Nov
06

High availability solutions often utilize virtual gateway protocol to avoid single point of failure. We are going to discuss high availability for the IPsec tunnel in the sample topology presented below. In this topology we need to protect traffic between VLAN67 and VLAN58 travelling across VLAN146 segment. In order to accomplish this, we will configure R6 to establish an IPsec tunnel with a virtual gateway representing both R1 and R4.

IPsec HA Scenario

On the diagram, R1 and R4 represent a HSRP virtual gateway with the IP address “155.1.145.254” (VIP – virtual IP). Let’s assume R1 is the primary router in the group, used by R6 to reach the subnet behind R5. (We will discuss the routing options to achieve this below). Since R1 is the primary router, we configure it to track the Frame-Relay cloud connection, in order to give up primary forwarder function if this connection fails. Here is the sample HSRP configuration for R1 and R4:

R1:
interface FastEthernet0/0
ip address 155.1.146.1 255.255.255.0
standby 1 ip 155.1.146.254
standby 1 timers 1 3
standby 1 priority 200
standby 1 preempt
standby 1 name VLAN146
standby 1 track Serial 0/0 110
crypto map VPN redundancy VLAN146

R4:
interface FastEthernet0/1
ip address 155.1.146.4 255.255.255.0
standby 1 ip 155.1.146.254
standby 1 timers 1 3
standby 1 preempt
standby 1 name VLAN146
crypto map VPN redundancy VLAN146

We use the simplest form of tracking, by just monitoring the interface status. This will not work properly in case of single DLCI failure. Therefore, in real-life scenarios, you may want to track a sub-interface state or use IP SLA based trackers. Note the use of a name for the standby group. This is needed by IPsec HA configuration later.

Stateless IPsec HA

The stateless IPsec HA bases on the following steps and functions.

  1. Configure crypto-map to source IPsec Phase1/Phase2 packets off the HSRP VIP. This is accomplished by applying a crypto-map under interface using the following syntax: crypto-map VPN redundancy VLAN146 binding the ISAKMP/IPsec sockets to the virtual IP address. After this, you configure the remote end (in this case – R6) to establish IPsec tunnel with the VIP address.
  2. When needed, VIP migrates from the failed router to the backup by using HSRP failover mechanics. This procedure uses HSRP timers and/or the tracking configuration in the router. If the primary router loses connection to the shared segment, it would take slightly more than the hold-time for HSRP for the backup router to take the active role. Using HSRP millisecond timers you may set this interval to a subsecond value, e.g. standby 1 timers msec 15 msec 50
  3. ISKAMP uses DPD (Dead Peer Detection) feature to detect the loss of original peer. The procedure has been suggested and standardized by Cisco in RFC 3706. DPD is a scalable way to detect remote peer failure. Instead of sending periodic “hello” packets, DPD relies on the presence of inbound traffic to verify remote peer availability. This significantly reduces the amount of management traffic in large hub-and-spoke VPN deployments. Here is how DPD works
    • Dead peer detection is only performed on demand (there is an option to make it periodic, though). Suppose we have a special interval, called DPD interval, which control the amount of time the router believes that remote end is alive, without receiving any traffic from it.
    • If the DPD interval has expired and the local router has traffic to send to the remote end, the local router will send out special ISAKMP “R-U-THERE” message. The data traffic will still be encrypted and sent out at the same time. If the remote end responds with and ACK message, the local router resets the timer and continues sending outbound traffic. Every valid input data packet will also reset the DPD interval, letting the router know that the remote end is alive.
    • If the remote peer does not respond to R-U-THERE message, the local router will retry a few times (right now, it seems to be hard-coded to 5 times), waiting the retry-timeout interval (2 seconds by default) every turn. If, after some attempts the remote end still does not respond, the local router considers the tunnel to be dead, and deletes ISAKMP/IPsec SAs. After this, the router will try to re-establish the tunnel if the new traffic triggers the respective crypto-map entry.

    Note that ISAKMP DPD and HSRP failover occurs in parallel. Default HSRP timers are usually quick enough to fall-back to the backup router, before the DPD declares remote end dead. After this, ISAKMP re-negotiation with the new active router occurs and new IPsec tunnel is established.

    (Since the version 12.3(7)T, IOS supports periodic DPD messages, which turns the protocol essentially into a keepalive mechanism. Note that periodic messages will significantly increase the amount of traffic in deployments with large number of tunnels.)

  4. Special feature that allows only the active HSRP router to inject the route for the remote subnet (in our case it’s VLAN67) into the dynamic routing protocol. In our example this means R5 should try to route towards the remote network using the proper (active) exit point. For example, if both R1 and R4 inject the default route towards R5, and R1 loses connection to VLAN146, R1 may still advertise the default route.

    This goal could be achieved using RRI (reverse route injection) and redistributing static routes into IGP (RIP in our case) on both R1 and R4. Note that this procedure may slow down convergence, as the secondary router it will take some time to inject and propagate new information through the IGP domain. In addition to that, old routing information may still exist in the domain, further slowing down the process. In situation when there is single IGP running over the whole domain and no summarization takes place the use of RRI might be redundant, as the routing information will automatically be advertised off the active router. For example, if we were running RIP up to R6, then there would be no need for RRI, since VLAN67 information will be propagated down to R5 across both routers. In this situation, you may need to tune metric values (e.g. using offset-lists with RIP) to make sure R5 prefers active router first.

Here is a sample configuration for stateless IPsec HA. Note that we tuned ISAKMP DPD times down to the minimum allowed value. R1 and R4 are configured to use VIP for ISAKMP/IPsec tunnel source, and redistribute RRI routes into RIP.

R1:
crypto isakmp policy 10
encr 3des
hash md5
authentication pre-share
!
crypto isakmp key CISCO address 155.1.146.6
crypto isakmp keepalive 10 periodic
!
!
crypto ipsec transform-set 3DES_MD5 esp-3des esp-md5-hmac
!
ip access-list extended TRAFFIC
permit ip 155.1.58.0 0.0.0.255 155.1.67.0 0.0.0.255
!
crypto map VPN 10 ipsec-isakmp
set peer 155.1.146.6
set transform-set 3DES_MD5
match address TRAFFIC
reverse-route static
!
router rip
redistribute static
!
interface FastEthernet0/0
crypto map VPN redundancy VLAN146

R4:
crypto isakmp policy 10
encr 3des
hash md5
authentication pre-share
!
crypto isakmp key CISCO address 155.1.146.6
crypto isakmp keepalive 10 periodic
!
!
crypto ipsec transform-set 3DES_MD5 esp-3des esp-md5-hmac
!
ip access-list extended TRAFFIC
permit ip 155.1.58.0 0.0.0.255 155.1.67.0 0.0.0.255
!
crypto map VPN 10 ipsec-isakmp
set peer 155.1.146.6
set transform-set 3DES_MD5
match address TRAFFIC
reverse-route static
!
router rip
redistribute static
!
interface FastEthernet0/1
crypto map VPN redundancy VLAN146

R6:
ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 155.1.146.254
!
crypto isakmp policy 10
encr 3des
hash md5
authentication pre-share
!
crypto isakmp key CISCO address 155.1.146.254
crypto isakmp keepalive 10 periodic
!
!
crypto ipsec transform-set 3DES_MD5 esp-3des esp-md5-hmac
!
ip access-list extended TRAFFIC
permit ip 155.1.67.0 0.0.0.255 155.1.58.0 0.0.0.255
!
crypto map VPN 10 ipsec-isakmp
set peer 155.1.146.254
set transform-set 3DES_MD5
match address TRAFFIC
!
interface FastEthernet0/0.146
encapsulation dot1Q 146
ip address 155.1.146.6 255.255.255.0
crypto map VPN

Testing stateless IPsec HA

Consider that R1 is the primary HSRP router. Assuming that tunnel is established initially, let’s check the state on all key routers in the topology.

Rack1R6#show crypto isakmp sa detail
Codes: C - IKE configuration mode, D - Dead Peer Detection
K - Keepalives, N - NAT-traversal
X - IKE Extended Authentication
psk - Preshared key, rsig - RSA signature
renc - RSA encryption

C-id Local Remote I-VRF Status Encr Hash Auth DH Lifetime Cap.
3 155.1.146.6 155.1.146.254 ACTIVE 3des md5 psk 1 23:55:02 D
Connection-id:Engine-id = 3:1(software)

Rack1R1#show standby
FastEthernet0/0 - Group 1
State is Active
5 state changes, last state change 02:31:23
Virtual IP address is 155.1.146.254
Active virtual MAC address is 0000.0c07.ac01
Local virtual MAC address is 0000.0c07.ac01 (v1 default)
Hello time 1 sec, hold time 3 sec
Next hello sent in 0.684 secs
Preemption enabled
Active router is local
Standby router is 155.1.146.4, priority 100 (expires in 2.576 sec)
Priority 200 (configured 200)
Track interface Serial0/0 state Up decrement 110
IP redundancy name is "VLAN146" (cfgd)

Rack1R1#show ip route static
155.1.0.0/24 is subnetted, 9 subnets
S 155.1.67.0 [1/0] via 155.1.146.6

Rack1R5#ping 155.1.67.7 source 155.1.58.5

Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 155.1.67.7, timeout is 2 seconds:
Packet sent with a source address of 155.1.58.5
!!!!!
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 64/98/220 ms

Next we start continuous ping flow from VLAN67 to VLAN58. We are going to check how long will it take for IPsec tunnel to switch over to the backup router. Initially R1 is the primary router on the segment, and we shut down R1’s Ethernet interface in process of pinging from SW1 (VLAN67). In the output below you can see the interval of missed pings, which lasted for approximately 24 seconds. It took around 20 seconds for R6 to declare the old SA dead. The remaining 4 seconds probably went to establishing the new SA after this and R4 advertising the new prefix to R5.

Rack1SW1#ping 155.1.58.5 repeat 1000000 timeout 2

Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 1000000, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 155.1.58.5, timeout is 2 seconds:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! .
...........
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Success rate is 98 percent (1221/1235), round-trip min/avg/max = 67/70/177 ms

Here a part of the output of the debug crypt isakmp command on R6. This output appears after we shut down R1’s Fa0/0 interface and R6 loses returning traffic from its peer. After this, we can see R6 trying to probe the VIP address five times before declaring the peer dead and removing the IPsec SA.

ISAKMP (0:134217729): incrementing error counter on sa, attempt 4 of 5: PEERS_ALIVE_TIMER
ISAKMP: set new node -1535446578 to QM_IDLE
CryptoEngine0: generate hmac context for conn id 1
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):Sending NOTIFY DPD/R_U_THERE protocol 1
spi 2235112032, message ID = -1535446578
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1): seq. no 0x42B0D70B
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1): sending packet to 155.1.146.254 my_port 500 peer_port 500 (I) QM_IDLE
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):purging node -1535446578
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):Input = IKE_MESG_FROM_TIMER, IKE_TIMER_PEERS_ALIVE
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):Old State = IKE_P1_COMPLETE New State = IKE_P1_COMPLETE

ISAKMP (0:134217729): incrementing error counter on sa, attempt 5 of 5: PEERS_ALIVE_TIMER
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):peer 155.1.146.254 not responding!
ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):peer does not do paranoid keepalives.

ISAKMP:(0:1:SW:1):deleting SA reason "P1 errcounter exceeded (PEERS_ALIVE_TIMER)" state (I) QM_IDLE (peer 155.1.146.254)
IPSEC(key_engine): got a queue event with 1 kei messages
Delete IPsec SA by DPD, local 155.1.146.6 remote 155.1.146.254 peer port 500
IPSEC(delete_sa): deleting SA,
(sa) sa_dest= 155.1.146.6, sa_proto= 50,
sa_spi= 0x4C62A262(1281532514),
sa_trans= esp-3des esp-md5-hmac , sa_conn_id= 2001,
(identity) local= 155.1.146.6, remote= 155.1.146.254,
local_proxy= 155.1.67.0/255.255.255.0/0/0 (type=4),
remote_proxy= 155.1.58.0/255.255.255.0/0/0 (type=4)
crypto engine: deleting IPSec SA SW:1
crypto_engine: IPSec SA delete

A snapshot of routers output after the failover has occurred:

Rack1R4#show standby
FastEthernet0/1 - Group 1
State is Active
26 state changes, last state change 01:30:40
Virtual IP address is 155.1.146.254
Active virtual MAC address is 0000.0c07.ac01
Local virtual MAC address is 0000.0c07.ac01 (v1 default)
Hello time 1 sec, hold time 3 sec
Next hello sent in 0.000 secs
Preemption enabled
Active router is local
Standby router is unknown
Priority 100 (default 100)
IP redundancy name is "VLAN146" (cfgd)

Rack1R5#show ip route 155.1.67.0
Routing entry for 155.1.67.0/24
Known via "rip", distance 120, metric 1
Redistributing via rip
Last update from 155.1.0.4 on Serial0/0, 00:00:06 ago
Routing Descriptor Blocks:
* 155.1.0.4, from 155.1.0.4, 00:00:06 ago, via Serial0/0
Route metric is 1, traffic share count is 1

Rack1R4#show ip route static
155.1.0.0/24 is subnetted, 8 subnets
S 155.1.67.0 [1/0] via 155.1.146.6

As for using this feature in real life, be aware of its slow convergence time. (not to mention odd bugs that may vary based on your IOS version ;) Still better then nothing, but you may resort to running a dynamic routing protocol in GRE/DMVPN tunnels encrypted by IPsec. Using IGP for fast convergence usually results in better convergence and stability. However, if you need a solution for remote VPN server redundancy, FHRPs (first-hop redundanly protocols) or SLB (server load-balancing) might be the only option.

Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE
About Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE

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