Cisco Virtual Security Gateway Overview Overview

Cisco Virtual Security Gateway Overview Overview
Cisco Virtual Security Gateway Overview
This chapter contains the following sections:
• Information About the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway, page 1
Information About the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway
Overview
The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) is a virtual firewall appliance that provides trusted access to virtual
data center and cloud environments. The Cisco VSG enables a broad set of multitenant workloads that have
varied security profiles to share a common compute infrastructure in a virtual data center private cloud or in
a public cloud. By associating one or more virtual machines (VMs) into distinct trust zones, the Cisco VSG
ensures that access to trust zones is controlled and monitored through established security policies.
Integrated with either the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch or the Cisco Cloud Service Platform and running
on the Cisco NX-OS operating system, the Cisco VSG provides the following benefits:
• Trusted multitenant access—Zone-based control and monitoring with context-aware security policies
in a multitenant (scale-out) environment to strengthen regulatory compliance and simplify audits. Security
policies are organized into security profile templates to simplify their management and deployment
across many Cisco VSGs.
• Dynamic operation—On-demand provisioning of security templates and trust zones during VM
instantiation and mobility-transparent enforcement and monitoring as live migration of VMs occur across
different physical servers.
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VSG Models
• Nondisruptive administration—Administrative segregation across security and server teams that provides
collaboration, eliminates administrative errors, and simplifies audits.
Figure 1: Trusted Zone-Based Access Control Using Per-Tenant Enforcement with the Cisco VSG
The Cisco VSG does the following:
• Provides compliance with industry regulations.
• Simplifies audit processes in virtualized environments.
• Reduces costs by securely deploying virtualized workloads across multiple tenants on a shared compute
infrastructure, whether in virtual data centers or private/public cloud computing environments.
VSG Models
The Cisco VSG is available in three different models (small, medium, and large) based on the memory, number
of virtual CPUs, and CPU speed. Currently, the small model type is supported on Microsoft Hyper-V. The
following table lists the available Cisco VSG models, :
Table 1: VSG Models
VSG Models
Memory
CPU Speed
Number of Virtual CPUs
Small
2 GB
1.0 GHz
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Product Architecture
Product Architecture
The Cisco VSG operates with the Cisco Nexus 1000V in the Microsoft Hyper-V, and the Cisco VSG leverages
the virtual network service datapath (vPath) that is embedded in the Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Ethernet
Module (VEM).
The vPath steers traffic, whether external to VM or VM to VM, to the Cisco VSG of a tenant. Initial packet
processing occurs in the Cisco VSG for policy evaluation and enforcement. After the policy decision is made,
the Cisco VSG off-loads the policy enforcement of remaining packets to vPath. vPath supports the following
features:
• Intelligent interception and redirection—Tenant-aware flow classification and subsequent redirection
to a designated Cisco VSG tenant
• Fast-path off-load—Per-tenant policy enforcement of flows off-loaded by the Cisco VSG to vPath
The Cisco VSG and Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM) provide the following benefits:
• Efficient deployment—Each Cisco VSG can protect access and traffic across multiple physical servers,
which eliminates the need to deploy one virtual appliance per physical server.
• Performance optimization—By off-loading fast-path to one or more Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM vPath
modules, the Cisco VSG enhances network performance through distributed vPath-based enforcement.
• Operational simplicity—The Cisco VSG can be transparently inserted in one-arm mode without creating
multiple switches or temporarily migrating VMs to different switches or servers. Zone scaling is based
on a security profile, not on vNICs that are limited for the virtual appliance. Zone scaling simplifies
physical server upgrades without compromising security and incurring application outage.
• High availability—For each tenant, the Cisco VSG can be deployed in an active-standby mode to ensure
a highly available operating environment, with vPath redirecting packets to the standby Cisco VSG
when the primary Cisco VSG is unavailable.
• Independent capacity planning—The Cisco VSG can be placed on a dedicated server that is controlled
by the security operations team so that maximum compute capacity can be allocated to application
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Fast Path Connection Timeouts
workloads. Capacity planning can occur independently across server and security teams, and operational
segregation across security, network, and server teams can be maintained.
Figure 2: Cisco Virtual Security Gateway Deployment Topology
Fast Path Connection Timeouts
When a VEM sees a packet for a protected VM for the first time, the VEM redirects the packet to the Cisco
VSG to determine what action needs to be taken (for example, permit, drop, or reset). After the decision is
made, both the Cisco VSG and VEM save the connection information and the action for a period of time.
During this time, packets for this connection follow the same action without any extra policy lookup. This
connection is a connection in a fast path mode. Depending on the traffic and the action, the amount of time
that a connection stays in the fast path mode varies. The following table provides the timeout details for the
connections in the fast path mode.
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Fast Path Connection Timeouts
Table 2: Fast Path Connection Timeouts
Protocol
Connection State
Time Out
TCP
Close with FIN and ACKACK
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
Close with RST
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
Action drop
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
Action reset
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
Idle
VEM—36–60 secs
VSG—630–930 secs
UDP
Action drop
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
Action reset
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
Idle
VEM—8–12 secs
VSG—240–360 secs
Destination Unreachable
VEM—4 secs
VSG—4 secs
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Trusted Multitenant Access
Protocol
Connection State
Time Out
L3/ICMP
Action drop
VEM—2 secs
VSG—2 secs
Action reset
VEM—2 secs
VSG—2 secs
Idle
VEM—8–12 secs
VSG—16–24 secs
L2 (for example, IPv6)
Action drop
VEM—2 secs
VSG—2 secs
Action reset
VEM—2 secs
VSG—2 secs
Idle
VEM—8–12 secs
VSG—12–18 secs
Trusted Multitenant Access
You can transparently insert a Cisco VSG into the Microsoft Hyper-V environment where the Cisco Nexus
1000V distributed virtual switch is deployed. One or more instances of the Cisco VSG is deployed on a
per-tenant basis, which allows a high scale-out deployment across many tenants. Tenants are isolated from
each other, so no traffic can cross tenant boundaries. You can deploy the Cisco VSG at the tenant level, at the
virtual data center level, and at the vApp level.
As VMs are instantiated for a given tenant, their association to security profiles and zone membership occurs
immediately through binding with the Cisco Nexus 1000V port profile. Each VM is placed upon instantiation
into a logical trust zone. Security profiles contain context-aware rule sets that specify access policies for traffic
that enters and exits each zone. Controls are applied to zone-to-zone traffic as well as to external-to-zone (and
zone-to-external) traffic. Zone-based enforcement can also occur within a VLAN, as a VLAN often identifies
a tenant boundary. The Cisco VSG evaluates access control rules and then, if configured, off-loads enforcement
to the Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM vPath module. The Cisco VSG can permit or deny access and optional access
logs can be generated. The Cisco VSG also provides a policy-based traffic monitoring capability with access
logs.
A Cisco VSG tenant can protect its VMs that span multiple hypervisors. Each tenant can also be assigned
with an overlapping (private) IP address space, which is important in multitenant cloud environments.
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Dynamic (Virtualization-Aware) Operation
Dynamic (Virtualization-Aware) Operation
A virtualization environment is dynamic, where frequent additions, deletions, and changes occur across tenants
and across VMs. Additionally, live migration of VMs can occur due to manual or programmatic VM motion
events. The following figure shows how a structured environment can change over time due to this dynamic
VM environment.
The Cisco VSG operating with the Cisco Nexus 1000V (and vPath) supports a dynamic VM environment.
Typically, when you create a tenant on the Cisco Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) with the
Cisco VSG (standalone or active-standby pair), associated security profiles are defined that include trust zone
definitions and access control rules. Each security profile is bound to a Cisco Nexus 1000V port profile
(authored on the Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Supervisor Module [VSM] and published to the Microsoft
SCVMM). When a new VM is instantiated, the server administrator assigns port profiles to the virtual Ethernet
port of the VM. Because the port profile uniquely refers to a security profile and VM zone membership,
security controls are immediately applied. A VM can be repurposed by assigning a different port profile or
security profile.
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Cisco VSG on the Cisco Cloud Service Platform Virtual Services Appliance
As VM motion events are triggered, VMs move across physical servers. Because the Cisco Nexus 1000V
ensures that port profile policies follow the VMs, associated security profiles also follow these moving VMs,
and security enforcement and monitoring remain transparent to VM motion events.
Figure 3: Cisco VSG Security in a Dynamic VM Environment, Including VM Live Migration
Cisco VSG on the Cisco Cloud Service Platform Virtual Services Appliance
The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) can be hosted on a Cisco Cloud Service Platform Virtual Services
Appliance. The Cisco Cloud Service Platform hosts up to six virtual service blades (VSBs) that can be
configured as a Cisco Network Analysis Module (NAM), a Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM), or a Cisco
VSG. VSMs that had been hosted on Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines can be hosted on the Cisco Service
Platform.
Software for the Cisco VSG comes bundled with the other software for the Cisco Cloud Service Platform,
which includes the kickstart image and a hypervisor. The software for implementing the Cisco VSG on the
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Cisco VSG on the Cisco Cloud Service Platform Virtual Services Appliance
Cisco Cloud Service Platform is included with the software for creating the VSB and is stored in the bootflash
repository.
The following figure compares running the VSM and Cisco VSG on a Cisco Cloud Service Platform with
running the VSM and Cisco VSG on a VM.
Figure 4: VM and Cisco Cloud Service Platform Comparison
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Cisco VSG Deployment Scenarios
The following figure shows the Cisco Cloud Service Platform software components and how they relate to
the Cisco VSG.
Figure 5: Cisco Cloud Service Platform Software Components
For more information about the Cisco Cloud Service Platform, see the Cisco Cloud Service Platform Software
Configuration Guide.
Cisco VSG Deployment Scenarios
The current release supports the Cisco VSG deployment in the Layer 3 mode. The VEM and the Cisco VSG
communicate with each other through a special virtual network interface called the Virtual Network Adapter.
This Virtual Network Adapter is created by an administrator.
VEM Interface for a Cisco VSG in the Layer 3 Mode
When a VEM has a VM that is protected by the Cisco VSG in the Layer 3 mode, the VEM requires at least
one IP/MAC pair to terminate the Cisco VSG packets in the Layer 3 mode. The VEM acts as an IP host (not
a router) and supports only the IPv4 addresses.
Similar to how VEM Layer 3 Control is configured, the IP address to use for communication with the Cisco
VSG in the Layer 3 mode is configured by assigning a port profile to a Virtual Network Adapter that has the
capability l3-vservice command in it. For more details, see the Cisco Nexus 1000V System Management
Configuration Guide.
To configure the Virtual Network Adapter interface that the VEM uses, you can assign a port profile by using
the capability l3-vservice command in the port-profile configuration.
To carry the Cisco VSG in the Layer 3 mode traffic over multiple uplinks (or subgroups) in server configurations
where vPC-HM MAC-pinning is required, you can configure up to four Virtual Network Adapters. We
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Cisco VSG Network Virtual Service
recommend that you assign all the Virtual Network Adapters in the Layer 3 mode within the same Microsoft
Server host to the same port profile by using the capability l3-vservice command.
The traffic in the Layer 3 mode that is sourced by local vEthernet interfaces and needs to be redirected to the
Cisco VSG is distributed between these Virtual Network Adapters based on the source MAC addresses in
their frames. The VEM automatically pins the multiple Virtual Network Adapters in the Layer 3 mode to
separate uplinks. If an uplink fails, the VEM automatically repins the Virtual Network Adapters to a working
uplink.
When encapsulated traffic that is destined to a Cisco VSG is connected to a different subnet other than the
Virtual Network Adapter subnet, the VEM does not use the Hyper-V host routing table. Instead, the Virtual
Network Adapter initiates an ARP for the remote Cisco VSG IP addresses. You must configure the upstream
router to respond to a VSG IP address ARP request by using the Proxy ARP feature.
Cisco vPath
vPath is embedded in the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch VEM. It intercepts the VM to VM traffic and
then redirects the traffic to the appropriate virtual service node. For details, see the Cisco vPath and vServices
Reference Guide for Microsoft Hyper-V.
Cisco VSG Network Virtual Service
The Cisco network virtual service (vservice) is supported by the Cisco Nexus 1000V using the vPath. It
provides trusted multitenant access and supports the VM mobility across physical servers for workload
balancing, availability, or scalability. For details, see the Cisco vPath and vServices Reference Guide for
Microsoft Hyper-V.
Cisco Virtual Security Gateway Configuration for the Network
Cisco VSG Configuration Overview
When you install a Cisco VSG on a virtualized data center network, you must change the configuration of
the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch VSM and the Cisco VSG.
Note
For information about how to configure the Cisco VSG for the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch and the
Cisco Cloud Service Platform Virtual Services Appliance, see the Cisco vPath and vServices Reference
Guide for Microsoft Hyper-V.
Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switch VSM
The VSM controls multiple VEMs as one logical modular switch. Instead of physical line cards, the VSM
supports VEMs that run in software inside servers. Configurations are performed through the VSM and are
automatically propagated to the VEMs. Instead of configuring soft switches inside the hypervisor on one host
at a time, you can define configurations for immediate use on all VEMs that are managed by the VSM.
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Port Profile
In the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch, you use port profiles to configure interfaces. Through a management
interface on the VSM, you can assign a port profile to multiple interfaces, which provides all of them with
the same configuration. Changes to the port profile can be propagated automatically to the configuration of
any interface assigned to it.
In the Microsoft Hyper-V Server, a port profile is represented as a port group. The virtual Ethernet or Ethernet
interfaces are assigned in the Hyper-V Server to a port profile for the following functions:
• To define a port configuration by a policy.
• To apply a single policy across many ports.
• To support both vEthernet and Ethernet ports.
Port profiles that are not configured as uplinks can be assigned to a VM virtual port. When binding with a
security profile and a Cisco VSG IP address, a VM port profile can be used to provision security services
(such as for VM segmentation) provided by a Cisco VSG.
Virtual Security Gateway
The Cisco VSG for the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch is a virtual firewall appliance that provides trusted
access to the virtual data center and cloud environments. Administrators can install a Cisco VSG on a host as
a service VM and configure it with security profiles and firewall policies to provide VM segmentation and
other firewall functions to protect the access to VMs.
Security Profile
The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch port profile dynamically provisions network parameters for each VM.
The same policy provisioning carries the network service configuration information so that each VM is
dynamically provisioned with the network service policies when the VM is attached to the port profile. This
process is similar to associating access control list (ACL) or quality of service (QoS) policies in the port
profile. The information related to the network service configuration is created in an independent profile called
the security profile and is attached to the port profile. The security administrator creates the security profile
in the Cisco VSG, and the network administrator associates it to an appropriate port profile in the VSM.
The security profile defines custom attributes that can be used to write policies. All the VMs tagged with a
given port profile inherit the firewall policies and custom attributes defined in the security profile associated
with that port profile. Each custom attribute is configured as a name value pair, such as state = CA. The
network administrator also binds the associated Cisco VSG for a given port profile. The Cisco VSG associated
with the port profile enforces firewall policies for the network traffic of the application VMs that are bound
to that port profile. The same Cisco VSG is used irrespective of the location of the application VM. As a
result, the policy is consistently enforced even during the VM motion procedures. You can also bind a specific
policy to a service profile so that if any traffic is bound to a service profile, the policy associated with that
service profile is executed. Both the service plane and the management plane support multi-tenancy
requirements. Different tenants can have their own Cisco VSG (or set of Cisco VSGs), which enforce the
policy defined by them. The vPath in each Hyper-V host can intelligently redirect tenant traffic to the appropriate
Cisco VSG.
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Firewall Policy
You can use a firewall policy to enforce network traffic on a Cisco VSG. A key component of the Cisco VSG
is the policy engine. The policy engine uses the policy as a configuration that filters the network traffic that
is received on the Cisco VSG.
A policy is bound to a Cisco VSG by using a set of indirect associations. The security administrator can
configure a security profile and then refer to a policy name within the security profile. The security profile is
associated with a port profile that has a reference to a Cisco VSG.
A policy is constructed using the following set of policy objects:
• Object Groups
• Zones
• Rules
• Actions
Object Groups
An object group is a set of conditions relevant to an attribute. Because object groups and zones can be shared
between various rules with different directions, the attributes used in an object group condition should not
have a directional sense and must be neutral. An object group is a secondary policy object that assists in
writing firewall rules. A rule condition can refer to an object group by using an operator.
Rules
Firewall rules can consist of multiple conditions and actions. Rules can be defined in a policy as a
condition-based subnet or endpoint IP addresses and attributes.
Actions
Actions are the result of a policy evaluation. You can define and associate one or more of the following actions
within a specified rule:
• Permit
• Drop packet
• Reset
• Log
• Inspection
Policies
A policy enforces network traffic on a Cisco VSG. A key component operating on the Cisco VSG is the policy
engine. The policy engine takes the policy as a configuration and executes it when enforced against the network
traffic that is received on the Cisco VSG. A policy is constructed by using the following set of policy objects:
• Rules
• Conditions
• Actions
• Objects groups
• Zones
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A policy is bound to a Cisco VSG by using a set of indirect associations. The security administrator can
configure a security profile and then refer to a policy name within the security profile. The security profile is
associated with a port profile that has a reference to a Cisco VSG.
Service Firewall Logging
The service firewall log is a tool to test and debug the policy. During a policy evaluation, the policy engine
displays the policy results of a policy evaluation. Both the users and the policy writer benefit from this tool
when troubleshooting a policy.
Sequence in Configuring a Cisco VSG in the Layer 3 Mode
Before configuring a Cisco VSG in Layer 3 mode, create a Layer 3 Virtual Network Adapter
This section is an overview of the sequences that you, as an administrator, must follow when configuring a
Cisco VSG in Layer 3 mode:
1 Install and set up a Cisco VNMC service VM and configure the Cisco VNMC with a valid IP address.
2 If you plan to use custom attributes in the firewall policy, create a set of custom attributes in a security
profile configuration on the Cisco VNMC.
3 Write a firewall policy on the Cisco VNMC by using appropriate policy objects such as object groups,
zones, rules, conditions, actions, and policies.
4 After the firewall policy is created, bind the policy to the security profile that was previously created on
the Cisco VNMC.
5 Bring up a Cisco VSG and associate it to the appropriate compute firewall on the Cisco VNMC.
6 Configure the Virtual Network Adapters for the Layer 3 mode Cisco VSG encapsulation.
7 Define the vservice node.
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8 After the security profile and firewall policy are fully configured, you can bind the security profile and
the service node with the VM port profiles that demand access protection provided by the Cisco VSG
through the port profile management interface on the VSM.
Figure 6: Cisco Virtual Security Gateway Layer 3 Configuration Flow
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