101 line 5 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.177 host 192.168.43.238 
(hitcnt=1, 0, 0, 1, 0) 0x51bde7ee
access list 101 line 6 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.177 host 192.168.43.13 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0x1e68697c
access-list 101 line 7 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.177 host 192.168.43.132 
(hitcnt=2, 0, 0, 1, 1) 0xc1ce5c49
access-list 101 line 8 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.177 host 192.168.43.192 
(hitcnt=3, 0, 1, 1, 1) 0xb6f59512
access-list 101 line 9 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.177 host 192.168.43.44 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0xdc104200
access-list 101 line 10 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.112 host 192.168.43.44 
(hitcnt=429, 109, 107, 109, 104) 
0xce4f281d
access-list 101 line 11 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.170 host 192.168.43.238 
(hitcnt=3, 1, 0, 0, 2) 0x4143a818
access-list 101 line 12 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.170 host 192.168.43.169 
(hitcnt=2, 0, 1, 0, 1) 0xb18dfea4
access-list 101 line 13 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.170 host 192.168.43.229 
(hitcnt=1, 1, 0, 0, 0) 0x21557d71
access-list 101 line 14 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.170 host 192.168.43.106 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0x7316e016
access-list 101 line 15 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.170 host 192.168.43.196 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0x013fd5b8
access-list 101 line 16 extended permit tcp host 192.168.1.170 host 192.168.43.75 
(hitcnt=0, 0, 0, 0, 0) 0x2c7dba0d
 
   

To display the aggregated count of in-use connections for all units, enter:

hostname# show cluster conn count
Usage Summary In Cluster:*********************************************
  200 in use (cluster-wide aggregated)
     cl2(LOCAL):***********************************************************
  100 in use, 100 most used
 
   
  cl1:******************************************************************
  100 in use, 100 most used

Related Commands

Command
Purpose

show conn [detail]

The show conn command shows whether a flow is a director, backup, or forwarder flow. For details about the different roles for a connection, see the "Connection Roles" section. Use the cluster exec show conn command on any unit to view all connections. This command can show how traffic for a single flow arrives at different ASAs in the cluster. The throughput of the cluster is dependent on the efficiency and configuration of load balancing. This command provides an easy way to view how traffic for a connection is flowing through the cluster, and can help you understand how a load balancer might affect the performance of a flow.

show route cluster

debug route cluster

Shows cluster information for routing.

cluster exec capture

 

To support cluster-wide troubleshooting, you can enable capture of cluster-specific traffic on the master unit using the cluster exec capture command, which is then automatically enabled on all of the slave units in the cluster.

See the "Capturing Packets" section.

 

mac-address pool name start_mac_address - end_mac_address

 

Creates a MAC address pool for an individual inteface.

prompt cluster-unit

 

Sets the CLI prompt to include the cluster unit name.

See the "Customizing a CLI Prompt" section on page 92-7.

logging device-id

 

Each unit in the cluster generates syslog messages independently. You can use the logging device-id command to generate syslog messages with identical or different device IDs to make messages appear to come from the same or different units in the cluster.

See the "Including the Device ID in Non-EMBLEM Format Syslog Messages" section.

show port-channel

Includes information about whether a port-channel is spanned.


Example 10-4 show conn

To troubleshoot the connection flow, first see connections on all units by entering the cluster exec show conn command on any unit. Look for flows that have the following flags: director (Y), backup (y), and forwarder (z). The following example shows an SSH connection from 172.18.124.187:22 to 192.168.103.131:44727 on all three ASAs; ASA 1 has the z flag showing it is a forwarder for the connection, ASA3 has the Y flag showing it is the director for the connection, and ASA2 has no special flags showing it is the owner. In the outbound direction, the packets for this connection enter the inside interface on ASA2 and exit the outside interface. In the inbound direction, the packets for this connection enter the outside interface on ASA 1 and ASA3, are forwarded over the cluster control link to ASA2, and then exit the inside interface on ASA2.

hostname/ASA1/master# cluster exec show conn
ASA1(LOCAL):**********************************************************
18 in use, 22 most used
Cluster stub connections: 0 in use, 5 most used
TCP outside  172.18.124.187:22 inside  192.168.103.131:44727, idle 0:00:00, bytes 
37240828, flags z
 
   
 
   
ASA2:*****************************************************************
12 in use, 13 most used
Cluster stub connections: 0 in use, 46 most used
TCP outside  172.18.124.187:22 inside  192.168.103.131:44727, idle 0:00:00, bytes 
37240828, flags UIO
 
   
 
   
ASA3:*****************************************************************
10 in use, 12 most used
Cluster stub connections: 2 in use, 29 most used
TCP outside  172.18.124.187:22 inside  192.168.103.131:44727, idle 0:00:03, bytes 0, flags  
Y
 
   

The following is sample output for the show conn detail command:

 
   
hostname/ASA2/slave# show conn detail
12 in use, 13 most used
Cluster stub connections: 0 in use, 46 most used
Flags: A - awaiting inside ACK to SYN, a - awaiting outside ACK to SYN,
            B - initial SYN from outside, b - TCP state-bypass or nailed,
            C - CTIQBE media, c - cluster centralized,
            D - DNS, d - dump, E - outside back connection, F - outside FIN, f - inside 
            FIN,
            G - group, g - MGCP, H - H.323, h - H.225.0, I - inbound data,
            i - incomplete, J - GTP, j - GTP data, K - GTP t3-response
            k - Skinny media, M - SMTP data, m - SIP media, n - GUP
            O - outbound data, P - inside back connection, p - Phone-proxy TFTP 
            connection,
            q - SQL*Net data, R - outside acknowledged FIN,
            R - UDP SUNRPC, r - inside acknowledged FIN, S - awaiting inside SYN,
            s - awaiting outside SYN, T - SIP, t - SIP transient, U - up,
            V - VPN orphan, W - WAAS,
            X - inspected by service module,
            x - per session, Y - director stub flow, y - backup stub flow,
            Z - Scansafe redirection, z - forwarding stub flow
ESP outside: 10.1.227.1/53744 NP Identity Ifc: 10.1.226.1/30604, , flags c, idle 0s, 
uptime 1m21s, timeout 30s, bytes 7544, cluster sent/rcvd bytes 0/0, owners (0,255) Traffic 
received at interface outside Locally received: 7544 (93 byte/s) Traffic received at 
interface NP Identity Ifc Locally received: 0 (0 byte/s) UDP outside: 10.1.227.1/500 NP 
Identity Ifc: 10.1.226.1/500, flags -c, idle 1m22s, uptime 1m22s, timeout 2m0s, bytes 
1580, cluster sent/rcvd bytes 0/0, cluster sent/rcvd total bytes 0/0, owners (0,255) 
Traffic received at interface outside Locally received: 864 (10 byte/s) Traffic received 
at interface NP Identity Ifc Locally received: 716 (8 byte/s)

Configuration Examples for ASA Clustering

Sample ASA and Switch Configuration

Firewall on a Stick

Traffic Segregation

Redundant Interface (PBR or ECMP)

Spanned EtherChannel With Backup Links

Sample ASA and Switch Configuration

The following sample configurations connect the following interfaces between the ASA and the switch:

ASA Interface
Switch Interface

GigabitEthernet 0/2

GigabitEthernet 1/0/15

GigabitEthernet 0/3

GigabitEthernet 1/0/16

GigabitEthernet 0/4

GigabitEthernet 1/0/17

GigabitEthernet 0/5

GigabitEthernet 1/0/18


ASA Configuration

IOS Switch Configuration

ASA Configuration

Interface Mode on Each Unit

cluster interface-mode spanned force

ASA1 Master Bootstrap Configuration

interface GigabitEthernet0/0
 channel-group 1 mode on
 no shutdown
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/1
 channel-group 1 mode on
 no shutdown
!
interface Port-channel1
 description Clustering Interface
!
cluster group Moya
 local-unit A
 cluster-interface Port-channel1 ip 10.0.0.1 255.255.255.0
 priority 10
 key emphyri0
 enable noconfirm

ASA2 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface GigabitEthernet0/0
 channel-group 1 mode on
 no shutdown
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/1
 channel-group 1 mode on
 no shutdown
!
interface Port-channel1
 description Clustering Interface
!
cluster group Moya
 local-unit B
 cluster-interface Port-channel1 ip 10.0.0.2 255.255.255.0
 priority 11
 key emphyri0
 enable as-slave
 
   

Master Interface Configuration

ip local pool mgmt-pool 10.53.195.231-10.53.195.232
 
   
interface GigabitEthernet0/2
 channel-group 10 mode active
 no shutdown
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/3
 channel-group 10 mode active
 no shutdown
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/4
 channel-group 11 mode active
 no shutdown
!
interface GigabitEthernet0/5
 channel-group 11 mode active
 no shutdown
!
interface Management0/0
 management-only
 nameif management
 ip address 10.53.195.230 cluster-pool mgmt-pool
 security-level 100
 no shutdown
!
interface Port-channel10
 port-channel span-cluster
 mac-address aaaa.bbbb.cccc
 nameif inside
 security-level 100
 ip address 209.165.200.225 255.255.255.224
!
interface Port-channel11
 port-channel span-cluster
 mac-address aaaa.dddd.cccc
 nameif outside
 security-level 0
 ip address 209.165.201.1 255.255.255.224
 
   

IOS Switch Configuration

interface GigabitEthernet1/0/15
 switchport access vlan 201
 switchport mode access
 spanning-tree portfast
 channel-group 10 mode active
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/0/16
 switchport access vlan 201
 switchport mode access
 spanning-tree portfast
 channel-group 10 mode active
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/0/17
 switchport access vlan 401
 switchport mode access
 spanning-tree portfast
 channel-group 11 mode active
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/0/18
 switchport access vlan 401
 switchport mode access
 spanning-tree portfast
 channel-group 11 mode active
 
   
interface Port-channel10
 switchport access vlan 201
 switchport mode access
 
   
interface Port-channel11
 switchport access vlan 401
 switchport mode access
 
   

Firewall on a Stick

Data traffic from different security domains are associated with different VLANs, for example, VLAN 10 for the inside network and VLAN 20 for the outside network. Each ASA has a single physical port connected to the external switch or router. Trunking is enabled so that all packets on the physical link are 802.1q encapsulated. The ASA is the firewall between VLAN 10 and VLAN 20.

When using Spanned EtherChannels, all data links are grouped into one EtherChannel on the switch side. If an ASA becomes unavailable, the switch will rebalance traffic between the remaining units.

Interface Mode on Each Unit

cluster interface-mode spanned force

ASA1 Master Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

no shutdown
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa1
cluster-interface tengigabitethernet0/8 ip 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
priority 1
key chuntheunavoidable
enable noconfirm
 
   

ASA2 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

no shutdown
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa2
cluster-interface tengigabitethernet0/8 ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0
priority 2
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

ASA3 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

no shutdown
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa3
cluster-interface tengigabitethernet0/8 ip 192.168.1.3 255.255.255.0
priority 3
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

Master Interface Configuration

ip local pool mgmt 10.1.1.2-10.1.1.9

ipv6 local pool mgmtipv6 2001:DB8::1002/64 8

interface management 0/0

nameif management
ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool mgmt
ipv6 address 2001:DB8::1001/32 cluster-pool mgmtipv6
security-level 100
management-only
no shutdown
 
   

interface tengigabitethernet 0/9

channel-group 2 mode active
no shutdown
interface port-channel 2
port-channel span-cluster
interface port-channel 2.10
vlan 10
nameif inside
ip address 10.10.10.5 255.255.255.0
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:1::5/64
mac-address 000C.F142.4CDE
interface port-channel 2.20
vlan 20
nameif outside
ip address 209.165.201.1 255.255.255.224
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:2::8/64
mac-address 000C.F142.5CDE
 
   

Traffic Segregation

You may prefer physical separation of traffic between the inside and outside network.

As shown in the diagram above, there is one Spanned EtherChannel on the left side that connects to the inside switch, and the other on the right side to outside switch. You can also create VLAN subinterfaces on each EtherChannel if desired.

Interface Mode on Each Unit

cluster interface-mode spanned force

ASA1 Master Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa1
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
priority 1
key chuntheunavoidable
enable noconfirm
 
   

ASA2 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa2
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0
priority 2
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

ASA3 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa3
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.3 255.255.255.0
priority 3
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

Master Interface Configuration

ip local pool mgmt 10.1.1.2-10.1.1.9

ipv6 local pool mgmtipv6 2001:DB8::1002/64 8

interface management 0/0

nameif management
ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool mgmt
ipv6 address 2001:DB8::1001/32 cluster-pool mgmtipv6
security-level 100
management-only
no shutdown
 
   

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

channel-group 2 mode active
no shutdown
interface port-channel 2
port-channel span-cluster
nameif inside
ip address 10.10.10.5 255.255.255.0
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:1::5/64
mac-address 000C.F142.4CDE
 
   

interface tengigabitethernet 0/9

channel-group 3 mode active
no shutdown
interface port-channel 3
port-channel span-cluster
nameif outside
ip address 209.165.201.1 255.255.255.224
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:2::8/64
mac-address 000C.F142.5CDE
 
   

Redundant Interface (PBR or ECMP)

Redundant interfaces can be used to provide link-level redundancy.

When using Individual interfaces, switching to a backup interface is similar to how it behaves in non-clustering mode. The ASA activates the backup link if the primary link fails. It takes time for the Spanning Tree on the switch to converge before the backup link is activated on the switch side. The backup links can be connected to a separate switch to provide inter-switch redundancy.

Interface Mode on Each Unit

cluster interface-mode individual force

ASA1 Master Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa1
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
priority 1
key chuntheunavoidable
enable noconfirm
 
   

ASA2 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa2
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0
priority 2
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

ASA3 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa3
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.3 255.255.255.0
priority 3
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

Master Interface Configuration

ip local pool mgmt 10.1.1.2-10.1.1.5

ipv6 local pool mgmtipv6 2001:DB8::1002/64 4

interface management 0/0

channel-group 2 mode active
no shutdown

interface management 0/1

channel-group 2 mode active
no shutdown
interface port-channel 2
nameif management
ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool mgmt
ipv6 address 2001:DB8::1001/64 cluster-pool mgmtipv6
security-level 100
management-only
 
   

ip local pool inside 10.10.10.6-10.10.10.9

ipv6 local pool insideipv6 2001:DB8:4:4/64 4

 
   
interface redundant 1
member-interface tengigabitethernet 1/6
member-interface tengigabitethernet 1/7
nameif inside
ip address 10.10.10.5 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool inside
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:4:3/64 cluster-pool insideipv6
security-level 100
 
   

ip local pool outside 209.165.201.2-209.165.201.5

ipv6 local pool outsideipv6 2001:DB8:DD:2/64 4

 
   
interface redundant 2
member-interface tengigabitethernet 0/8
member-interface tengigabitethernet 0/9
nameif outside
ip address 209.165.201.1 255.255.255.224 cluster-pool outside
ipv6 address 2001:DB8:DD:1/64 cluster-pool outsideipv6
security-level 0

Spanned EtherChannel With Backup Links

The maximum number of active ports in an etherchannel is limited to 8 from the switch side. If you have an 8-ASA cluster, and you allocate 2 ports per unit to the EtherChannel, for a total of 16 ports total, then 8 of them have to be in standby mode. The ASA uses LACP to negotiate which links should be active or standby. If you enable multi-switch EtherChannel using VSS or vPC, you can achieve inter-switch redundancy. On the ASA, all physical ports are ordered first by the slot number then by the port number. In the following figure, the lower ordered port is the "primary" port (for example, GigabitEthernet 0/0), and the other one is the "secondary" port (for example, GigabitEthernet 0/1). You must guarantee symmetry in the hardware connection: all primary links must terminate on one switch, and all secondary links must terminate on another switch if VSS/vPC is used. The following diagram shows what happens when the total number of links grows as more units join the cluster:

The principle is to first maximize the number of active ports in the channel, and secondly keep the number of active primary ports and the number of active secondary ports in balance. Note that when a 5th unit joins the cluster, traffic is not balanced evenly between all units.

Link or device failure is handled with the same principle. You may end up with a less-than-perfect load balancing situation. The following figure shows a 4-unit cluster with a single link failure on one of the units.

There could be multiple EtherChannels configured in the network. The following diagram shows an EtherChannel on the inside and one on the outside. An ASA is removed from the cluster if both primary and secondary links in one EtherChannel fail. This prevents the ASA from receiving traffic from the outside network when it has already lost connectivity to the inside network.

Interface Mode on Each Unit

cluster interface-mode spanned force

ASA1 Master Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/9

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa1
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
priority 1
key chuntheunavoidable
enable noconfirm
 
   

ASA2 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/9

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa2
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.2 255.255.255.0
priority 2
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

ASA3 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/9

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa3
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.3 255.255.255.0
priority 3
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

ASA4 Slave Bootstrap Configuration

interface tengigabitethernet 0/6

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/7

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/8

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 0/9

channel-group 1 mode on
no shutdown
interface port-channel 1
description CCL
 
   

cluster group cluster1

local-unit asa4
cluster-interface port-channel1 ip 192.168.1.4 255.255.255.0
priority 4
key chuntheunavoidable
enable as-slave
 
   

Master Interface Configuration

ip local pool mgmt 10.1.1.2-10.1.1.9

interface management 0/0

channel-group 2 mode active
no shutdown

interface management 0/1

channel-group 2 mode active
no shutdown
interface port-channel 2
nameif management
ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 cluster-pool mgmt
security-level 100
management-only
 
   

interface tengigabitethernet 1/6

channel-group 3 mode active vss-id 1
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 1/7

channel-group 3 mode active vss-id 2
no shutdown
interface port-channel 3
port-channel span-cluster vss-load-balance
nameif inside
ip address 10.10.10.5 255.255.255.0
mac-address 000C.F142.4CDE
 
   

interface tengigabitethernet 1/8

channel-group 4 mode active vss-id 1
no shutdown

interface tengigabitethernet 1/9

channel-group 4 mode active vss-id 2
no shutdown
interface port-channel 4
port-channel span-cluster vss-load-balance
nameif outside
ip address 209.165.201.1 255.255.255.224
mac-address 000C.F142.5CDE
 
   

Feature History for ASA Clustering

Table 10-3 lists each feature change and the platform release in which it was implemented.

Table 10-3 Feature History for Clustering 

Feature Name
Platform Releases
Feature Information

ASA Clustering for the ASA 5580 and 5585-X

9.0(1)

ASA Clustering lets you group multiple ASAs together as a single logical device. A cluster provides all the convenience of a single device (management, integration into a network) while achieving the increased throughput and redundancy of multiple devices. ASA clustering is supported for the ASA 5580 and the ASA 5585-X; all units in a cluster must be the same model with the same hardware specifications. See the configuration guide for a list of unsupported features when clustering is enabled.

We introduced or modified the following commands: channel-group, clacp system-mac, clear cluster info, clear configure cluster, cluster exec, cluster group, cluster interface-mode, cluster-interface, conn-rebalance, console-replicate, cluster master unit, cluster remove unit, debug cluster, debug lacp cluster, enable (cluster group), health-check, ip address, ipv6 address, key (cluster group), local-unit, mac-address (interface), mac-address pool, mtu cluster, port-channel span-cluster, priority (cluster group), prompt cluster-unit, show asp cluster counter, show asp table cluster chash-table, show cluster, show cluster info, show cluster user-identity, show lacp cluster, show running-config cluster.