Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

The Limits of Cloud: Gratuitous ARP and Failover

#Cloud whatclouddoesrightandwrongis great at many things. At other things, not so much. Understanding the limitations of cloud will better enable a successful migration strategy.

One of the truisms of technology is that takes a few years of adoption before folks really start figuring out what it excels at – and conversely what it doesn't. That's generally because early adoption is focused on lab-style experimentation that rarely extends beyond basic needs.

It's when adoption reaches critical mass and folks start trying to use the technology to implement more advanced architectures that the "gotchas" start to be discovered.

Cloud is no exception.

A few of the things we've learned over the past years of adoption is that cloud is always on, it's simple to manage, and it makes applications and infrastructure services easy to scale.

Some of the things we're learning now is that cloud isn't so great at supporting application mobility, monitoring of deployed services and at providing advanced networking capabilities.

The reason that last part is so important is that a variety of enterprise-class capabilities we've come to rely upon are ultimately enabled by some of the advanced networking techniques cloud simply does not support.

Take gratuitous ARP, for example. Most cloud providers do not allow or support this feature which ultimately means an inability to take advantage of higher-level functions traditionally taken for granted in the enterprise – like failover.

GRATUITOUS ARP and ITS IMPLICATIONS

For those unfamiliar with gratuitous ARP let's get you familiar with it quickly. A gratuitous ARP is an unsolicited ARP request made by a network element (host, switch, device, etc… ) to resolve its own IP address. The source and destination IP address are identical to the source IP address assigned to the network element. The destination MAC is a broadcast address. Gratuitous ARP is used for a variety of reasons. For example, if there is an ARP reply to the request, it means there exists an IP conflict. When a system first boots up, it will often send a gratuitous ARP to indicate it is "up" and available. And finally, it is used as the basis for load balancing failover. To ensure availability of load balancing services, two load balancers will share an IP address (often referred to as a floating IP). Upstream devices recognize the "primary" device by means of a simple ARP entry associating the floating IP with the active device. If the active device fails, the secondary immediately notices (due to heartbeat monitoring between the two) and will send out a gratuitous ARP indicating it is now associated with the IP address and won't the rest of the network please send subsequent traffic to it rather than the failed primary. VRRP and HSRP may also use gratuitous ARP to implement router failover.   how-failure-lb-works

Most cloud environments do not allow broadcast traffic of this nature. After all, it's practically guaranteed that you are sharing a network segment with other tenants, and thus broadcasting traffic could certainly disrupt other tenant's traffic. Additionally, as security minded folks will be eager to remind us, it is fairly well-established that the default for accepting gratuitous ARPs on the network should be "don't do it".

The astute observer will realize the reason for this; there is no security, no ability to verify, no authentication, nothing. A network element configured to accept gratuitous ARPs does so at the risk of being tricked into trusting, explicitly, every gratuitous ARP – even those that may be attempting to fool the network into believing it is a device it is not supposed to be.

That, in essence, is ARP poisoning, and it's one of the security risks associated with the use of gratuitous ARP. Granted, someone needs to be physically on the network to pull this off, but in a cloud environment that's not nearly as difficult as it might be on a locked down corporate network. Gratuitous ARP can further be used to execute denial of service, man in the middle and MAC flooding attacks. None of which have particularly pleasant outcomes, especially in a cloud environment where such attacks would be against shared infrastructure, potentially impacting many tenants.

Thus cloud providers are understandably leery about allowing network elements to willy-nilly announce their own IP addresses.

That said, most enterprise-class network elements have implemented protections against these attacks precisely because of the reliance on gratuitous ARP for various infrastructure services. Most of these protections use a technique that will tentatively accept a gratuitous ARP, but not enter it in its ARP cache unless it has a valid IP-to-MAC mapping, as defined by the device configuration. Validation can take the form of matching against DHCP-assigned addresses or existence in a trusted database.

Obviously these techniques would put an undue burden on a cloud provider's network given that any IP address on a network segment might be assigned to a very large set of MAC addresses.

Simply put, gratuitous ARP is not cloud-friendly, and thus it is you will be hard pressed to find a cloud provider that supports it.

What does that mean?

That means, ultimately, that failover mechanisms in the cloud cannot be based on traditional techniques unless a means to replicate gratuitous ARP functionality without its negative implications can be designed.

Which means, unfortunately, that traditional failover architectures – even using enterprise-class load balancers in cloud environments – cannot really be implemented today. What that means for IT preparing to migrate business critical applications and services to cloud environments is a careful review of their requirements and of the cloud environment's capabilities to determine whether availability and uptime goals can – or cannot – be met using a combination of cloud and traditional load balancing services.


 round-lori clip_image004[5]      F5 Networksclip_image003[5]clip_image004[5]clip_image006[5]clip_image007[5]clip_image008[5]

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
In an age of borderless networks, security for the cloud and security for the corporate network can no longer be separated. Security teams are now presented with the challenge of monitoring and controlling access to these cloud environments, at the same time that developers quickly spin up new cloud instances and executives push forwards new initiatives. The vulnerabilities created by migration to the cloud, such as misconfigurations and compromised credentials, require that security teams t...
AI and machine learning disruption for Enterprises started happening in the areas such as IT operations management (ITOPs) and Cloud management and SaaS apps. In 2019 CIOs will see disruptive solutions for Cloud & Devops, AI/ML driven IT Ops and Cloud Ops. Customers want AI-driven multi-cloud operations for monitoring, detection, prevention of disruptions. Disruptions cause revenue loss, unhappy users, impacts brand reputation etc.
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...