Service Card Clustering for Enterprise Core Switching

 

Executive Summary

  • Service module clustering, enabled Data Center customers to scale firewall from 20Gbps to 160Gbps.
  • Service module (ASASM) is used for firewall/vpn services in Cat6K

 

Requirements

  • Design Clustering of ASASM service modules of cat6K
  • The clustering solution should support both Intra chassis and Inter chassis clustering (VSS)
  • The clustering solution should not require any hardware change in any of the components of cat6K
  • The clustering solution should provide single point of configuration and configuration.
  • Clustering should support N+1 HA
  • Clustering should support both single and multi-context firewalls
  • A linear 0.7 to 0.8 scaling factor for both total connections and throughput

 

Challenges

  • The design had to cater to multiple product lines like:
    • ASA appliance
    • ASASM modules of Cat6K
    • Agni modules of Nexus 7K.
  • ASA appliance clustering solution was in deploymentbut the original ASA clustering solution did not have provision for using the solution on other products.
  • First the existing solution had to be re-architected to create separation of control/data path and also to create abstraction layers so that multiple products can be supported.
  • The solution had to cater to products with different hardware capabilities and for different deployment scenarios
  • Agni module was under development and base platform software was undergoing lot of changes.
  • Collaborate the with Multiple business unitseach spread across multiple locations and synchronize design, development and testing phase.
  • Explain and get buy in from product management for some of the feature and performance limitations.

 

Solution

  • Modular design and abstraction layers to enable multiple products with diverse hardware capability to use common management and control plane code
  • Flow load balancing and Flow backup algorithm that enables one to use simple hash based load balancer.
  • The algorithm enabled implementation of clustering of service modules using pre-existing ether-channel support on SUP-2T backplane.
  • Single physical channel used for both control and data traffic with Igxge priority scheduler.
  • Abstract cluster unit that could be appliance, a service module or a processor cluster in a service module.

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