HA interface monitoring, link failover, and redundant interfaces

HA interface monitoring, link failover, and redundant interfaces

HA interface monitoring monitors the redundant interface as a single interface and does not monitor the individual physical interfaces in the redundant interface. HA interface monitoring registers the redundant interface to have failed only if all the physical interfaces in the redundant interface have failed. If only some of the physical interfaces in the redundant interface fail or become disconnected, HA considers the redundant interface to be operating normally.


HA MAC addresses and redundant interfaces

For a standalone FortiGate unit a redundant interface has the MAC address of the first physical interface added to the redundant interface configuration. A redundant interface consisting of port1 and port2 would have the MAC address of port1.

In an HA cluster, HA changes the MAC addresses of the cluster interfaces to virtual MAC addresses. A redundant interface in a cluster acquires the virtual MAC address that would have been acquired by the first physical interface added to the redundant interface configuration.


Connecting multiple redundant interfaces to one switch while operating in active-passive HA mode

HA assigns the same virtual MAC addresses to the subordinate unit interfaces as are assigned to the corresponding primary unit interfaces. Consider a cluster of two FortiGate units operating in active-passive mode with a redundant interface consisting of port1 and port2. You can connect multiple redundant interfaces to the same switch if you configure the switch so that it defines multiple separate redundant interfaces and puts the redundant interfaces of each cluster unit into separate redundant interfaces. In this configuration, each cluster unit forms a separate redundant interface with the switch.

However, if the switch is configured with a single four-port redundant interface configuration, because the same MAC addresses are being used by both cluster units, the switch adds all four interfaces (port1 and port2 from the primary unit and port1 and port2 from the subordinate unit) to the same redundant interface.

To avoid unpredictable results, when you connect a switch to multiple redundant interfaces in an active-passive cluster you should configure separate redundant interfaces on the switch; one for each cluster unit.

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2 thoughts on “HA interface monitoring, link failover, and redundant interfaces

    1. Mike Post author

      FortiGates have the ability to have “redundant interfaces”. This gives you redundancy in the event the primary link fails (without using other protocols like port channel etc). So if port 1 and 2 are part of a redundant link on the fortigate, if link 1 goes down, link 2 takes over and the primary fortigate will remain primary, unless you have your failover minimums set to do otherwise)


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