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Abstract - Technical Program - NETA 99

Just Type Make! Managing Internet Firewalls Using Make and Other Publicly Available Utilities

Sally Hambridge, Charles Smothers, Tod Oace, and Jeff Sedayao, Intel Corp.


Managing Internet firewalls that can failover between each other is quite a challenge. When those firewalls are geographically dispersed and have a small number of people to be maintain them, it becomes even more challenging. Intel Corporation has a small staff that manages several geographically dispersed Internet firewalls with failover requirements. These firewalls use a standard screened subnet architecture [1] with packet filtering inner and outer firewall routers and a number of bastion hosts between them. These bastion hosts provide services with load balancing and disaster recovery for relaying SMTP mail, answering DNS queries, and proxying web requests. To manage this complex system of firewalls, Intel's Internet Connectivity Engineering staff have come up with a way to model all of the interrelated firewall as one distributed system. Host and router configurations are considered source to that system and compilation and installation of that source is driven by the Make [2] utility. Packet filtering Access Control Lists (ACLs) are built by a Makefile. The Makefile assembles the ACLs and executes an Expect [3] script that installs them. We configure bastion hosts by configuring Make to drive rdist, which run over the secure shell (SSH) [4]. In this way, only updated files are pushed out to the bastion hosts and passwords and other configuration information do not go in the clear. Our experiences with Make and these publicly available utilities are quite good - allowing us to manage a large distributed set of firewall devices. Using a Make driven approach requires much discipline, however, to avoid the distribution of bad configurations. Future plans include ACL optimization and sanity tests before and after bastion host configuration pushes.
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Last changed: 21 Mar 2002 ml
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