SMB over QUIC POC

SMB over QUIC POC

I have had the distinct pleasure of being one of the first people to implement a SMB over QUIC POC. It was in a proof of concept I did with Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition in public preview.

That was a fun and educational excercise. As a result, I learned a lot. As a result, I decided to write a lab and test guide, primarily for my own reference. But also, to share my experience with others.

SMB over QUIC POC
So happy I did this POC and I am very happy with the results!

You can read the lab guide in a two part series of articles. SMB over QUIC: How to use it – Part I | StarWind Blog (starwindsoftware.com) and SMB over QUIC Testing Guide – Part II | StarWind Blog (starwindsoftware.com)

I am convinded it will fill a need for people that require remote access to SMB file shares without a VPN. Next to that, the integration with the KDC proxy service make it a Kerberos integrated solution. In addition, the KDC Prosy service has the added benefit of allowing for remote password changes.

If you need to get up to speed on what SMB over QUIC is all about I refer your to my article SMB over QUIC Technology | StarWind Blog (starwindsoftware.com). I’m sure that will bring you up to speed.

Finally, I hope you will find these articles useful. I’m pretty sure they will help you with your own SMB over QUIC POC and testing.

Thank your for reading!

Microsoft and QUIC

Microsoft and QUIC

If you are interested in Microsoft and QUIC I have some good news for you. Recently a new article, SMB over QUIC Technology | StarWind Blog (starwindsoftware.com) was published. It is the first in a series about what Microsoft is working on in regards to QUIC. While not without some controversy, QUIC does a lot for a number of issues connectivity over “the internet at large” has been dealing with.

  • It leverages UDP.
  • TLS 1.3 is built into the protocol.
  • Reduces RTT during connection & encryption setup.
  • Handles and optimizes flow control and loss recovery.
Figure : QUIC reduces the round trips during the TLS handshake significantly
QUIC reduces the round trips during the TLS handshake significantly

Over the internet, with mobile clients, this is a big deal. Since it is secure by default people really started thinking about where this can be used to improve things for all involved.

I think QUIC is going to be more and more important in the future and this article positions QUIC in the Microsoft ecosystem. So, head over there, read it, and let me know what you think.

TLS 1.3, QUIC, HTTP/3, and SMB 3.1.1 are shaking up things a bit by challenging TCP. Microsoft dropped QUIC into Windows Server 2022 Azure edition. That went into public preview last week and I dove in to the lab to figure out what I can do with it.

As a technologist, I am having a lot of fun testing this out in the lab. Last weekend I was busy with SMB over QUIC and QUIC in IIS. I learned a lot and have made up my mind I can use this in the real world to solve requirements. I will share my findings and musing with you in near the future. But today, start with an introduction in SMB over QUIC Technology | StarWind Blog (starwindsoftware.com).

Check vhid, password and virtual IP address Kemp LoadMaster

Introduction

Recently I was implementing a high available Kemp LoadMaster X15 system. I prepared everything, documented the switch and LM-X15 configuration, and created a VISIO to visualize it all. That, together with the migration and rollback scenario was all presented to the team lead and the engineer who was going to work on this with us. I told the team lead that all would go smoothly if my preparations were good and I did not make any mistakes in the configuration. Well, guess what, I made a mistake somewhere and had to solve a Kemp LoadMaster ad digest – md2=[31084da3…] md=[20dcd914…] – Check vhid, password and virtual IP address log entry.

Check vhid, password and virtual IP address

As, while all was working well, we saw the following entry inundate the system message file log:

<date> <LoadMasterHostName> ucarp[2193]: Bad digest – md2=[xxxxx…] md=[xxxxx…] – Check vhid, password and virtual IP address

Check vhid, password and virtual IP address
every second …

Wait a minute, as far as I know all was OK. The VHID was unique for the HA pair and we did not have duplicate IP addresses set anywhere on other network appliances. So what was this about?

Figuring out the cause

Well, we have a bond0 on eth0 and eth2 for the appliance management. We also have eth1 which is a special interface used for L1 health checks between the Loadmasters. We don’t use a direct link (different racks) so we configure them with an IP on a separate dedicated subnet. Then we have the bonds with the VLAN for the actual workloads via Virtual Services.

We have heartbeat health checks on bond0, eth1 and on at least one VLAN per bonds for the workloads.

Confirm that Promiscuous mode and PortFast are enabled. Check!
HA is configured for multicast traffic in our setup so we confirm that the switch allows multicast traffic. Check!

Make sure that switch configurations that block multicast traffic, such as ‘IGMP snooping’, are disabled on the switch/switch ports as needed. Check!

Now let’s look at possible causes and check our confguration:

So what else? The documentation states as possible other causes the following:

  1. There is another device on the network with the same HA Virtual ID. The LoadMasters in a HA pair should have the same HA Virtual ID. It is possible that a third device could be interfering with these units. As of LoadMaster firmware version 7.2.36, the LoadMaster selects a HA Virtual ID based on the shared IP address of the first configured interface (the last 8 bits). You can change the value to whatever number you want (in the range 1 – 255), or you can keep it at the value already selected. Check!
  2. An interface used for HA checks is receiving a packet from a different interface/appliance. If the LoadMaster has two interfaces connecting to the same switch, with Use for HA checks enabled, this can also cause these error messages. Disable the Use for HA checks option on one of the interfaces to confirm the issue. If confirmed, either leave the option disabled or move the interface to a separate switch.

I am sure there is no interference from another appliance. Check! As we had checked every other possible cause the line in red caught my attention. Could it be?

Time for some packet captures

So we took a TCP dump on bond0 and looked at it in Wireshark. You can make a TCP dump via debug options under System Log Files.

Check vhid, password and virtual IP address
Debug Options, once there find TCP dump.

Select your interface, click start, after 10 seconds or so click stop and download the dump

TCP dump

Do note that Wireshark identifies this as VRRP, but the LoadMaster uses CARP (open source) do set it to decode as CARP, that way you’ll see more interesting information in Info

No, not proprietary VRRP but CARP

Also filter on ip.dst == 244.0.0.18 (multicast address). What we get here is that on eth0 we see multicasts from eth1. That is the case described in the documentation. Aha!

Check vhid, password and virtual IP address
Aha, we see CARP multicasts from eth1 on eth0, that is what we call a clue!

So now what, do we need to move eth1 to another switch to solve this? Or disable the HA check? No, luckily not. Read on.

The fix for Check vhid, password and virtual IP address

No, I did not use one or more separate switches just to plug in the heartbeat HA interfaces on the LoadMasters. What I did is create a separate VLAN for the eth0 HA heartbeat uplink interfaces on the switches. This way I ensure that they are in a separate unicast group from the management interface uplinks on the switches

By selecting a different VLAN for the MGNT and Heartbeat interface uplink they are in different TV VLAN groups by default.

By default the Multicast TV VLAN Membership is per VLAN. The reason the actual workload interfaces did not cause an issue when we enabled HA checks is that these were trunk ports with a number of allowed VLANs, different from the management VLAN, which prevents this error being logged in the first place.

That this works was confirmed in the packet trace from the LM-X15 after making the change.

No more packets received from a different interface. Mission accomplished.

So that was it. The error was gone and we could move along with the project.

Conclusion

Well, I should have know as normally I do put those networks not just in a separate subnet but also make sure they are on different VLANs. This goes to show that no matter how experienced you are and how well you prepare you will still make mistakes. That’s normal and that’s OK, it means you are actually doing something. Key is how you deal with a mistake and that why I wrote this. To share how I found out the root cause of the issue and how I fixed it. Mistakes are a learning opportunity, use them as such. I know many organizations frown upon a mistake but really, these should grow up and don’t act this silly.

Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN are live!

Introduction

Last week, around August 26-27th 2020 Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN lit up in my Azure Tenants. Awesome news. Normally this should have happened the week of the 3d of August 2020. However, some delay happened. Now it is here is has come in silence. Which I find odd. This is a major capability that offers so much of what we need to make Azure Virtual WAN shine. But it is here, ready to shine at Microsoft Ignite

Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN
Watch my video on custom route tables in Azure virtual WAN

Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN

What do we have now? You can read up on Azure Virtual WAN route tables over here. I have made a video about all this which you can find on my blog and on my Vimeo channel. Please take a look for some walkthroughs and links to some other blog posts by me on Azure Virtual WAN.

LabELs

First of all, let’s discuss the labels. Labels logically group route tables. These are very helpful when propagating routes from connections to multiple route tables. The Default Route Table has a built-in label called ‘Default’. When you propagate connection routes to the ‘Default’ label, it automatically applies to all the Default Route Tables across every hub in the Virtual WAN.

Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN
Creating a label

Associations

Now, we can discuss associations. Each connection is associated with one route table. This means that the connection can send to the destination indicated as routes in the route table it is associated with. The routing configuration of the connection will show the associated route table. This is very important for connected VNETs. Multiple connections can be associated with the same route table. Note that all VPN, ExpressRoute, and User VPN connections are associated with the same (default) route table.

Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN
Association

By default, all connections are associated with the Default route table in a virtual hub. Each virtual hub has its own Default route table. You can add one or more static routes to the default Route table. Static routes take precedence over dynamically learned routes for the same prefixes.

Propagations

Last but not least, connections dynamically propagate routes to one or more route table. VPN, ExpressRoute, and User VPN connections propagate routes to the same set of route tables. With connections like a Site-2-Site VPN, Express Route, or Point-2-Site VPN, routes are propagated from the virtual hub to the on-premises router using BGP.

Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN
Propagations for Branches
Custom Route Tables in Azure Virtual WAN
Propagation for a connected VNET

A “None” route table is also available for each virtual hub. Propagating to the None route table implies that no routes are propagated from the connection.

Some need to ask

Finally, some customers need to reach out to support in order to get Azure Virtual WAN Custom route tables to light up.

Contact Microsoft support if and when needed to enable custom route tables for you.

As a result, I suggest you do so to start kicking the tires and then dive in deeper. This is a cornerstone technology for Azure networking going forward.

Automation

I have not found any documentation or guidance in regards to automation with PowerShell, Azure CLI, or ARM templates yet. I expect this to be forthcoming as this is much needed. As a result, I hope we’ll see this by Microsft Ignite 2020.

Conclusion

Azure Virtual WAN with the secured Virtual Hub and custom route tables offers the capabilities we have been waiting for. With these capabilities in place. Azure Virtual WAN is the future of Azure virtual networking. Therefore, I fully expect to hear a lot more about it during Microsoft Ignite in September. I personally will focus on this part of networking in the coming months. It is a stock part of any Azure initiative and project in the near future.