HA Clustering Overview

Learn about HA clustering use cases and deployments.
A number of Palo Alto Networks
firewall models now support session state synchronization among firewalls in a high availability (HA) cluster of up to 16 firewalls. The HA cluster peers synchronize sessions to protect against failure of the data center or a large security inspection point with horizontally scaled firewalls. In the case of a network outage or a firewall going down, the sessions fail over to a different firewall in the cluster. Such synchronization is especially helpful in the following use cases.
One use case is when HA peers are spread across multiple data centers so that there is no single point of failure within or between data centers. A second multi-data center use case is when one data center is active and the other is standby.
A third HA clustering use case is horizontal scaling, in which you add HA cluster members to a single data center to scale security and ensure session survivability.
HA clusters support a Layer 3 or virtual wire deployment. HA peers in the cluster can be a combination of HA pairs and standalone cluster members. In an HA cluster, all members are considered active; there is no concept of passive firewalls except for HA pairs, which can keep their active/passive relationship after you add them to an HA cluster.
All cluster members share session state. When a new firewall joins an HA cluster, that triggers all firewalls in the cluster to synchronize all existing sessions. HA4 and HA4 backup connections are the dedicated cluster links that synchronize session state among all cluster members having the same cluster ID. The HA4 link between cluster members detects connectivity failures between cluster members. HA1 (control link), HA2 (data link), and HA3 (packet-forwarding link) are not supported between cluster members that aren’t HA pairs.
For a normal session that has not failed over, only the firewall that is the session owner creates a traffic log. For a session that failed over, the new session owner (the firewall that receives the failed over traffic) creates the traffic log.
The firewall models that support HA clustering and the maximum number of members supported per cluster are as follows:
Firewall Model
Number of Members Supported Per Cluster
PA-3200 Series
PA-5200 Series
PA-7000 Series firewalls that have at least one of the following cards: PA-7000-100G-NPC, PA-7000-20GQXM-NPC, PA-7000-20GXM-NPC
PA-7080: 4
PA-7050: 6

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