Normally when a routing device receives a packet it decides where to forward it based on the destination address of the packet. Policy Based Routing (PBR) is a mechanism which allows you forward packets based on policies manually defined by network administrators. A good use case for PBR is when a company which has multiple outside connections to different ISPs needs to control how traffic can be distributed across these connections. Compared to traditional routing PBR allows you to implement routing policies based on different criterias like source or destination address, source or destination port, protocol, size of the packet, packet classification and so on. Cisco introduced this feature on Cisco ASA beginning with version 9.4(1). Let’s dive into the PBR configuration.
In modern datacenters one of the most important things that needs to be addressed is uptime. Cisco ASA offers high availability mechanisms like failover in order to provide network uptime and redundancy. In order to configure failover we need two identical ASA devices connected to each other through a dedicated failover link and, optionally, a stateful failover link. There are two different failover modes that are supported on the ASA platform: active/standby and active/active. In this article we will focus only on configuring active/standby failover. In an active/standby failover setup only one unit called the active unit is passing traffic. The standby unit is used as a backup of the active unit and only accepts management connections (all transit traffic is dropped). When the active unit fails, it changes to the standby state while the standby unit changes to the active state.