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Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

Legend

A very quick question to be sure in firewall's rules:
I have to open firewalls routes to permit traffic from the Forwarders to the indexers on 9997 port (one way).
Otherwise, to permit traffic between Forwarders and the Deployment Server on port 8089, I must open traffic both from and to the Deployment Server and the Forwarders. In other words, is it two way traffic or one way traffic like 9997?
I know that Forwarders call the Deployment Server and it polls them so I think that it's two way traffic, but I didn't find any confirmation to this in Splunk documentation.

Can someone help me to confirm this?

Thanks.
Bye.
Giuseppe

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

SplunkTrust
SplunkTrust

Updating this answer to help.

The direction determines which way the original communication can go.

If host a will contact host b every time,
Then you need one direction opened (from a to b). If both hosts will open connections to each other, you need both directions opened.

UFs call the Deployment server and ask for their apps, the deployment server never calls the UFs. So you don't need bodirectional from UFs to DS.

However, there are some apps that require inbound to the UF for managing the UF via REST. So if you plan to use those apps you will probably open 8089 from a search head to the forwarders.

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

Contributor

Exactly jkat54!

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

SplunkTrust
SplunkTrust

Its networking / OSI model 101: TCP is a "connection-full" protocol. It requires bi-directional communications so the sender can receive ACKs from the receiver. UDP is a "connection-less" protocol. It sends data and doesnt care if anyone is listening or not.

All Splunk communications except for UDP/SYSLOG inputs & outputs are TCP. Therefore all Splunk ports are bi-directional. It doesnt matter what VISIO diagram you find and who/where it came from. Not everyone understands TCP, and very few ever have to understand bi-directional vs uni-directional. You can almost always count on the technical writers getting it wrong with their "arrows".

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

SplunkTrust
SplunkTrust

Jtacy corrected my networking 101
Mistake with a bit of networking 201.

The "directionality" of the FIRST communication is typically what is being discussed here. If I let
Server 1 communicate to the Internet on port 80 via unidirectional rule... Then TCP works fine and traffic flows both directions. However it's only server 1 who can open / initiate the connection on port
80 and therefore the Internet can't open the connection back to server
1. This means the forwarders can be unidirectional to the deployment server. Port 8089 however, typically carries traffic in both directions but it's not typically used on forwarders.

A reason you might want 8089 open to a forwarder is if you want to manage it via API remotely. Which in that case you would only need unidirectional TO the forwarder.

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

SplunkTrust
SplunkTrust

Final answer is no you don't need bidirectional from the forwarders but unidirectional from the forwarders will do just fine.

All credit to @jtacy.

For what it's worth, I don't see a huge security issue with having bidirectional on port 9997; just its not necessary.

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

Explorer

I agree to that. There is a confusion about what is "bidirectionnal" here. Any TCP connection, once opened by a source towards a destination on a specified port, will have data flowing in both directions by design: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc793#section-1.5.

When firewall configuration considerations happen, then the true question to answer is not about flow but rather "who opens that connection ?". Who is the source and who is the destination ? That is what IT staffs asks me all the time : give me your "source + destination + protocol + port involved" (see, this is a one way rule).

Now, I think the deployment server never initiates/opens a connection to the FWDers (poll mecanism from fwders to DS), so to agree with the response above and below made by @jkat54 and @jtacy : on the firewall => unidirection/one way rule for tcp traffic (1 firewall rule allowing connection from FWD => DS).

Hope it helps and confirms the answers made so far by @jkat54 and @jtacy.

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

Ultra Champion

A lovely discussion with an outstanding visio diagram, which I downloaded and treasure ; -) - What are the ports that I need to open?

It says there -

-- On my forwarders, I see bi-directional data flowing on port 9997 between the forwarders and the indexers (using tcpdump src port 9997 and tcpdump dst port 9997)

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

Legend

The mentioned Visio grows my confusion: in the draw all 8089 and 9997 flows seems to be unidirection (there is only one arrow end), the only bidirectional flow seems to be the indexers replication.
Everyway to be sure I'll open 8089 in both the direction.
Bye.
Giuseppe

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Re: Do I need bidirectional firewall rules for communication between forwarders and the deployment server on port 8089?

Ultra Champion

Right... the connection with the deployment server is, for sure, bidirectional. So, right this lovely visio diagram needs to change a bit ; -)

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