PaloAlto High Availability Status Test

High availability (HA) is a configuration in which two firewalls are placed in a group and their configuration is synchronized to prevent a single point of failure on your network. A heartbeat connection between the firewall peers ensures seamless failover in the event that a peer goes down. Setting up two firewalls in an HA pair provides redundancy and allows you to ensure business continuity.

The Palo Alto firewalls can be deployed as high availability (HA ) pair with session and configuration synchronization to provide uninterrupted operation in any session. The high availability configuration always ensures that one of the two firewalls is available for maintaining the network traffic so that the downtime of the network is reduced considerably. The firewalls can be configured as stateful Active/Passive or Active/Active high availability pair.

If the high availability of the firewall is challenged, then the your environment may be rendered defenceless against unsavory virus attacks and unauthorized access, both of which can cause irreparable damage. Hence, to make sure that your environment stays protected 24X7x365 from network threats, it is necessary to monitor the high availability status of the Palo Alto Firewall. The PaloAlto High Availability Status test exactly helps you in this regard.

By continuously monitoring the Palo Alto Firewall, this test reveals the high availability status of the firewall and the mode in which the firewall is configured for high availability.

Target of the test : A Palo Alto Firewall

Agent deploying the test : An external agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for the firewall being monitored.

The figure below depicts the test configuration page of this test. Click on the parameters in the figure below to know what they are and how to configure them.

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameter Description

Test Period

How often should the test be executed.

Host

The IP address of the host for which this test is to be configured.

Port

Enter the port number at which the specified host listens to. By default, this is set to Null.

SNMPPort

The port at which the monitored target exposes its SNMP MIB; The default value is 161.

SNMPVersion

By default, the eG agent supports SNMP version 1. Accordingly, the default selection in the SNMPVersion list is v1. However, if a different SNMP framework is in use in your environment, say SNMP v2 or v3, then select the corresponding option from this list.

SNMPCommunity

The SNMP community name that the test uses to communicate with the firewall. This parameter is specific to SNMP v1 and v2 only. Therefore, if the SNMPVersion chosen is v3, then this parameter will not appear.

UserName

This parameter appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. SNMP version 3 (SNMPv3) is an extensible SNMP Framework which supplements the SNMPv2 Framework, by additionally supporting message security, access control, and remote SNMP configuration capabilities. To extract performance statistics from the MIB using the highly secure SNMP v3 protocol, the eG agent has to be configured with the required access privileges – in other words, the eG agent should connect to the MIB using the credentials of a user with access permissions to be MIB. Therefore, specify the name of such a user against this parameter. 

Context

This parameter appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. An SNMP context is a collection of management information accessible by an SNMP entity. An item of management information may exist in more than one context and an SNMP entity potentially has access to many contexts. A context is identified by the SNMPEngineID value of the entity hosting the management information (also called a contextEngineID) and a context name that identifies the specific context (also called a contextName). If the Username provided is associated with a context name, then the eG agent will be able to poll the MIB and collect metrics only if it is configured with the context name as well. In such cases therefore, specify the context name of the Username in the Context text box.  By default, this parameter is set to none.

AuthPass

Specify the password that corresponds to the above-mentioned Username. This parameter once again appears only if the SNMPVersion selected is v3.

Confirm Password

Confirm the AuthPass by retyping it here.

AuthType

This parameter too appears only if v3 is selected as the SNMPversion. From the Authtype list box, choose the authentication algorithm using which SNMP v3 converts the specified username and password into a 32-bit format to ensure security of SNMP transactions. You can choose between the following options:

  • MD5 – Message Digest Algorithm
  • SHA – Secure Hash Algorithm

EncryptFlag

This flag appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPversion. By default, the eG agent does not encrypt SNMP requests. Accordingly, the this flag is set to No by default. To ensure that SNMP requests sent by the eG agent are encrypted, select the Yes option. 

EncryptType

If this EncryptFlag is set to Yes, then you will have to mention the encryption type by selecting an option from the EncryptType list. SNMP v3 supports the following encryption types:

  • DES – Data Encryption Standard
  • AES – Advanced Encryption Standard

EncryptPassword

Specify the encryption password here.

Confirm Password

Confirm the encryption password by retyping it here.

Timeout

Specify the duration (in seconds) within which the SNMP query executed by this test should time out in this text box. The default is 10 seconds.

Data Over TCP

By default, in an IT environment, all data transmission occurs over UDP. Some environments however, may be specifically configured to offload a fraction of the data traffic – for instance, certain types of data traffic or traffic pertaining to specific components – to other protocols like TCP, so as to prevent UDP overloads. In such environments, you can instruct the eG agent to conduct the SNMP data traffic related to the monitored target over TCP (and not UDP). For this, set this flag to Yes. By default, this flag is set to No.

Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

High availability status

Indicates the high availability status of the firewall.

 

The numeric values that correspond to these states are as follows:

State Numeric Value
Disabled 0
Enabled 100

Note:

By default, this measure reports the above-mentioned States to indicate whether/not the high availability is enabled for the PaloAlto firewall . However, in the graph of this measure, the same will be represented using the numeric equivalents – 0 and 100 only.

High availability mode

Indicates the mode in which the firewall is configured for high availability.

 

The numeric values that correspond to these modes are as follows:

Mode Numeric Value
Disabled 0
Active-Passive 1
Active-Active 2

Note:

By default, this measure reports the above-mentioned Modes to indicate in which mode the firewall is configured for high availability. However, in the graph of this measure, the same will be represented using the numeric equivalents – 0 and 2 only.