The following table provides information about Session
Distribution Policies to help you decide which policy best
fits your environment and firewall configuration.
Session Distribution Policy
Allows you to specify the dataplane
processor (DP) that the firewall will use for security processing.
this policy for debugging purposes.
The firewall distributes sessions
based on a hash of the source address or destination address. Hash
based distribution improves the efficiency of NAT address resource
management and reduces latency for NAT session setup by avoiding
potential IP address or port conflicts.
Use this policy in
environments that use large scale source NAT with dynamic IP translation
or Dynamic IP and Port translation or both. When using dynamic IP translation,
address option. When using
dynamic IP and port translation, select the
on PA-7000 Series firewalls
PA-7000 Series firewalls
) New sessions are assigned to a DP on the same NPC on which
the first packet of the session arrived. The selection of the DP
is based on the session-load algorithm but, in this case, sessions
are limited to the DPs on the ingress NPC.
Depending on the
traffic and network topology, this policy generally decreases the
odds that traffic will need to traverse the switch fabric.
this policy to reduce latency if both ingress and egress are on
the same NPC. If the firewall has a mix of NPCs (PA-7000 20G and
PA-7000 20GXM for example), this policy can isolate the increased
capacity to the corresponding NPCs and help to isolate the impact
of NPC failures.
The firewall randomly selects
a DP for session processing.
on PA-5200 Series firewalls
The firewall selects the dataplane
processor based on a round-robin algorithm between active dataplanes
so that input, output, and security processing functions are shared
among all dataplanes.
Use this policy in low to medium demand environments
where a simple and predictable load balancing algorithm will suffice.
high demand environments, we recommend that you use the session-load
This policy is similar to the
round-robin policy but uses a weight-based algorithm to determine
how to distribute sessions to achieve balance among the DPs. Because
of the variability in the lifetime of a session, the DPs may not
always experience an equal load. For example, if the firewall has
three DPs and DP0 is at 25% of capacity, DP1 is at 25%, and DP2
is at 50%, new session assignment will be weighted towards the DP with
the lower capacities. This helps improve load balancing over time.
this policy in environments where sessions are distributed across
multiple NPC slots, such as in an inter-slot aggregate interface
group or environments with asymmetric forwarding. You can also use
this policy or the ingress-slot policy if the firewall has a combination
of NPCs with different session capacities (such as a combination
of PA-7000 20G and PA-7000 20GXM NPCs).
PA-5200 Series and PA-7000 Series firewalls
running PAN-OS 8.0 or later
) The firewall selects the DP by
a hash of sorted source and destination IP addresses. This policy
provides the same results for server-to-client (s2c) and client-to-server
(c2s) traffic (assuming the firewall does not use NAT).
this policy in high-demand IPSec or GTP deployments.
these protocols, each direction is treated as a unidirectional flow
where the flow tuples cannot be derived from each other. This policy
improves performance and reduces latency by ensuring that both directions
are assigned to the same DP, which removes the need for inter-DP