Managing RackConnect v2.0 network policies

  • Last updated on: 2015-12-31
  • Authored by: Juan Perez

Previous section: Access the RackConnect v2.0 Management Interface

Applies to: RackConnect v2.0

One of the main benefits of RackConnect is that you do not have to set software firewall rules (iptables or Windows Firewall) on individual cloud servers. Instead, you can modify network connectivity between all servers (cloud and dedicated) and the Internet by adding network policies.

Network policies are configurable under each individual Cloud account in the RackConnect Management Interface (available in the MyRackspace portal), and you can add them to control access between cloud servers, a dedicated environment, and the Internet.

Access scenarios

A network policy defines the access that you want to apply in one of the following RackConnect traffic (access) scenarios:

  • Cloud Servers to Dedicated: Updates connected network device access lists
  • Cloud Servers to Internet: Updates connected network device access lists
  • Cloud Servers to Cloud Servers: Updates inbound software firewalls on cloud servers
  • Dedicated to Cloud Servers: Updates inbound software firewalls on cloud servers
  • Internet to Cloud Servers: Updates edge network device access lists and inbound software firewalls on cloud servers

Note: Software firewalls are configured to allow unrestricted outbound access from your cloud servers.

Network policies provide you the ability to match based on certain criteria (such as hosts, networks, cloud server names, and cloud server IDs) and can limit access to specific protocols (such as TCP, UDP, and ICMP) and ports or port ranges (port ranges limited to 100 ports).

Manage network policies

To manage your network policies, you select the Cloud account to customize in the RackConnect Management Interface. On the Network Policies tab, follow the instructions to add and remove policies.

When you define a network policy, you enter a policy name, select an access scenario, and enter a source type, a destination type, and a destination protocol with a destination port or port range (as shown in the following screenshot). These fields are context sensitive, based on the access scenario that you choose.

  • Selecting All refers to all hosts within a network or account.

  • Selecting Server Name Match performs a match of your entered text. It is not case sensitive and you do not need to enter any wildcards. For example, Web matches a cloud server named WEB001 and one named Mywebserver.

  • Selecting Server ID Match performs an exact match of the server ID from the Cloud Servers API. When you begin typing the server name, a list appears from which you can select the server, and the server ID is populated for you.

  • Selecting Network enables you to define a network and subnet that includes all IP addresses within the subnet. Enter it in the format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/xx using CIDR notation. For example, 172.16.1.0/24 enters the entire 172.16.1.0 class C network, which corresponds to 172.16.1.0 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0.

  • Selecting Host enables you to enter the IP address of the host to define.

Important: Destination port range entries are limited to 100 ports, and they have valid integer values between 0 and 65535 with a range of the form xxxxxx-xxxxxx.

Any time you change a network policy, the automation status indicators show you when the policy is being deployed (or removed) and when the changes are complete. You can also track details of the status on the Tasks tab. You must refresh the page in the MyRackspace portal to view the updated status indicators, which can have the following meanings:

  • Green = Deployed
  • Blue = Deploying
  • Red = Failed
  • Yellow = Removing

In the following image, the indicators are all green, which means that the network policies were successfully deployed.

Tip: From the Network Policies tab, you can also apply a network policy template. Network policy templates provide a quick way to get started using RackConnect. Review the description of each template for details about the type of access that it will grant in your environment.

Frequently asked questions

I’ve written my own software firewall rules. What will happen to them?

All software firewall rules should be managed by using network policies. RackConnect automation rebuilds the entire firewall ruleset when it updates a system. As a result, any custom software firewall rules not created by network policies are overwritten.

This behavior can be changed on Linux cloud servers to allow custom iptables rules (within certain limitations). However, because of the technical limitations in Windows Firewall, all firewall rules on Windows cloud servers must be managed through network policies only.

Why am I limited to port ranges of 100 or fewer ports?

Because of a technical limitation in Windows Firewall that prevents port-range rules from being executed in the correct order, a separate firewall rule must be created for every port in the range. For network policies such as Cloud Server Name-Match rules, which allow multiple source systems, the number of rules created on each destination server can be as large as the number of ports allowed multiplied by the number of systems allowed. To prevent Windows servers from becoming so overloaded with firewall rules that they become unresponsive, we limit network policies to port ranges of 100 or fewer ports.

How should I set up network policies for use with Cloud Monitoring?

By default, the Cloud Monitoring systems have access to your RackConnect cloud servers. You should not need to create any custom network policies to allow the Cloud Monitoring systems to connect.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. Our contact information is available on the Contact Us page.

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