Virtual clusters

Virtual clusters

This chapter provides an introduction to virtual clustering and also contains general procedures and configuration examples that describe how to configure FortiGate HA virtual clustering.


Virtual clustering overview

Virtual clustering is an extension of the FGCP for a cluster of 2 FortiGate units operating with multiple VDOMS enabled. Virtual clustering operates in active-passive mode to provide failover protection between two instances of a VDOM operating on two different cluster units. You can also operate virtual clustering in active-active mode to use HA load balancing to load balance sessions between cluster units. Alternatively, by distributing VDOM processing between the two cluster units you can also configure virtual clustering to provide load balancing by distributing sessions for different VDOMs to each cluster unit.

The figure below shows an example virtual cluster configuration consisting of two FortiGate units. The virtual cluster has two virtual domains, root and Eng_vdm.

The root virtual domain includes the port1 and port2 interfaces. The Eng_vdm virtual domain includes the port5 and port6 interfaces. The port3 and port4 interfaces (not shown in the diagram) are the HA heartbeat interfaces.

FortiGate virtual clustering is limited to a cluster of 2 FortiGate units with multiple VDOMs enabled. If you want to create a cluster of more than 2 FortiGate units oper- ating with multiple VDOMS you could consider other solutions that either do not include multiple VDOMs in one cluster or employ a feature such as standalone session synchronization. See FortiGate Session Life Support Protocol (FGSP) on page 1579.


Virtual clustering and failover protection

Virtual clustering operates on a cluster of two (and only two) FortiGate units with VDOMs enabled. Each VDOM creates a cluster between instances of the VDOMs on the two FortiGate units in the virtual cluster. All traffic to and from the VDOM stays within the VDOM and is processed by the VDOM. One cluster unit is the primary unit for each VDOM and one cluster unit is the subordinate unit for each VDOM. The primary unit processes all traffic for the VDOM. The subordinate unit does not process traffic for the VDOM. If a cluster unit fails, all traffic fails over to the cluster unit that is still operating.


Virtual clustering and heartbeat interfaces

The HA heartbeat provides the same HA services in a virtual clustering configuration as in a standard HA configuration. One set of HA heartbeat interfaces provides HA heartbeat services for all of the VDOMs in the cluster. You do not have to add a heartbeat interface for each VDOM.


Virtual clustering and HA override

For a virtual cluster configuration, override is enabled by default for both virtual clusters when you:

  • Enable VDOM partionning from the web-based manager by moving virtual domains to virtual cluster 2
  • Enter set vcluster2 enable from the CLI config system ha command to enable virtual cluster 2.

Usually you would enable virtual cluster 2 and expect one cluster unit to be the primary unit for virtual cluster 1 and the other cluster unit to be the primary unit for virtual cluster 2. For this distribution to occur override must be enabled for both virtual clusters. Otherwise you will need to restart the cluster to force it to renegotiate.

If override is enabled the cluster may renegotiate too often.You can choose to disable override at any time. If you decide to disable override, for best results, you should dis- able it for both cluster units.

For more information about HA override see HA override.

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