Link failover (port monitoring or interface monitoring)

Link failover (port monitoring or interface monitoring)

Link failover means that if a monitored interface fails, the cluster reorganizes to reestablish a link to the network that the monitored interface was connected to and to continue operating with minimal or no disruption of network traffic.

You configure monitored interfaces (also called interface monitoring or port monitoring) by selecting the interfaces to monitor as part of the cluster HA configuration.

You can monitor up to 64 interfaces.

The interfaces that you can monitor appear on the port monitor list. You can monitor all FortiGate interfaces including redundant interfaces and 802.3ad aggregate interfaces.

You cannot monitor the following types of interfaces (you cannot select the interfaces on the port monitor list):

  • FortiGate interfaces that contain an internal switch.
  • VLAN subinterfaces.
  • IPsec VPN interfaces.
  • Individual physical interfaces that have been added to a redundant or 802.3ad aggregate interface.
  • FortiGate-5000 series backplane interfaces that have not been configured as network interfaces.

If you are configuring a virtual cluster you can create a different port monitor configuration for each virtual cluster. Usually for each virtual cluster you would monitor the interfaces that have been added to the virtual domains in each virtual cluster.

Wait until after the cluster is up and running to enable interface monitoring. You do not need to configure interface monitoring to get a cluster up and running and interface monitoring will cause failovers if for some reason during initial setup a monitored interface has become disconnected. You can always enable interface monitoring once you have verified that the cluster is connected and operating properly.

You should only monitor interfaces that are connected to networks, because a failover may occur if you monitor an unconnected interface.

 

To enable interface monitoring – web-based manager

Use the following steps to monitor the port1 and port2 interfaces of a cluster.

1. Connect to the cluster web-based manager.

2. Go to System > HA and edit the primary unit (Role is MASTER).

3. Select the Port Monitor check boxes for the port1 and port2 interfaces and select OK.

The configuration change is synchronized to all cluster units.

 

To enable interface monitoring – CLI

Use the following steps to monitor the port1 and port2 interfaces of a cluster.

1. Connect to the cluster CLI.

2. Enter the following command to enable interface monitoring for port1 and port2.

configure system ha

set monitor port1 port2 end

The following example shows how to enable monitoring for the external, internal, and DMZ interfaces.

 

config system ha

set monitor external internal dmz end

With interface monitoring enabled, during cluster operation, the cluster monitors each cluster unit to determine if the monitored interfaces are operating and connected. Each cluster unit can detect a failure of its network interface hardware. Cluster units can also detect if its network interfaces are disconnected from the switch they should be connected to.

Cluster units cannot determine if the switch that its interfaces are connected to is still con- nected to the network. However, you can use remote IP monitoring to make sure that the cluster unit can connect to downstream network devices. See Remote link failover on page 1534.

Because the primary unit receives all traffic processed by the cluster, a cluster can only process traffic from a network if the primary unit can connect to it. So, if the link between a network and the primary unit fails, to maintain communication with this network, the cluster must select a different primary unit; one that is still connected to the network. Unless another link failure has occurred, the new primary unit will have an active link to the network and will be able to maintain communication with it.

To support link failover, each cluster unit stores link state information for all monitored cluster units in a link state database. All cluster units keep this link state database up to date by sharing link state information with the other cluster units. If one of the monitored interfaces on one of the cluster units becomes disconnected or fails, this information is immediately shared with all cluster units.

 

If a monitored interface on the primary unit fails

If a monitored interface on the primary unit fails, the cluster renegotiates to select a new primary unit using the process described in An introduction to the FGCP on page 1310. Because the cluster unit with the failed monitored interface has the lowest monitor priority, a different cluster unit becomes the primary unit. The new primary unit should have fewer link failures.

After the failover, the cluster resumes and maintains communication sessions in the same way as for a device failure. See Device failover on page 1499.

 

If a monitored interface on a subordinate unit fails

If a monitored interface on a subordinate unit fails, this information is shared with all cluster units. The cluster does not renegotiate. The subordinate unit with the failed monitored interface continues to function in the cluster.

In an active-passive cluster after a subordinate unit link failover, the subordinate unit continues to function normally as a subordinate unit in the cluster.

In an active-active cluster after a subordinate unit link failure:

  • The subordinate unit with the failed monitored interface can continue processing connections between functioning interfaces. However, the primary unit stops sending sessions to a subordinate unit that use any failed monitored interfaces on the subordinate unit.
  • If session pickup is enabled, all sessions being processed by the subordinate unit failed interface that can be failed over are failed over to other cluster units. Sessions that cannot be failed over are lost and have to be restarted.
  • If session pickup is not enabled all sessions being processed by the subordinate unit failed interface are lost.

 

How link failover maintains traffic flow

Monitoring an interface means that the interface is connected to a high priority network. As a high priority network, the cluster should maintain traffic flow to and from the network, even if a link failure occurs. Because the primary unit receives all traffic processed by the cluster, a cluster can only process traffic from a network if the primary unit can connect to it. So, if the link that the primary unit has to a high priority network fails, to maintain traffic flow to and from this network, the cluster must select a different primary unit. This new primary unit should have an active link to the high priority network.

A link failure causes a cluster to select a new primary unit

If a monitored interface on the primary unit fails, the cluster renegotiates and selects the cluster unit with the highest monitor priority to become the new primary unit. The cluster unit with the highest monitor priority is the cluster unit with the most monitored interfaces connected to networks.

After a link failover, the primary unit processes all traffic and all subordinate units, even the cluster unit with the link failure, share session and link status. In addition all configuration changes, routes, and IPsec SAs are synchronized to the cluster unit with the link failure.

In an active-active cluster, the primary unit load balances traffic to all the units in the cluster. The cluster unit with the link failure can process connections between its functioning interfaces (for, example if the cluster has connections to an internal, external, and DMZ network, the cluster unit with the link failure can still process connections between the external and DMZ networks).


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