A Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) configuration can be used as a high availability solution to make sure that a network maintains connectivity with the Internet (or with other networks) even if the default router for the network fails. Using VRRP, if a router or a FortiGate unit fails all traffic to this router transparently fails over to another router or FortiGate unit that takes over the role of the router or FortiGate unit that failed. If the failed router or FortiGate unit is restored, it will once again take over processing traffic for the network. VRRP is described by RFC 3768.
Example VRRP configuration
To configure VRRP you create a VRRP group that contains two or more routers. Some or all of these routers can be FortiGate units. You can include different FortiGate models in the same VRRP group. The group members are configured to be the master router and one or more backup routers of the VRRP group. The network directs all traffic to the master’s IP address and MAC address. If the master fails, VRRP dynamically shifts packet forwarding to a backup router. VRRP provides this redundancy without user intervention or additional configuration to any of the devices on the network.
The VRRP redundancy scheme means that devices on the network keep a single IP address for the default gateway and this IP address maps to a well-known virtual MAC address. If the VRRP master fails, one of the backup units becomes the new master and acquires virtual IP and MAC addresses that match the addresses of the master. The network then automatically directs all traffic to the backup unit. VRRP uses the broadcast capabilities of Ethernet networks. A long as one of the routers in a VRRP group is running, ARP requests for the default gateway IP address always receive replies. Additionally, hosts can send packets outside their subnet without interruption.
FortiGate units support VRRP and can be quickly and easily integrated into a network that has already deployed a group of routers using VRRP. You can also create a new VRRP configuration consisting of a FortiGate unit acting as a VRRP master with one or more VRRP-compatible routers acting as backup routers. Some or all of those backup routers can be FortiGate units.
During normal operation the VRRP master unit sends VRRP advertisement messages to the backup units. A backup unit will not attempt to become a master unit while it is receiving these messages. When a FortiGate unit operating as a VRRP master fails, a backup unit takes its place and continues processing network traffic. The backup unit assumes the master unit has failed if it stops receiving the advertisement messages from the master unit. The backup unit with the highest priority becomes the new master unit after a short delay. During this delay the new master unit sends gratuitous ARPs to the network to map the virtual router IP address it its MAC address. As a result, all packets sent to the default route IP address are sent the new master unit. If the backup unit is a FortiGate unit, the network continues to benefit from FortiOS security features. If the backup unit is a router, after a failure traffic will continue to flow, but FortiOS security features will be unavailable until the FortiGate unit is back on line.
During a VRRP failover, as the backup unit starts to forward traffic it will not have session information for all of the failed over in-progress sessions. If the backup unit is operating as a normal FortiGate unit it will not be able to forward this traffic because of the lack of session information. To resolve this problem, immediately after a failover and for a short time as its taking over traffic processing, the backup unit operates with asymmetric routing enabled. This allows the backup unit to re-create all of the in-progress sessions and add them to the session table. While operating with asymmetric routing enabled, the backup unit cannot apply security functions. When the start-time ends the backup unit disables asymmetric routing and returns to normal operation including applying security functions.
Adding a VRRP virtual router to a FortiGate interface
Use the following command to add a VRRP virtual router to the port10 interface of a FortiGate unit. This VRRP virtual router has a virtual router ID of 200, uses IP address 10.31.101.200 and has a priority of 255. Since this is the highest priority this interface is configured to be the master of the VRRP group with ID number 200.
VRRP can be configured only on physical interfaces or VLAN interfaces. You cannot configure VRRP on hardware-switch interfaces where multiple physical interfaces are combined into a hardware switch interface.
config system interface edit port10
config vrrp edit 200
set vrip 10.31.101.200 set priority 255
VRRP virtual MAC address
The VRRP virtual MAC address (or virtual router MAC address) is a shared MAC address adopted by the VRRP master. If the master fails the same virtual MAC master fails over to the new master. As a result, all packets for VRRP routers can continue to use the same virtual MAC address. You must enable the VRRP virtual MAC address feature on all members of a VRRP group.
Each VRRP router is associated with its own virtual MAC address. The last part of the virtual MAC depends on the VRRP virtual router ID using the following format:
Where <VRID_hex> is the VRRP virtual router ID in hexadecimal format in internet standard bit-order. For more information about the format of the virtual MAC see RFC 3768.
- If the VRRP virtual router ID is 10 the virtual MAC would be 00-00-5E-00-01-0a.
- If the VRRP virtual router ID is 200 the virtual MAC would be 00-00-5E-00-01-c8.
The VRRP virtual MAC address feature is disabled by default. Wen you enable the feature on a FortiGate interface, all of the VRRP routers added to that interface use their own VRRP virtual MAC address. Each virtual MAC address will be different because each virtual router has its own ID.
Use the following command to enable the VRRP virtual MAC address on the port2 interface:
config system interface edit port2
set vrrp-virtual-mac enable end
The port2 interface will now accept packets sent to the MAC addresses of the VRRP virtual routers added to this interface.
Using the VRRP virtual MAC address can improve network efficiency especially on large and complex LANs because when a failover occurs devices on the LAN do not have to learn a new MAC address for the new VRRP router.
If the VRRP virtual MAC address feature is disabled, the VRRP group uses the MAC address of the master. In the case of a FortiGate VRRP virtual router this is the MAC address of the FortiGate interface that the VRRP virtual routers are added to. If a master fails, when the new master takes over it sends gratuitous ARPs to associate the VRRP virtual router IP address with the MAC address of the new master (or the interface of the FortiGate unit that has become the new master). If the VRRP virtual MAC address is enabled the new master uses the same MAC address as the old master.
A VRRP group includes all the relevant VRRP IDs and tracks the VRRP status to force the status of all group members if a VRRP domain is changed from master to backup. VRRP groups are configured through the CLI. The VRRP group ID can be between 1 and 65535. Use the following command to add a VRRP group to the port20 interface that includes the virtual route identifiers 25, 50, 66 and 70 to VRRP group 10
config system interface edit port20
config vrrp edit 25
set vrgrp 10 next
set vrgrp 10 next
set vrgrp 10v next
set vrgrp 10
Using a Second Destination IP (VRDST)
VRRP can now be configured with second destination IP (VRDST) for monitoring. When two IPs are used, VRRP failure will only be reported if both monitored IPs are down.
Use the following command to configure a second destination IP (VRDST) to port14:
config system interface edit port14
config vrrp edit 12
set vrdst 10.10.10.20 10.20.20.10
Having trouble configuring your Fortinet hardware or have some questions you need answered? Check Out The Fortinet Guru Youtube Channel! Want someone else to deal with it for you? Get some consulting from Fortinet GURU!
Don't Forget To visit the YouTube Channel for the latest Fortinet Training Videos and Question / Answer sessions!
- FortinetGuru YouTube Channel
- FortiSwitch Training Videos
Cybersecurity Videos and Training Available Via: Office of The CISO Security Training Videos