Use Dynamic Address Groups in Policy

Dynamic address groups are used in policy. They allow you to create policy that automatically adapts to changes—adds, moves, or deletions of servers. It also enables the flexibility to apply different rules to the same server based on tags that define its role on the network, the operating system, or the different kinds of traffic it processes.
A dynamic address group uses tags as a filtering criteria to determine its members. The filter uses logical and and or operators. All IP addresses or address groups that match the filtering criteria become members of the dynamic address group. Tags can be defined statically on the firewall and/or registered (dynamically) to the firewall. The difference between static and dynamic tags is that static tags are part of the configuration on the firewall, and dynamic tags are part of the runtime configuration. This implies that a commit is not required to update dynamic tags; the tags must however be used by Dynamic Address Groups that are referenced in policy, and the policy must be committed on the firewall.
To dynamically register tags, you can use the XML API or the VM Monitoring agent on the firewall or on the User-ID agent. Each tag is a metadata element or attribute-value pair that is registered on the firewall or Panorama. For example, IP1 {tag1, tag2,.....tag32}, where the IP address and the associated tags are maintained as a list; each registered IP address can have up to 32 tags such as the operating system, the datacenter or the virtual switch to which it belongs. After receiving the API call, the firewall registers the IP address and associated tags, and automatically updates the membership information for the dynamic address group(s).
The maximum number of IP addresses that can be registered for each model is different. Use the following table for specifics on your model:
Maximum number of dynamically registered IP addresses
M-Series and Panorama Virtual Appliances
PA-5200 Series, VM-7000 SMC-B Series
VM-500, VM-700
PA-3200 Series, VM-300
PA-7000 Series
PA-850, VM-100
PA-820, PA-220, VM-50
An IP set, such as an IP range or subnet, is considered as a single registered IP address when counted towards the maximum number of registered IP addresses supported by each firewall model.
The following example shows how dynamic address groups can simplify network security enforcement. The example workflow shows how to:
  • Enable the VM Monitoring agent on the firewall, to monitor the VMware ESX(i) host or vCenter Server and register VM IP addresses and the associated tags.
  • Create dynamic address groups and define the tags to filter. In this example, two address groups are created. One that only filters for dynamic tags and another that filters for both static and dynamic tags to populate the members of the group.
  • Validate that the members of the dynamic address group are populated on the firewall.
  • Use dynamic address groups in policy. This example uses two different security policies:
    • A security policy for all Linux servers that are deployed as FTP servers; this rule matches on dynamically registered tags.
    • A security policy for all Linux servers that are deployed as web servers; this rule matches on a dynamic address group that uses static and dynamic tags.
  • Validate that the members of the dynamic address groups are updated as new FTP or web servers are deployed. This ensure that the security rules are enforced on these new virtual machines too.
  1. Create dynamic address groups on the firewall.
    View the tutorial to see a big picture view of the feature.
    1. Log in to the web interface of the firewall.
    2. Select
      Address Groups
    3. Click
      and enter a
      and a
      for the address group.
    4. Select
    5. Define the match criteria. You can select dynamic and static tags as the match criteria to populate the members of the group. Click
      Add Match Criteria
      , and select the
      operator and select the attributes that you would like to filter for or match against. and then click
    6. Click
  2. The match criteria for each dynamic address group in this example is as follows:
    ftp_server: matches on the guest operating system “Linux 64-bit” and annotated as “ftp” ('guestos.Ubuntu Linux 64-bit' and 'annotation.ftp').
    web-servers: matches on two criteria—the tag black or if the guest operating system is Linux 64-bit and the name of the server us Web_server_Corp. ('guestos.Ubuntu Linux 64-bit' and 'vmname.WebServer_Corp' or 'black')
  3. Use dynamic address groups in policy.
    View the tutorial.
    1. Select
    2. Click
      and enter a
      and a
      for the policy.
    3. Add the
      Source Zone
      to specify the zone from which the traffic originates.
    4. Add the
      Destination Zone
      at which the traffic is terminating.
    5. For the
      Destination Address
      , select the Dynamic address group you just created.
    6. Specify the action—
      —for the traffic, and optionally attach the default security profiles to the rule.
    7. Repeats Steps 1 through 6 to create another policy rule.
    8. Click
  4. This example shows how to create two policies: one for all access to FTP servers and the other for access to web servers.
  5. Validate that the members of the dynamic address group are populated on the firewall.
    1. Select
      , and select the rule.
    2. Select the drop-down arrow next to the address group link, and select
      . You can also verify that the match criteria is accurate.
    3. Click the
      link and verify that the list of registered IP addresses is displayed.
      Policy will be enforced for all IP addresses that belong to this address group, and are displayed here.
    If you want to delete all registered IP addresses, use the CLI command
    debug object registered-ip clear all
    and then reboot the firewall after clearing the tags.

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