Archive for November 8, 2016

The Benefits of Palo Alto Networks Firewall Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) and Hardware Architecture

What makes Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) so different from its competitors is its Platform, Process and Architecture. Palo Alto Networks delivers all the next generation firewall features using the single platform, parallel processing and single management systems, unlike other vendors who use different modules or multiple management systems to offer NGFW features.

Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewall’s main strength is its Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) Architecture, which comprises two key components:

  • Single Pass Software
  • Parallel Processing Hardware

 

Figure 1.   Palo Alto Networks Firewall Single Pass Parallel Processing Architecture

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Web & CLI Initial Configuration, Gateway IP, Management Services & Interface, DNS – NTP Setup, Accounts, Passwords, Firewall Registration & License Activation

The introduction of Next Generation Firewalls has changed the dimension of management and configuration of firewalls, most of the well-known Firewall vendors have done a major revamp, be it the traditional command line mode or the GUI mode.

Palo Alto Networks is no different to many of those vendors, yet it is unique in terms of its WebUI. It’s a whole new experience when you access the WebUI of Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls.

In order to start with an implementation of the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls one needs to configure them. Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls can be accessed by either an out-of-band management port labelled as MGT or a Serial Console port (similar to Cisco devices). By using the MGT port, one can separate the management functions of the firewall from the data processing functions. All initial configurations must be performed either on out-of-band management interface or by using a serial console port. The serial port has default values of 9600-N-1 and a standard roll over cable can be used to connect to a serial port.

 

Figure 1.   Palo Alto Networks Firewall PA-5020 Management & Console Port

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Tap Mode, Virtual Wire, Layer 2 & Layer 3 Deployment modes

Our previous article explained how Palo Alto Firewalls make use of Security Zones to process and enforce security policies. This article will explain the different configuration options for physical Ethernet and logical interfaces available on the Palo Alto Firewall.

It’s easy to mix and match the interface types and deployment options in real world deployments and this seems to be the strongest selling point of Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls. Network segmentation becomes easier due to the flexibility offered by a single pair of Palo Alto appliances.

Below is a list of the configuration options available for Ethernet (physical) interfaces:

  • Tap Mode
  • Virtual Wire
  • Layer 2
  • Layer 3
  • Aggregate Interfaces
  • HA

Following are the Logical interface options available:

  • VLAN
  • Loopback
  • Tunnel
  • Decrypt Mirror

The various interface types offered by Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls provide flexible deployment options.

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