Plan Your Panorama Deployment

  • Determine the management approach. Do you plan to use Panorama to centrally configure and manage the policies, to centrally administer software, content and license updates, and/or centralize logging and reporting across the managed firewalls in the network?
    If you already deployed and configured the Palo Alto Networks firewalls on your network, determine whether to transition the firewalls to centralized management. This process requires a migration of all configuration and policies from your firewalls to Panorama. For details, see Transition a Firewall to Panorama Management.
  • Verify the Panorama and firewall software versions. Panorama can manage firewalls running PAN-OS versions that match the Panorama version or are earlier than the Panorama version. The exception is that Panorama 6.1 and later versions cannot push configurations to firewalls running PAN-OS 6.0.0 through 6.0.3. Panorama cannot manage firewalls that run a later PAN-OS version than the Panorama version. For example, Panorama 6.0 cannot manage firewalls running PAN-OS 7.0. For versions within the same feature release, although Panorama can manage firewalls running a later version of PAN-OS, we recommend that Panorama run the same version or a later version. For example, if Panorama runs 7.0.3, it is recommended that all managed firewalls run PAN-OS 7.0.3 or earlier versions.
  • Plan to use the same URL filtering database (BrightCloud or PAN-DB) across all managed firewalls. If some firewalls are using the BrightCloud database and others are using PAN-DB, Panorama can only manage security rules for one or the other URL filtering database. URL filtering rules for the other database must be managed locally on the firewalls that use that database.
  • Determine your authentication method between Panorama and its managed devices and high availability peer. By default, Panorama uses predefined certificates to authenticate the SSL connections used for management and inter-device communication. However, you can configure custom certificate-based authentication to enhance the security of the SSL connections between Panorama, firewalls, and log collectors. By using custom certificates, you can establish a unique chain of trust to ensure mutual authentication between Panorama and the devices it manages. You can import the certificates from your enterprise public key infrastructure (PKI) or generate it on Panorama.
  • Plan to use Panorama in a high availability configuration; set it up as an active/passive high availability pair. See Panorama High Availability.
  • Plan how to accommodate network segmentation and security requirements in a large-scale deployment. By default, Panorama running on an M-500 or M-100 appliance uses the management (MGT) interface for administrative access to Panorama and for managing devices (firewalls, Log Collectors, and WildFire appliances and appliance clusters), collecting logs, communicating with Collector Groups, and deploying software and content updates to devices. However, to improve security and enable network segmentation, you can reserve the MGT interface for administrative access and use dedicated M-Series Appliance Interfaces (Eth1, Eth2, Eth3, Eth4, and Eth5) for the other services.
  • For meaningful reports on network activity, plan a logging solution:
    • Estimate the log storage capacity your network needs to meet security and compliance requirements. Consider such factors as the logging capacities of your Panorama Models, network topology, number of firewalls sending logs, type of log traffic (for example, URL Filtering and Threat logs versus Traffic logs), the rate at which firewalls generate logs, and the number of days for which you want to store logs on Panorama. For details, see Determine Panorama Log Storage Requirements.
    • Do you need to forward logs to external services (such as a syslog server) in addition to Panorama? See Log Forwarding Options.
    • If you need a long-term storage solution, do you have a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution, such as Splunk or ArcSight, to which you can forward logs?
    • Do you need redundancy in logging?
      If you configure a Collector Group with multiple Log Collectors, you can enable redundancy to ensure that no logs are lost if any one Log Collector becomes unavailable (see Caveats for a Collector Group with Multiple Log Collectors).
      If you deploy Panorama virtual appliances in Legacy mode in an HA configuration, the managed firewalls can send logs to both HA peers so that a copy of each log resides on each peer. This redundancy option is enabled by default (see Modify Log Forwarding and Buffering Defaults).
    • Will you log to a Network File System (NFS)? If the Panorama virtual appliance is in Legacy mode and does not manage Dedicated Log Collectors, NFS storage is the only option for increasing log storage capacity beyond 8TB. NFS storage is available only if Panorama runs on an ESXi server. If you use NFS storage, keep in mind that the firewalls can send logs only to the primary peer in the HA pair; only the primary peer is mounted to the NFS and can write to it.
  • Determine which role-based access privileges administrators require to access managed firewalls and Panorama. See Set Up Administrative Access to Panorama.
  • Plan the required Device Groups. Consider whether to group firewalls based on function, security policy, geographic location, or network segmentation. An example of a function-based device group is one that contains all the firewalls that a Research and Development team uses. Consider whether to create smaller device groups based on commonality, larger device groups to scale more easily, or a Device Group Hierarchy to simplify complex layers of administration.
  • Plan a layering strategy for administering policies. Consider how firewalls inherit and evaluate policy rules within the Device Group Hierarchy, and how to best implement shared rules, device-group rules, and firewall-specific rules to meet your network needs. For visibility and centralized policy management, consider using Panorama for administering rules even if you need firewall-specific exceptions for shared or device group rules. If necessary, you can Push a Policy Rule to a Subset of Firewalls within a device group.
  • Plan the organization of your firewalls based on how they inherit network configuration settings from Templates and Template Stacks. For example, consider assigning firewalls to templates based on hardware models, geographic proximity, and similar network needs for time zones, a DNS server, and interface settings.

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