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Manual Chapter: Synchronizing Application Security Configurations Across LANs
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Synchronizing ASM systems across LANs

This implementation describes how to set up multiple BIG-IP® systems running Application Security Manager™ (ASM) so that you can synchronize their security policies and configurations for disaster recovery. You can use this implementation to synchronize BIG-IP ASM™ security policies and configurations on systems that reside in different network segments or LANs, such as those in separate offices or data centers. Note that traffic must be routable between the network segments. If a disaster occurs at one of the offices and both devices are disabled, the latest security policies are still available on the systems in the other location.

This implementation also configures failover between systems in a redundant pair on a particular network segment. If one of the devices in a pair goes offline for any reason, the other device in the pair begins processing the application traffic.

Synchronizing ASM systems for disaster recovery Automatically synchronizing ASM configuration data across LANs

In the figure, two sets of BIG-IP systems are set up for redundancy: one active and the other standby. Each pair is in a different network segment (LAN), and there can be additional pairs, as needed. Each LAN has one pair of devices, where both have the same default routing, but routing is not the same for the devices in the other LAN.

All of the systems are running ASM and are in the trust domain. Three device groups are set up: one Sync-Failover device group for each pair (not ASM-enabled), and one Sync-Only device group with ASM enabled using automatic synchronization for all of the systems. The systems automatically duplicate the ASM configurations and security policies on all of the systems. You can manually synchronize the BIG-IP configurations of each pair of systems when needed.

Task summary

About device management and synchronizing application security configurations

You can use device management to set up several BIG-IP® systems running Application Security Manager™ (ASM) so that the systems synchronize their security policies and configurations, and fail over to one another if a system goes offline for any reason. By using application security synchronization, you can set up application security and create security policies on one system, and can propagate them to other systems in an application security device group. In BIG-IP ASM™, a device group is two or more BIG-IP devices using the same configuration and providing consistent security policy enforcement.

You can set up application security synchronization, for example, behind an Application Delivery Controller where multiple BIG-IP systems running Application Security Manager are deployed as members of a pool. The options and security policies on all of the systems stay in sync regardless of where you update them.

When you set up ASM™ synchronization, in addition to security policies, other settings such as custom attack signatures, logging profiles, SMTP configuration, anti-virus protection, system variables, and policy templates, are synchronized with all devices in the ASM-enabled device group.

Considerations for application security synchronization

When using device management with Application Security Manager™ (ASM™), you need to be aware of the following considerations that apply specifically to application security synchronization.

  • A BIG-IP® system with Application Security Manager can be a member of only one ASM-enabled device group.
  • All BIG-IP systems in a device group must be running the same version (including hot fix updates) of Application Security Manager (version 11.0 or later).
  • The BIG-IP systems in the ASM-enabled device group synchronize application security configuration data and security policies, providing consistent enforcement on all the devices.
  • Real Traffic Policy Builder® can run on only one system per security policy. For example, you can set up automatic security policy building on one system that is a member of an ASM-enabled device group, the policy is built on that system and then automatically updated on all of the systems in the device group.
  • If using a VIPRION® platform (with multiple blades), it is considered one device, and you need to add only the master blade to the device trust and group.

Performing basic network configuration for synchronization

You need to perform basic networking configuration for each of the BIG-IP® systems whose Application Security Manager™ (ASM) configurations you want to synchronize.
  1. Install the same BIG-IP system version (including any hot fixes) on each device.
  2. Provision LTM® and ASM™ on each device (System > Resource Provisioning).
  3. On each device, create one or more VLANs, depending on your networking configuration (Network > VLANs).
  4. On each device, create a self IP (Network > Self IPs). When creating the self IP, set Traffic Group to traffic-group-local-only (non-floating).
  5. On each device, create a default gateway, if needed (Network > Routes).
  6. On each device, configure DNS (System > Configuration > Device > DNS) and NTP (System > Configuration > Device > NTP) so they are set to the same time.
  7. Verify connectivity between the devices (self IP address to self IP address). For example, use this command to ensure communications: ping -I vlan_interface device_self_IP
  8. On each device, specify the IP address to use when synchronizing configuration objects to the local device:
    1. Click Device Management > Devices.
    2. Click the name of the local device.
    3. From the Device Connectivity menu, choose ConfigSync.
    4. For the Local Address setting, select the self IP address.
    5. Click Save Changes.
  9. If your company requires special device certificates, install them on each device (System > Device Certificates and click Import).
The basic networking setup is complete for the BIG-IP ASM systems for which you want to share security policies and configurations.

Specifying an IP address for config sync

Before configuring the config sync address, verify that all devices in the device group are running the same version of BIG-IP® system software.
You perform this task to specify the IP address on the local device that other devices in the device group will use to synchronize their configuration objects to the local device.
Note: You must perform this task locally on each device in the device group.
  1. Confirm that you are logged in to the actual device you want to configure.
  2. On the Main tab, click Device Management > Devices. This displays a list of device objects discovered by the local device.
  3. In the Name column, click the name of the device to which you are currently logged in.
  4. From the Device Connectivity menu, choose ConfigSync.
  5. For the Local Address setting, retain the displayed IP address or select another address from the list. F5 Networks recommends that you use the default value, which is the self IP address for VLAN internal. This address must be a non-floating self IP address and not a management IP address.
  6. Click Update.
After performing this task, the other devices in the device group can sync their configurations to the local device.

Establishing device trust

Before you begin this task, verify that:

  • Each BIG-IP® device that is to be part of the local trust domain has a device certificate installed on it.
  • The local device is designated as a certificate signing authority.

You perform this task to establish trust among devices on one or more network segments. Devices that trust each other constitute the local trust domain. A device must be a member of the local trust domain prior to joining a device group.

By default, the BIG-IP software includes a local trust domain with one member, which is the local device. You can choose any one of the BIG-IP devices slated for a device group and log into that device to add other devices to the local trust domain. For example, devices A, B, and C each initially shows only itself as a member of the local trust domain. To configure the local trust domain to include all three devices, you can simply log into device A and add devices B and C to the local trust domain. Note that there is no need to repeat this process on devices B and C.

  1. On the Main tab, click Device Management > Device Trust, and then either Peer List or Subordinate List.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Type an IP address, administrator user name, and administrator password for the remote BIG-IP® device. This IP address can be either a management IP address or a self IP address.
  4. Click Retrieve Device Information.
  5. Verify that the certificate of the remote device is correct.
  6. Verify that the name of the remote device is correct.
  7. Verify that the management IP address and name of the remote device are correct.
  8. Click Finished.
The device you added is now a member of the local trust domain.
Repeat this task for each device that you want to add to the local trust domain.

Creating a Sync-Failover device group

This task establishes failover capability between two or more BIG-IP devices. If the active device in a Sync-Failover device group becomes unavailable, the configuration objects fail over to another member of the device group and traffic processing is unaffected. You perform this task on any one of the authority devices within the local trust domain.

Repeat this task for each Sync-Failover device group that you want to create for your network configuration.

  1. On the Main tab, click Device Management > Device Groups.
  2. On the Device Groups list screen, click Create. The New Device Group screen opens.
  3. Type a name for the device group, select the device group type Sync-Failover, and type a description for the device group.
  4. In the Configuration area of the screen, select a host name from the Available list for each BIG-IP device that you want to include in the device group, including the local device. Use the Move button to move the host name to the Selected list. The Available list shows any devices that are members of the device's local trust domain but not currently members of a Sync-Failover device group. A device can be a member of one Sync-Failover group only.
  5. For the Network Failover setting:
    • Select the Enabled check box if you want device group members to handle failover communications by way of network connectivity.
    • Clear the Enabled check box if you want device group members to handle failover communications by way of serial cable (hard-wired) connectivity.
    Serial failover is not available for device groups with more than two members.
  6. Click Finished.
You now have a Sync-Failover type of device group containing BIG-IP devices as members.

Syncing the BIG-IP configuration to the device group

Before you sync the configuration, verify that the devices targeted for config sync are members of a device group and that device trust is established.
This task synchronizes the BIG-IP® configuration data from the local device to the devices in the device group. This synchronization ensures that devices in the device group operate properly. When synchronizing self IP addresses, the BIG-IP system synchronizes floating self IP addresses only.
Important: You perform this task on either of the two devices, but not both.
  1. On the Main tab, click Device Management > Overview.
  2. In the Device Groups area of the screen, in the Name column, select the name of the relevant device group. The screen expands to show a summary and details of the sync status of the selected device group, as well as a list of the individual devices within the device group.
  3. In the Devices area of the screen, in the Sync Status column, select the device that shows a sync status of Changes Pending.
  4. In the Sync Options area of the screen, select Sync Device to Group.
  5. Click Sync. The BIG-IP system syncs the configuration data of the selected device in the Device area of the screen to the other members of the device group.
Except for non-floating self IP addresses, the entire set of BIG-IP configuration data is replicated on each device in the device group.

Specifying IP addresses for failover

This task specifies the local IP addresses that you want other devices in the device group to use for failover communications with the local device. You must perform this task locally on each device in the device group.
Note: The failover addresses that you specify must belong to route domain 0.
  1. Confirm that you are logged in to the actual device you want to configure.
  2. On the Main tab, click Device Management > Devices. This displays a list of device objects discovered by the local device.
  3. In the status column, click Status. This displays a list of all possible status types for a device.
  4. In the Name column, click the name of the device to which you are currently logged in.
  5. From the Device Connectivity menu, choose Failover.
  6. For the Failover Unicast Configuration settings, retain the displayed IP addresses. You can also click Add to specify additional IP addresses that the system can use for failover communications. F5 Networks recommends that you use the self IP address assigned to the HA VLAN.
  7. If the BIG-IP® system is running on a VIPRION® platform, then for the Use Failover Multicast Address setting, select the Enabled check box.
  8. If you enable Use Failover Multicast Address, either accept the default Address and Port values, or specify values appropriate for the device. If you revise the default Address and Port values, but then decide to revert to the default values, click Reset Defaults.
  9. Click Update.
After you perform this task, other devices in the device group can send failover messages to the local device using the specified IP addresses.

Creating a Sync-Only device group

You perform this task to create a Sync-Only type of device group. When you create a Sync-Only device group, the BIG-IP system can then automatically synchronize certain types of data such as security policies to the other devices in the group, even when some of those devices reside in another network. You can perform this task on any BIG-IP® device within the local trust domain.
  1. On the Main tab, click Device Management > Device Groups.
  2. On the Device Groups list screen, click Create. The New Device Group screen opens.
  3. Type a name for the device group, select the device group type Sync-Only, and type a description for the device group.
  4. For the Members setting, select an IP address and host name from the Available list for each BIG-IP device that you want to include in the device group. Use the Move button to move the host name to the Includes list. The list shows any devices that are members of the device's local trust domain.
  5. For the Automatic Sync setting, select the Enabled check box.
  6. Click Finished.
You now have a Sync-Only type of device group containing BIG-IP devices as members.

Enabling ASM synchronization on a Sync-Only device group

You need to have set up the BIG-IP®systems you want to synchronize in a device trust and a device group. Application Security Manager™ (ASM) must be provisioned on all the systems in the device group.
You can enable ASM™ synchronization on a device group to synchronize security policies and configurations on all devices in the device group. You do this task on only one system in the device group.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Options > Application Security > Synchronization. The Application Security Synchronization screen opens.
  2. From the Device Group list, select the Sync-Only device group whose members you want to synchronize.
The BIG-IP ASM™ systems that you want to share security policies and configurations are part of a Sync-Only device group with ASM synchronization.

Synchronizing an ASM-enabled device group

You need to have set up the BIG-IP® Application Security Manager™ (ASM) systems you want to synchronize in a Sync-Failover device group that is ASM™-enabled.
You can manually synchronize security policies and configuration of systems in an ASM-enabled device group.
  1. On one system in the ASM-enabled failover device group, create an application security class, then use the Deployment wizard to create a security policy. Because the two systems are not in sync, you see a Changes Pending status message on the screen.
  2. Click the Changes Pending message.
    Tip: You can also click Device Management > Overview.
    The Overview screen opens.
  3. In the Device Groups area of the screen, in the Name column, select the name of the relevant device group. The screen expands to show a summary and details of the sync status of the selected device group, as well as a list of the individual devices within the device group.
  4. In the Devices area of the screen, in the Sync Status column, select the device that shows a sync status of Changes Pending.
  5. In the Sync Options area of the screen, select Sync Device to Group.
  6. Click Sync. The BIG-IP system syncs the configuration data of the selected device in the Device area of the screen to the other members of the device group.
  7. Verify that the devices are synchronized. For example, log in to another device in the device group and verify that the security policy you created also resides on that system. Click Application Security > Security Policies and see if the policy is listed.

Except for static self IP addresses, the entire set of BIG-IP configuration data including ASM™ security policies and configuration is replicated on one or more devices in the ASM-enabled device group. If the active device is not available, the standby device becomes active and handles traffic.

You can create new security policies or update existing ones on any of the devices in the group, or update the ASM configuration options. You can manually synchronize changes you make on one device with the other devices in the ASM-enabled device group.

Implementation result

You have set up disaster recovery for multiple BIG-IP® systems running Application Security Manager™ (ASM). Each office or data center has an active system and a standby that takes over if the active system should fail. You must manually synchronize the BIG-IP configuration from one system to the other if you change the configuration.

You can create new security policies or update existing ones on any of the devices in the group, or update the ASM™ configuration options (Application Security>Options). Any changes you make on one device are automatically synchronized with the other devices in the ASM-enabled Sync-Only device group.

If Attack Signatures Update Mode is scheduled for automatic update, the attack signature update settings are synchronized. Each device in the device group updates itself independently according to the configured schedule. If you manually upload attack signatures or click Upload Signatures to update from the server, the update is propagated to all of the devices in the device group.

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