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All the World’s a (SRX) Stage

by ‎08-28-2013 02:34 PM - edited ‎09-03-2013 02:36 PM

Earlier this year, we set out to replace all of our old, aging “firewalls” in each of our locations (just over 200). We needed a much better way to manage our security policies, and one that wouldn’t take hours and hours of time that we security engineers have so little of.

 

“Hours and hours…clearly it couldn’t have been that bad? What were you guys running?”

 

Great question. So, flashback about six years . . . It’s starting to get blurry and I feel like I’m dreaming . . .

 

We really needed a way to secure our point of sale network(s) at all of our stores. That was the #1 priority—protecting credit card data (PCI). At the time, we had Cisco routers in place. I’ll give it to him, our account manager at the time, well, he did a good job of selling us their Security Manager platform (CSM) to place policies on the routers to do the “firewalling.”

 

This was all well and good for one, maybe two networks, but as our company grew, year after year, so did the size of our policies. We ended up firewalling every network at each location. It wound up taking almost an entire day to push out changes to each and every store, and it would only push about 10 at a time. So you really had to micro-manage the job and keep going back and checking on it and then re-submitting it for 10 new ones. Ugh!

 

(Fading back into reality)…

 

As you can see, it was really tough to manage consistently and if we needed to make changes quickly, well, most times that wasn’t an option.

 

So we needed a new platform, one that is robust, easy to manage, and can last us for at least the next five years or so. Our entire DMZ infrastructure is already running on Junos, so we ended up choosing the workhorse SRX240 for each of our stores. Redundancy is a big item for us as well, so we choose to implement a cluster at each location instead of just a single unit.

 

Ok, so we had 430+ SRXs sitting in a warehouse out back. How’d we implement them quickly and efficiently?

 

  

 

We took advantage of the Junos’ device snapshot feature. What this does is it allows you to configure your device any way you want. Then you can basically take a “snapshot” of it on a USB thumb drive, and then, in turn, use that image to deploy to other devices without having to configure each one. Brilliant!

 

We already had a few interns staging equipment for us, so what we did was create an image for both node0 and node1 in the cluster, respectively. Then we provided them with the instructions on how to copy the images from the USB drives onto the local system, and voila! Once they were deployed at the stores, the morning of the cutover we just had to configure a few options and, next thing we knew, all of the routing and firewalling is taken care of by the SRX!

 

Part of the beauty of Junos, and Juniper products in general, is that there are a number of ways to accomplish something like this. If we were to do this manually, it would have taken quite a bit of time to configure each cluster for every location with all of the custom policies.

 

In another upcoming adventure, I’ll show you how we utilize Junos Space to easily manage all of our security policies, and take advantage of a very cool policy feature that is device variables!

Comments
by paul.onoja@layer3.cc
on ‎08-29-2013 03:54 AM

Very nice. I look forward to your next post on using Junos Space to manage security policies. Smiley Happy

by
on ‎08-29-2013 04:06 AM

Thank you for the comment, Paul!

by
on ‎08-29-2013 03:20 PM

Nice interesting post Scott.  I'm looking forward to the next one too.

by
on ‎08-30-2013 05:19 AM

Thanks, Martin!

by Distinguished Expert
on ‎08-30-2013 07:51 AM

Hey Scott - thanks sharing your deployment story. Curious to know if you spent any time deciding between the USB snapshot strategy versus the trying to use the auto-install feature. If you did look at both why did you choose one over the other. 

 

Kevin Barker 

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