Apr 012013
 

Tunnel

NetWorker and firewalls has always been a bit of a challenging combination. It’s become increasingly simplified over time – to the point where even a network luddite such as myself can readily configure ports access across a firewall – so long as the firewall administrators or interface are cooperative.

But the rub has always been the need for multiple ports. Many firewall administrators would like to only have to open one port across a DMZ. This is a feature some competing products have cited as an advantage in secure environments over NetWorker and to be honest, in situations where port minimisation is a key required feature, it’s been difficult to argue against that.

A new feature in NetWorker 8 that I hadn’t noticed before however is a new option – tunnelling. As per typical network tunnels, the scenario available to NetWorker now is specifying a single IP address and port number on either side of the DMZ to pass all traffic through.

This functionality designates a communications proxy on either side of the firewall – a new NetWorker daemon, nsrtund, comes into play, and access is configured via aliases and the server network interface option within clients. Currently this looks to be restricted in operating systems … the tunnel proxy and the NetWorker server need to be any of the following:

  • Solaris/Sparc (10 or 11)
  • Solaris/AMD (10 or 11)
  • RHEL on x86/x64;
  • SLES on x86/x64.

I’m hoping Windows gets added to that mix soon – we know Windows represents a substantial aspect of NetWorker server deployments these days.

I’ve not yet had a chance to run up a configuration to test tunnelling, but the documentation looks comprehensive, and if you’re interested in using it yourself, you’ll find it in the Technical Notes section on the support.emc.com website.

(Oh, and while I’m at it – kudos to EMC for renaming their documentation files to sensible names reflective of the title and content, rather than the old standard of part numbers. It’s great to see technology companies adjusting things to suit customers better.)

 

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