Introduction to ClusterXL

The Need for Clusters

Security Gateways and VPN connections are business critical devices. The failureClosed A hardware or software problem that causes a Security Gateway to be unable to serve as a Cluster Member (for example, one of cluster interface has failed, or one of the monitored daemon has crashed). Cluster Member that suffered from a failure is declared as failed, and its state is changed to Down (a physical interface is considered Down only if all configured VLANs on that physical interface are Down). of a Security GatewayClosed Dedicated Check Point server that runs Check Point software to inspect traffic and enforce Security Policies for connected network resources. or VPN connection can result in the loss of activeClosed State of a Cluster Member that is fully operational: (1) In ClusterXL, this applies to the state of the Security Gateway component (2) In 3rd-party / OPSEC cluster, this applies to the state of the cluster State Synchronization mechanism. connections and access to critical data. The Security Gateway between the organization and the world must remain open under all circumstances.

ClusterXL Solution

ClusterXLClosed Cluster of Check Point Security Gateways that work together in a redundant configuration. The ClusterXL both handles the traffic and performs State Synchronization. These Check Point Security Gateways are installed on Gaia OS: (1) ClusterXL supports up to 5 Cluster Members, (2) VRRP Cluster supports up to 2 Cluster Members, (3) VSX VSLS cluster supports up to 13 Cluster Members. Note: In ClusterXL Load Sharing mode, configuring more than 4 Cluster Members significantly decreases the cluster performance due to amount of Delta Sync traffic. is a Check Point software-based clusterClosed Two or more Security Gateways that work together in a redundant configuration - High Availability, or Load Sharing. solution for Security Gateway redundancy and Load SharingClosed A redundant cluster mode, where all Cluster Members process all incoming traffic in parallel. For more information, see "Load Sharing Multicast Mode" and "Load Sharing Unicast Mode". Synonyms: Active/Active, Load Balancing mode. Acronym: LS.. A ClusterXL Security Cluster contains identical Check Point Security Gateways.




Internal network


Switch for internal network


Security Gateways with ClusterXL Software BladeClosed Specific security solution (module): (1) On a Security Gateway, each Software Blade inspects specific characteristics of the traffic (2) On a Management Server, each Software Blade enables different management capabilities.


Switch for external networks



How ClusterXL Works

ClusterXL uses State Synchronization to keep active connections alive and prevent data loss when a Cluster MemberClosed Security Gateway that is part of a cluster. fails. With State SynchronizationClosed Technology that synchronizes the relevant information about the current connections (stored in various kernel tables on Check Point Security Gateways) among all Cluster Members over Synchronization Network. Due to State Synchronization, the current connections are not cut off during cluster failover., each Cluster Member "knows" about connections that go through other Cluster Members.

ClusterXL uses virtual IP addresses for the cluster itself and unique physical IP and MAC addresses for the Cluster Members. Virtual IP addresses do not belong to physical interfaces.

Note - This guide contains information only for Security Gateway clusters. For additional information about the use of ClusterXL with VSXClosed Virtual System Extension. Check Point virtual networking solution, hosted on a computer or cluster with virtual abstractions of Check Point Security Gateways and other network devices. These Virtual Devices provide the same functionality as their physical counterparts., see the R81.10 VSX Administration Guide.

The Cluster Control Protocol

The Cluster Control ProtocolClosed Proprietary Check Point protocol that runs between Cluster Members on UDP port 8116, and has the following roles: (1) State Synchronization (Delta Sync), (2) Health checks (state of Cluster Members and of cluster interfaces): Health-status Reports, Cluster-member Probing, State-change Commands, Querying for cluster membership. Note: CCP is located between the Check Point Firewall kernel and the network interface (therefore, only TCPdump should be used for capturing this traffic). Acronym: CCP. (CCP) packets are the glue that links together the members in the Security Cluster.

CCP traffic is distinct from ordinary network traffic and can be viewed using any network sniffer.

CCP runs on UDP port 8116 between the Cluster Members, and has the following roles:

The Check Point CCP is used by all ClusterXL modes.

Important - There is no need to add an explicit ruleClosed Set of traffic parameters and other conditions in a Rule Base (Security Policy) that cause specified actions to be taken for a communication session. to the Security PolicyClosed Collection of rules that control network traffic and enforce organization guidelines for data protection and access to resources with packet inspection. Rule BaseClosed All rules configured in a given Security Policy. Synonym: Rulebase. that accepts CCP packets.

For more information, see Configuring the Cluster Control Protocol (CCP) Settings.