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Controlling return path with auxiliary session

When multiple incoming or outgoing interfaces are used in SD-WAN or for load balancing, changes to routing or incoming or return traffic interfaces impacts how an existing sessions handles the traffic. In FortiOS 6.2.3 and later, auxiliary sessions can be used to handle these changes to traffic patterns.

  • In FortiOS 6.0 and earlier, the auxiliary session feature is not supported.

  • In FortiOS 6.2.0 to 6.2.2, the auxiliary session feature is permanently enabled.

  • In FortiOS 6.2.3 and later, the auxiliary session feature is disabled by default, and can be enabled if required.

To enable the auxiliary session feature:
config system settings
    set auxiliary-session {enable | disable*}
end

Scenarios

Incoming traffic is from the client to the server. Return traffic is from the server to the client.

Scenario 1 - Return traffic returns on the original outgoing interface

In this scenario, a session is established between port1 and port3. When the return traffic hits port3:

Auxiliary sessions disabled:

The reply to the client egresses on the original incoming interface, port1. If policy routes or SD-WAN rules are configured, they are not checked.

Auxiliary sessions enabled:

The reply to the client egresses on the best route in the routing table:

  • If the best route is port1, then it will egress on port1.

  • If the best route is port2, then it will egress on port2.

If policy routes or SD-WAN rules are configured, they must be matched to determine the egress interface. If both are configured, SD-WAN rules have higher priority.

Scenario 2 - Return traffic returns on an interfaces other than the original outgoing interfaces

In this scenario, a session is established between port1 and port3. When the return traffic hits port4:

Auxiliary sessions disabled:
  • The session is dirtied and then gets refreshed, and interfaces on the session are updated.

  • If there is a high traffic volume or flapping between the interfaces, the CPU usage increases.

Auxiliary sessions enabled:

An auxiliary session is created for the existing session, and traffic returns to the client as normal on the auxiliary session.

Scenario 3 - Incoming traffic enters on an interfaces other than the original incoming interfaces

In this scenario, a session is established between port1 and port3. When the incoming traffic hits port2:

Auxiliary sessions disabled:

The session is dirtied and then gets refreshed, and interfaces on the session are updated.

Auxiliary sessions enabled:

An auxiliary session is created for the existing session, and traffic is forwarded to the server as normal on the auxiliary session.

Scenario 4 - the routing table is changed

In this scenario, a session has been established between port1 and port3, when a new route on port4 is updated as the route to the server.

Auxiliary sessions disabled:

As long as there is a route to the destination, the session will not be dirtied or refreshed. Even though there is a better route, traffic continues on the original path between port1 and port3.

Auxiliary sessiosn enabled:

The session is dirtied and then gets refreshed, and interfaces on the session are updated.

Effect on NPU offloading sessions

When the auxiliary session feature is disabled, there is always one session. If the incoming or return interface changes, the FortiGate marks the session as dirty and updates the session's interfaces. This cannot be done by the NPU, so the session is not offloaded to the NPU, and is processed by the CPU instead. If Equal-Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) causes the interface to keep changing, then it will use significant CPU resources.

When the auxiliary session feature is enabled and the incoming or return interface changes, it creates an auxiliary session, and all traffic can continue to be processed by the NPU.

Verification

When an auxiliary, or reflect, session is created, it will appear as a reflect session below the existing session:

# diagnose sys session list
session info: proto=17 proto_state=00 duration=111 expire=175 timeout=0 flags=00000000 socktype=0 sockport=0 av_idx=0 use=4
origin-shaper=
reply-shaper=
per_ip_shaper=
class_id=0 ha_id=0 policy_dir=0 tunnel=/ vlan_cos=0/255
state=may_dirty npu
statistic(bytes/packets/allow_err): org=131/4/1 reply=0/0/0 tuples=2
tx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0 rx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0
orgin->sink: org pre->post, reply pre->post dev=36->38/38->36 gwy=10.1.2.3/0.0.0.0
hook=pre dir=org act=noop 10.1.100.22:51926->172.16.204.44:5001(0.0.0.0:0)
hook=post dir=reply act=noop 172.16.204.44:5001->10.1.100.22:51926(0.0.0.0:0)
src_mac=90:6c:ac:19:19:58
misc=0 policy_id=1 auth_info=0 chk_client_info=0 vd=2
serial=00002b11 tos=ff/ff app_list=0 app=0 url_cat=0
sdwan_mbr_seq=0 sdwan_service_id=0
rpdb_link_id=00000000 rpdb_svc_id=0 ngfwid=n/a
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x91/0x00, offload=8/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/0, ipid=142/0, vlan=0x0016/0x0000
vlifid=142/0, vtag_in=0x0016/0x0000 in_npu=1/0, out_npu=1/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/0
no_ofld_reason:
reflect info 0:
dev=37->38/38->37
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x91/0x00, offload=8/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/0, ipid=142/0, vlan=0x0017/0x0000
vlifid=142/0, vtag_in=0x0017/0x0000 in_npu=1/0, out_npu=1/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/0
total reflect session num: 1
total session 1

When a session is dirtied, a dirty flag is added to it:

# diagnose sys session list
session info: proto=17 proto_state=00 duration=28 expire=152 timeout=0 flags=00000000 socktype=0 sockport=0 av_idx=0 use=3
origin-shaper=
reply-shaper=
per_ip_shaper=
class_id=0 ha_id=0 policy_dir=0 tunnel=/ vlan_cos=0/255
state=dirty may_dirty npu
statistic(bytes/packets/allow_err): org=68/2/1 reply=0/0/0 tuples=2
tx speed(Bps/kbps): 2/0 rx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0
orgin->sink: org pre->post, reply pre->post dev=0->0/0->0 gwy=0.0.0.0/0.0.0.0
hook=pre dir=org act=noop 10.1.100.22:51926->172.16.204.44:5001(0.0.0.0:0)
hook=post dir=reply act=noop 172.16.204.44:5001->10.1.100.22:51926(0.0.0.0:0)
src_mac=90:6c:ac:19:19:58  dst_mac=02:6c:ac:5c:c6:f9
misc=0 policy_id=1 auth_info=0 chk_client_info=0 vd=2
serial=00002b2c tos=ff/ff app_list=0 app=0 url_cat=0
sdwan_mbr_seq=0 sdwan_service_id=0
rpdb_link_id=00000000 rpdb_svc_id=0 ngfwid=n/a
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x00/0x00, offload=0/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=0/0, ipid=0/0, vlan=0x0000/0x0000
vlifid=0/0, vtag_in=0x0000/0x0000 in_npu=0/0, out_npu=0/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=0/0
no_ofld_reason:
total session 1

When an auxiliary session is created, NPU offloading will continue in the reflect session:

# diagnose sys session list
session info: proto=17 proto_state=01 duration=169 expire=129 timeout=0 flags=00000000 socktype=0 sockport=0 av_idx=0 use=4
origin-shaper=
reply-shaper=
per_ip_shaper=
class_id=0 ha_id=0 policy_dir=0 tunnel=/ vlan_cos=0/255
state=may_dirty npu
statistic(bytes/packets/allow_err): org=131/4/1 reply=66/2/1 tuples=2
tx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0 rx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0
orgin->sink: org pre->post, reply pre->post dev=36->38/38->36 gwy=10.1.2.3/172.17.2.1
hook=pre dir=org act=noop 10.1.100.22:51926->172.16.204.44:5001(0.0.0.0:0)
hook=post dir=reply act=noop 172.16.204.44:5001->10.1.100.22:51926(0.0.0.0:0)
src_mac=90:6c:ac:19:19:58
misc=0 policy_id=1 auth_info=0 chk_client_info=0 vd=2
serial=00002b11 tos=ff/ff app_list=0 app=0 url_cat=0
sdwan_mbr_seq=0 sdwan_service_id=0
rpdb_link_id=00000000 rpdb_svc_id=0 ngfwid=n/a
npu_state=0x000c00
npu info: flag=0x91/0x81, offload=8/8, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/142, ipid=142/128, vlan=0x0016/0x0016
vlifid=142/128, vtag_in=0x0016/0x0016 in_npu=1/1, out_npu=1/1, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/4
reflect info 0:
dev=37->38/38->37
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x91/0x00, offload=8/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/0, ipid=142/0, vlan=0x0017/0x0000
vlifid=142/0, vtag_in=0x0017/0x0000 in_npu=1/0, out_npu=1/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/0
total reflect session num: 1
total session 1

Controlling return path with auxiliary session

When multiple incoming or outgoing interfaces are used in SD-WAN or for load balancing, changes to routing or incoming or return traffic interfaces impacts how an existing sessions handles the traffic. In FortiOS 6.2.3 and later, auxiliary sessions can be used to handle these changes to traffic patterns.

  • In FortiOS 6.0 and earlier, the auxiliary session feature is not supported.

  • In FortiOS 6.2.0 to 6.2.2, the auxiliary session feature is permanently enabled.

  • In FortiOS 6.2.3 and later, the auxiliary session feature is disabled by default, and can be enabled if required.

To enable the auxiliary session feature:
config system settings
    set auxiliary-session {enable | disable*}
end

Scenarios

Incoming traffic is from the client to the server. Return traffic is from the server to the client.

Scenario 1 - Return traffic returns on the original outgoing interface

In this scenario, a session is established between port1 and port3. When the return traffic hits port3:

Auxiliary sessions disabled:

The reply to the client egresses on the original incoming interface, port1. If policy routes or SD-WAN rules are configured, they are not checked.

Auxiliary sessions enabled:

The reply to the client egresses on the best route in the routing table:

  • If the best route is port1, then it will egress on port1.

  • If the best route is port2, then it will egress on port2.

If policy routes or SD-WAN rules are configured, they must be matched to determine the egress interface. If both are configured, SD-WAN rules have higher priority.

Scenario 2 - Return traffic returns on an interfaces other than the original outgoing interfaces

In this scenario, a session is established between port1 and port3. When the return traffic hits port4:

Auxiliary sessions disabled:
  • The session is dirtied and then gets refreshed, and interfaces on the session are updated.

  • If there is a high traffic volume or flapping between the interfaces, the CPU usage increases.

Auxiliary sessions enabled:

An auxiliary session is created for the existing session, and traffic returns to the client as normal on the auxiliary session.

Scenario 3 - Incoming traffic enters on an interfaces other than the original incoming interfaces

In this scenario, a session is established between port1 and port3. When the incoming traffic hits port2:

Auxiliary sessions disabled:

The session is dirtied and then gets refreshed, and interfaces on the session are updated.

Auxiliary sessions enabled:

An auxiliary session is created for the existing session, and traffic is forwarded to the server as normal on the auxiliary session.

Scenario 4 - the routing table is changed

In this scenario, a session has been established between port1 and port3, when a new route on port4 is updated as the route to the server.

Auxiliary sessions disabled:

As long as there is a route to the destination, the session will not be dirtied or refreshed. Even though there is a better route, traffic continues on the original path between port1 and port3.

Auxiliary sessiosn enabled:

The session is dirtied and then gets refreshed, and interfaces on the session are updated.

Effect on NPU offloading sessions

When the auxiliary session feature is disabled, there is always one session. If the incoming or return interface changes, the FortiGate marks the session as dirty and updates the session's interfaces. This cannot be done by the NPU, so the session is not offloaded to the NPU, and is processed by the CPU instead. If Equal-Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) causes the interface to keep changing, then it will use significant CPU resources.

When the auxiliary session feature is enabled and the incoming or return interface changes, it creates an auxiliary session, and all traffic can continue to be processed by the NPU.

Verification

When an auxiliary, or reflect, session is created, it will appear as a reflect session below the existing session:

# diagnose sys session list
session info: proto=17 proto_state=00 duration=111 expire=175 timeout=0 flags=00000000 socktype=0 sockport=0 av_idx=0 use=4
origin-shaper=
reply-shaper=
per_ip_shaper=
class_id=0 ha_id=0 policy_dir=0 tunnel=/ vlan_cos=0/255
state=may_dirty npu
statistic(bytes/packets/allow_err): org=131/4/1 reply=0/0/0 tuples=2
tx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0 rx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0
orgin->sink: org pre->post, reply pre->post dev=36->38/38->36 gwy=10.1.2.3/0.0.0.0
hook=pre dir=org act=noop 10.1.100.22:51926->172.16.204.44:5001(0.0.0.0:0)
hook=post dir=reply act=noop 172.16.204.44:5001->10.1.100.22:51926(0.0.0.0:0)
src_mac=90:6c:ac:19:19:58
misc=0 policy_id=1 auth_info=0 chk_client_info=0 vd=2
serial=00002b11 tos=ff/ff app_list=0 app=0 url_cat=0
sdwan_mbr_seq=0 sdwan_service_id=0
rpdb_link_id=00000000 rpdb_svc_id=0 ngfwid=n/a
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x91/0x00, offload=8/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/0, ipid=142/0, vlan=0x0016/0x0000
vlifid=142/0, vtag_in=0x0016/0x0000 in_npu=1/0, out_npu=1/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/0
no_ofld_reason:
reflect info 0:
dev=37->38/38->37
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x91/0x00, offload=8/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/0, ipid=142/0, vlan=0x0017/0x0000
vlifid=142/0, vtag_in=0x0017/0x0000 in_npu=1/0, out_npu=1/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/0
total reflect session num: 1
total session 1

When a session is dirtied, a dirty flag is added to it:

# diagnose sys session list
session info: proto=17 proto_state=00 duration=28 expire=152 timeout=0 flags=00000000 socktype=0 sockport=0 av_idx=0 use=3
origin-shaper=
reply-shaper=
per_ip_shaper=
class_id=0 ha_id=0 policy_dir=0 tunnel=/ vlan_cos=0/255
state=dirty may_dirty npu
statistic(bytes/packets/allow_err): org=68/2/1 reply=0/0/0 tuples=2
tx speed(Bps/kbps): 2/0 rx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0
orgin->sink: org pre->post, reply pre->post dev=0->0/0->0 gwy=0.0.0.0/0.0.0.0
hook=pre dir=org act=noop 10.1.100.22:51926->172.16.204.44:5001(0.0.0.0:0)
hook=post dir=reply act=noop 172.16.204.44:5001->10.1.100.22:51926(0.0.0.0:0)
src_mac=90:6c:ac:19:19:58  dst_mac=02:6c:ac:5c:c6:f9
misc=0 policy_id=1 auth_info=0 chk_client_info=0 vd=2
serial=00002b2c tos=ff/ff app_list=0 app=0 url_cat=0
sdwan_mbr_seq=0 sdwan_service_id=0
rpdb_link_id=00000000 rpdb_svc_id=0 ngfwid=n/a
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x00/0x00, offload=0/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=0/0, ipid=0/0, vlan=0x0000/0x0000
vlifid=0/0, vtag_in=0x0000/0x0000 in_npu=0/0, out_npu=0/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=0/0
no_ofld_reason:
total session 1

When an auxiliary session is created, NPU offloading will continue in the reflect session:

# diagnose sys session list
session info: proto=17 proto_state=01 duration=169 expire=129 timeout=0 flags=00000000 socktype=0 sockport=0 av_idx=0 use=4
origin-shaper=
reply-shaper=
per_ip_shaper=
class_id=0 ha_id=0 policy_dir=0 tunnel=/ vlan_cos=0/255
state=may_dirty npu
statistic(bytes/packets/allow_err): org=131/4/1 reply=66/2/1 tuples=2
tx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0 rx speed(Bps/kbps): 0/0
orgin->sink: org pre->post, reply pre->post dev=36->38/38->36 gwy=10.1.2.3/172.17.2.1
hook=pre dir=org act=noop 10.1.100.22:51926->172.16.204.44:5001(0.0.0.0:0)
hook=post dir=reply act=noop 172.16.204.44:5001->10.1.100.22:51926(0.0.0.0:0)
src_mac=90:6c:ac:19:19:58
misc=0 policy_id=1 auth_info=0 chk_client_info=0 vd=2
serial=00002b11 tos=ff/ff app_list=0 app=0 url_cat=0
sdwan_mbr_seq=0 sdwan_service_id=0
rpdb_link_id=00000000 rpdb_svc_id=0 ngfwid=n/a
npu_state=0x000c00
npu info: flag=0x91/0x81, offload=8/8, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/142, ipid=142/128, vlan=0x0016/0x0016
vlifid=142/128, vtag_in=0x0016/0x0016 in_npu=1/1, out_npu=1/1, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/4
reflect info 0:
dev=37->38/38->37
npu_state=0x000400
npu info: flag=0x91/0x00, offload=8/0, ips_offload=0/0, epid=129/0, ipid=142/0, vlan=0x0017/0x0000
vlifid=142/0, vtag_in=0x0017/0x0000 in_npu=1/0, out_npu=1/0, fwd_en=0/0, qid=4/0
total reflect session num: 1
total session 1