Basic Load Balancing Using Routed Mode on the Cisco Application Control Engine Configuration Example
Configure basic load balancing (Layer 3) where client traffic enters on one network and is directed to servers residing on a second network.
Clients will send application requests through the multilayer switch feature card (MSFC), which routes them to a virtual IP address (VIP) within the Cisco® Application Control Engine (ACE). The VIP used in this example resides in an ACE context, which is configured with a client VLAN and a server VLAN (Figure 1). Client requests will arrive at the VIP, and the ACE will pick the appropriate server and then use the destination Network Address Translation (NAT) to send the client request to the server. The server will respond using the interface VLAN of the ACE as its default gateway to the client. The ACE will then change the source IP to be the VIP and forward the response to the client via the MSFC.
The Cisco ACE needs to be configured via access control lists (ACLs) to allow traffic into the ACE data plane. After the ACL checks are made, a service policy, which is applied to the interface, is used to classify traffic destined for the VIP. The VIP is associated with a load-balancing action within the multimatch policy. The load-balancing action tells the ACE how to handle traffic that has been directed to a VIP. In this example, all traffic is sent to a server farm, where it is distributed in round-robin fashion to one of five real servers. The ACE configuration occurs in layers, such that it builds from the real IPs to applying the VIP on an interface. Due to this layered structure, it is optimal to create the configuration by working backward from the way the flow is processed. Thus, to enable server load balancing you need to do the following:
- Enable ACLs to allow data traffic through the ACE device, as it is denied by default.
- Configure the IPs of the servers (define rservers).
- Group the real servers (create a server farm).
- Define the virtual IP address (VIP).
- Define how traffic is to be handled as it is received (create a policy map for load balancing).
- Associate a VIP to a handling action (create a multimatch policy map [a service policy])
- Create client- and server-facing interfaces.
- Apply the VIP and ACL permitting client connections to the interface (apply access group and service policy to interface).
To begin the configuration, create an access list for permitting client connections.
ACE-1/routed(config)# access-list everyone extended permit ip any any ACE-1/routed(config)# access-list everyone extended permit icmp any any
The Cisco ACE needs to know the IP address of the servers available to handle client connections. The rserver command is used to define the IP address of the service. In addition, each rserver must be place in service for it to be used. The benefit of this design is that no matter how many applications or services an rserver hosts, the entire real server can be completely removed from the load-balancing rotation by issuing a single “no inservice” or “no inservice-standby” command at the rserver level. This is very beneficial for users needing to upgrade or patch an rserver, because they no longer have to go to each application and remove each instance of the rserver.
ACE-1/routed(config)# rserver lnx1 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# ip add 192.168.1.11 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# rserver lnx2 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# ip add 192.168.1.12 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# rserver lnx3 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# ip add 192.168.1.13 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# rserver lnx4 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# ip add 192.168.1.14 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# rserver lnx5 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# ip add 192.168.1.15 ACE-1/routed(config-rserver-host)# inservice
Now group the rservers to be used to handle client connections into a server farm. Again, the rserver must be placed in service. This allows a single instance of an rserver to be manually removed from rotation.
ACE-1/routed(config-cmap)# serverfarm web ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host)# rserver lnx1 ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# rserver lnx2 ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# rserver lnx3 ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# rserver lnx4 ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# inservice ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# rserver lnx5 ACE-1/routed(config-sfarm-host-rs)# inservice
Use a class map to define the VIP to which clients will send their requests. In this example, the VIP is considered L3 (Layer 3) because there is a match on any port. If the VIP were to match only HTTP traffic, the match would be bound to port 80 and considered an L4 (Layer 4) VIP. (For example, “match virtual-address 172.16.1.100 tcp eq 80”).
ACE-1/routed(config)# class-map slb-vip ACE-1/routed(config-cmap)# match virtual-address 172.16.1.100 any
Next define the action to take when a new client request arrives. In this case, all traffic will be sent to the “web” serverfarm. This type of load balancing is considered L4 since only class-default is used.
ACE-1/routed(config)# policy-map type loadbalance http first-match slb ACE-1/routed(config-pmap-lb)# class class-default ACE-1/routed(config-pmap-lb-c)# serverfarm web
Since the VIPs and load-balancing actions are defined independently, they must be associated so that the Cisco ACE knows how to handle traffic destined for a VIP. The association is made using a multimatch policy map. Keep in mind that multimatch policy maps are applied to interfaces as service policies.
ACE-1/routed(config)# policy-map multi-match client-vips ACE-1/routed(config-pmap)# class slb-vip ACE-1/routed(config-pmap-c)# loadbalance policy slb ACE-1/routed(config-pmap-c)# loadbalance vip inservice
At this point the interface VLANs can be created to interconnect the Cisco ACE to the client side of the network and to the servers.
ACE-1/routed(config)# interface vlan 20 ACE-1/routed(config-if)# description “Client Side” ACE-1/routed(config-if)# ip address 172.16.1.5 255.255.255.0 ACE-1/routed(config-if)# no shutdown ACE-1/routed(config-if)# interface vlan 40 ACE-1/routed(config-if)# description “Default gateway of real servers” ACE-1/routed(config-if)# ip address 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0 ACE-1/routed(config-if)# no shutdown
The last step is to apply the ACL and service policy (“policy-map multi-match”) to the client-side interface. Both the access group and service policy are applied on the input side of the interface.
ACE-1/routed(config)# interface vlan 20 ACE-1/routed(config-if)# access-group input everyone ACE-1/routed(config-if)# service-policy input client-vips
|Note:||There is no need to add an access group to the server side, as the Cisco ACE automatically creates pinholes to allow server response traffic to pass back to the client.|
Related show Commands
This section provides information you can use to confirm your configuration is working properly.
Certain show commands are supported by the Output Interpreter Tool (registered customers only), which allows you to view an analysis of show command output.
ACE-1/routed #show arp ACE-1/routed #show acl ACE-1/routed #show service-policy client-vips ACE-1/routed #show serverfarm ACE-1/routed #show rserver ACE-1/routed #show stats
Once you’ve completed the configuration, verify that the Cisco ACE has an Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) response for each rserver and the default route to the client. Check the ACL hits to ensure that client connections are being accepted. Check the service policy output to see the client connection hits, and verify that the server is responding with response packets. The “show” command for serverfarm and rserver can be used to display the exact rserver handling the connection and the amount of work the entire server farm has handled. The “show stats” command provides a higher level of monitoring of ACE load balancing, inspection, probes, and other important metrics.
ACE-1/routed# show run access-list everyone line 8 extended permit ip any any access-list everyone line 16 extended permit icmp any any rserver host lnx1 ip address 192.168.1.11 inservice rserver host lnx2 ip address 192.168.1.12 inservice rserver host lnx3 ip address 192.168.1.13 inservice rserver host lnx4 ip address 192.168.1.14 inservice rserver host lnx5 ip address 192.168.1.15 inservice serverfarm host web rserver lnx1 inservice rserver lnx2 inservice rserver lnx3 inservice rserver lnx4 inservice rserver lnx5 inservice class-map match-all slb-vip 2 match virtual-address 188.8.131.52 any policy-map type management first-match remote-access class class-default permit policy-map type loadbalance http first-match slb class class-default serverfarm web policy-map multi-match client-vips class slb-vip loadbalance vip inservice loadbalance policy slb interface vlan 20 description "Client Side" ip address 172.16.1.5 255.255.255.0 access-group input everyone service-policy input client-vips no shutdown interface vlan 40 description "Default gateway of real servers" ip address 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0 service-policy input remote-access no shutdown ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 172.16.1.1