ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun

ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
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October 7, 2017 (/blog/2017/10/7/ise-design-going-above-the-
ISE Design - Going Above The
Katherine McNamara (/blog/?author=565b775ce4b04cd6ce9c59a3)
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In this blog post, I'm going to get into designing, scaling and
deploying ISE. Like any piece of infrastructure, all the best
configurations in the world won't help you if it's not design
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ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking
fun 2017
properly. In this post, I'm going to really focus on what I do to
make an ISE implementation successful.
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One important thing to remember with ISE is that it's a control for
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your company's security policy but it's not supposed to write your
security policy for you and it shouldn't dictate what your corporate
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security policy is. You should never start planning your ISE
deployment without having a company security policy in mind and
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stating your goals. Different companies, industries, regulations,
auditors, etc might guide each company to have a different security
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policy so you should deploy your ISE implementation to
compliment that security policy.
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Some of the questions I would pose include:
What are we trying to protect?
Do we need to restrict access based on roles, endpoint type,
Is complete or partial network segmentation required?
Are we going to be preventing east-west traffic as well as
Will we allow BYOD? If so, will we allow those endpoints to
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talk to internal assets? What level of control over those
endpoints do we require?
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Is guest access a requirement? If so, is there a requirement to
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track who is coming onto the network as a guest?
Will we be tracking and controlling corporate assets?
Will we be restricting access dynamically based on changes
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Is there a corporate security policy that governs the use of
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technology assets and restrictions on them? May I see it if
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there is? Can we create one if there is now?
Who are the stakeholders in management that will be
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to those corporate assets?
supporting this project? <- This one is important. As with
any security control you put into place that is new, access
will change for the user and it's bound to make people
complain if they don't have the same level of freedom that
they had before. If you don't have top-down support for
this going in there's no easy way to succeed with layer 8
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this going in, there's no easy way
to succeed with layer 8
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
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After getting a feel for what the goals are of this ISE
implementation, I like to dig in using something like the Cisco ISE
High Level Design which you can download from the ISE
Communities here ( It's a planning document to feel out what the company is
hoping to achieve and some technical information
In most cases, no one really knows how many endpoint are out in
there network at any given time but it's important to work up an
approximate number for licensing purposes and planning how how
to size the deployment. When it comes to licensing, remember this:
The licensing is done on concurrently connected endpoints on the
network. That means if you have a company that engages in shift
work, you need to approximate the highest number of endpoints
connected to the network at one time - not the total number of
endpoints that might be on your network in a 24-hour period.
There are four license types:
Base - These are perpetual licenses. You need one of these
for every endpoint that is connected to your network
regardless of how it's accessing your network. An endpoint
only uses a base-only license if they are connecting using
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Server (/blog?
Splunk (/blog?
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WSA (/blog?tag=WSA)
EasyConnect, 802.1x, BYOD without ISE CA, and Guest
Plus - These are subscription licenses and the use case for
these is as follows: Access based on profiling, BYOD with
ISE CA, and pxGrid context sharing. Very important: If you
are deploying ISE for wired access, you will also need some
Plus licenses. The reason being is that you will always have
devices like access points, phones, printers, etc that you
would want to profile. Without Plus licenses, you would be
making static MAC lists and this does not scale. Any money
i Pl
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save in Plus licenses will end
ISE up
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The Configuration
— Networking fun
administration and static MAC lists are not very
secure. Note: If you have a single Plus license in your
deployment, you will get details from the device profiling
feed service and as long as you have profiling turned on in
ISE and data being sent to ISE to collect, it should profile
the endpoint automatically. Do not worry that this is
causing you to use a Plus license. The only time a Plus
license is used when you create an Authorization Rule in
your policy set to enforce based on that profile and that
endpoint hits that rule. Beyond that, don't be afraid to
still collect those details about the endpoints even if you
are not enforcing on it.
Apex - These are subscription licenses. Not to be confused
with AnyConnect Apex licenses. This license is consumed
when you use posturing, MDM integration, or mitigate with
Threat-Centric NAC. Note: If you are using AnyConnect
and not the Temporal agent for posturing, you would need
to make sure you have separate AnyConnect Apex
Device Admin - This is a perpetual license. Think of this as
your TACACS+ features from ACS on ISE. One thing to note
is this: It's a single license per ISE cube, not a license per
managed network device and it's not tied to any other
licenses. Unlike ACS where you would buy based on
managed devices, ISE does not require this. The only
exception where you have to buy an additional license is f
you are purchasing ISE for nothing but device
ddministration. If you do need to purchase at least 100 Base
licenses but that's only because ISE needs at least 100 Base
licenses to run - it's not tied to the managed network device
A nice graphic of all the different use cases for ISE licenses is
displayed below if you want to understand the licensing model a
little more:
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
It's also important to know the business requirements first before
learning more about the infrastructure because if you find out the
business requirement is to posture all corporate assets but no
BYOD assets, it's good to know that and keep that in mind as
you're designing this since you won't have to worry about
someone's phone or personal laptop.
As I stated above, it's hard to have an exact count of how many
endpoints are on the network but this is sort of what I base my
guesstimates on:
Corporate users - I would say the majority of them will have
3 endpoints per person if you take into account a desktop,
tablet or personal laptop, and phone. Depending on how
many users are at work at a given time based on the largest
shift, this will give me a generally good idea.
Phones - IP Phones don't generally get disconnected from the
network because someone is off shift but the enterprise is
using CUCM or some other phone management server, you
can get a pretty accurate count. Depending on the phone
manufacturer, the phone might also have the ability to use
802.1x using the manufacturer certificate that's built in or
another certificate that you load on there. This would be the
difference between using a Base license vs a Plus license for
each phone while still ensuring security (NO STATIC MAC
Access Points - Most enterprises have a general count of
these by looking at their wireless controller and it'll help you
to be able to determine how many of these are in the
environment. They should always be connected as well. It's
usually pretty easy to profile these but depending on the
manufacturer, the access points may also do 802.1x as
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
Printers, IoT Devices, etc - This can be a little harder to
figure out but there should be a general number that you can
find out out there.
Depending on the size of the environment, you could also cheat a
little by spinning up an ISE virtual machine and profile via SNMP
and NMAP to get a general idea of how many endpoints are out
there. It depends on the environment but it could be useful for
collecting information even if it's on just one sample site.
Another key thing to consider about the environment is whether or
not it's an environment you want to deploy ISE as a virtual machine
or appliance. Lots of people usually say VM really quickly but
before you jump to that, I want you to think about this because it's
very very very very very very very important:
Do you trust whoever manages your virtual machines to
never change the ISE VM or move resources away from
Once that ISE VM is deployed, if you change any of the resources
on it, it will become unstable. Even if the RAM and CPU usage
looks fine and you decide to only take 1GB of RAM away from it,
DO NOT. It can cause very big problems that are often hard to
diagnose. Even if you use the ISO to install ISE on top of a blank
virtual machine, do not change it after it's installed. If you think
someone might change them when you aren't looking, go with
physical appliances.
Note: You can have a mixed environment as well with physical
and virtual appliances. You aren't just limited to one form
When designing your ISE cube, think about the following questions
and keep in mind the information you gathered from previous
How many concurrently connected endpoints are there at
peak time? Make sure you take into account 20-30% growth
in the future when it comes to the actual design (not
13/11/2018 necessarily
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licensing if you don't
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be added later).
How geographically distributed is the deployment?
Are you going to be migrating ACS over to ISE or using ISE
for device administration? If so, how large is your
What kind of high availability and redundancy would your
company prefer?
When it comes to factoring in the concurrently connected endpoint,
you should understand the ISE personas a little better since will
help you with how to scale ISE. There are three main ISE personas
you will have in every ISE deployment. They can live on the same
appliance or distributed. How you deploy them will determine how
you can scale ISE.
PAN - This is where you perform all the administration for
the deployment. It's highly recommended to have at least two
of these in a deployment whether you are doing two ISE
appliances with all the personas on it working as an
Active/Standby pair or you have a fully distributed
deployment. If one were to fail and you don't have a backup,
you have no way to administer to your ISE Cube
MnT - This is the log collector of the ISE deployment and
stores all the log messages from your individual PAN and
bl h
13/11/2018 PSNs.
The advanced monitoringISEand
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are built into it. It is also recommended to have at least two
of these in your deployment operating as active/standby.
PSN - These are the real workhorses of ISE. They will carry
the configuration that is pushed from the PANs and answer
all RADIUS requests sent from your network access devices.
They also perform PassiveID, SXP, Device Admin
(TACACS+) services, profiling, etc if those services are
turned on. You can have up to 50 of these in an ISE
deployment as of my writing this.
Another optional persona type is pxGrid. This is not a mandatory
persona and if you're not integrating ISE with third party systems,
you might never need to use it. If you do choose to add a pxGrid
node, you can add up to 2 pxGrid nodes in an ISE cube and they
run as active/standby.
At this point of your planning, you should have a general idea of
how many endpoints are going to be in the deployment so lets look
at some of the scalability numbers as of ISE 2.2/2.3:
Distributed Deployment - This is if you choose to separate
out your PAN, MnT and PSNs as a fully distributed
You can have a maximum of 250,000 concurrently
connected endpoints and up to 40 PSNs deployed if
you're using the 34xx series physical appliances (or
similarly sized virtual appliances)
You can have a maxumum of 500,000 concurrently
connected endpoints and up to 50 PSNs deployed if
you're using the 35xx series physical appliances (or
similarly sized virtual appliances).
Medium Deployment - In this deployment, you have
combined the PAN and MnT personas on the same ISE
appliance but deploy separate PSNs
You can have a maximum of 5,000-10,000 concurrently
connected endpoints and up to 5 PSNs deployed if
you're using the 34xx series physical appliances (or
similarly sized virtual appliances)
You can have a maximum of 7,500-20,000 concurrently
connected endpoints and up to 5 PSNs deployedif
you're using the 35xx series physical appliances (or
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
similarly sized virtual appliances).
Small Deployment - This is a deployment where you have
the PAN, MnT, and PSN personas on the same appliance. You
can still have two appliances in this setup where they are
active as PAN/MnT active/standby and active/active for the
PSN services to add some high availability
You can have a maximum of 5,000-10,000 concurrently
connected endpoints if you're using the 34xx series
physical appliances (or similarly sized virtual
You can have a maximum of 7,500-20,000 concurrently
connected endpoints if you're using the 35xx series
physical appliances (or similarly sized virtual
Full ISE Performance & Scale Numbers
If you think you are likely to scale past 20,000 endpoints that are
concurrently connected in the near future, you really should go
with a distributed deployment.
You also have the ability to add nodes and change the personas at a
later time. If you are starting small and decide you want to
distribute your deployment more, you can spin up a new ISE VM
or get a new ISE appliance and migrate a persona over and add that
scalability to your existing ISE deployment.
Another thing to consider is the maximum concurrent sessions per
appliance type. Depending on how many endpoints you anticipate
in your deployment, this can make your decision on what type of
appliance to go with. Whether you are deploying ISE from an OVA
or as a physical appliance, you're really sizing it the same as a
physical appliance would be sized. Based on the physical
appliance models, you have a finite amount of resources and need
to be aware of each model's limitations:
SNS 3415 (VM or Hardware) - 5,000 concurrently connected
SNS 3495 (VM or Hardware) - 10,000 concurrently
connected endpoints
SNS 3515 (VM or Hardware) - 7,500 concurrently connected
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
SNS 3595 (VM or Hardware) - 20,000 concurrently
connected endpoints
Knowing these model limitations is important because if you point
too many switches towards the same PSN, it won't matter how
distributed your ISE deployment is if you overload that single
appliance. If you have a large deployment, you might want to
consider these ideas to keep a single PSN from being overloaded
by too many requests:
Having a local ISE appliance or VM onsite at critical sites to
service local clients and then having backup ISE appliances
in the data center. If the PSN ever gets cut off from the PAN
because the WAN goes down, it would still continue to
service the endpoints as it was before. 802.1x and AD logins
would still work - you just wouldn't be able to create new
guest accounts, profile new endpoints, or make configuration
changes to the PSN. When you're configuring this on network
access device, you can easily have the local PSN be the first
RADIUS server in your RADIUS group in the configuration
and have the backups listed after.
Centralizing the PSNs and placing them behind a load
balancer. Not only will this insure seamless failover if one of
the PSNs were to go down but it would also insure that if
there is a failure, one of the remaining PSNs will not become
overutilized. Placing load balancers in front of ISE PSNs is a
supported design and you can read the details at the ISE
Communities by clicking here
Centralizing PSNs by geographic region and ensure the
switch configuration is different per region to point to the
correct PSNs. If this is a large scale ISE deployment, I perfer
this option less because I like to standardize all my switch
configurations where possible and you have to hope that
every Jr Network Admin configures the regional switches
correctly for that region.
The important thing to consider in a design isn't that you scale with
just the right amount of PSNs but you insure that a failure scenario
of one or two PSNs does not put you in a situation where one PSN
is performing poorly due to being overutilized.
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
As far as geographic distance and latency,
it used to be a bigger
issue in earlier versions of ISE but has improved in later versions
of ISE. When ISE 1.1 came out, you could only have 100ms
latency between the PAN and any other ISE appliance which made
large geographic deployments a lot more tricky. Thankfully from
ISE 2.1 and up, you can have up to 300ms of latency between any
separate ISE appliance. In most cases, this usually works out fine
but there might be issues with certain Asian countries to the US so
it's important to gauge that out ahead of time. In my experience, it
will not break anything in ISE if you go above 300ms in most
cases but user experience will start to suffer at this point and you
don't want that.
There are certain bandwidth needs between different ISE node that
need to be taken into account. To plan for your bandwidth needs,
Cisco provides an ISE bandwidth and latency calculator here
( If you have
limited bandwidth, I would highly recommend implementing some
QoS between the different ISE nodes.
When it comes to using ISE for TACACS+ and you have a smallto-smallish-medium deployment, it should be fine to just run it all
on one ISE cube along with the rest of your services. If you would
consider yourself a medium to large deployment, I would guide you
towards a separate ISE cube for those device admin services. The
performance per platform for TACACS+ really depends but here
are the general numbers from the ISE 2.2+ Deployment Scale and
Limits guide (
found on the ISE Communities:
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
That may look like it'll scale fine if you only have a couple network
engineers but let's say you have some processes that are scripted or
network management systems that run processes daily or every
couple hours? That will start to add up if you have hundreds or
thousands of switches. Also important to note that the PSNs that
are performing TACACS+ services also use the same MnT and if
you're doing tons of command accounting for everything the scripts
or management systems are doing, it may strain the MnT nodes if
it's combined with a large ISE deployment for network access. If
you worry that your deployment is too large for both to be in the
same ISE cube, I would say to err on the side of caution and just
stand up a separate ISE cube that's dedicated for TACACS+.
High availability and redundancy is the next thing I want to talk
about when it comes to ISE. What is considered an acceptable risk
is highly subjective depending on the business. For example,
military or defense may have requirements that NOTHING can
ever get on the network unless it's identified and authenticated first
and in the event of a failure, denial of services is the preferred
option while the health industry would prefer a "fail open" strategy
because availability of services is more important than locking it
Here are some of the common options I usually go over with my
Full Redundancy - If security is key for you and everything
must be authenticated to the network even in the event of a
WAN failure, this would be something to consider. This is
where you would have a PSN deployed at every site or
critical sites - possibly along with a domain controller. If the
PSN were to every lose connectivity to the PAN and MnT, it
would still be able to service it's existing sessions, 802.1x,
existing guests, existing profiled endpoints, etc. It won't be
able to profile new devices or create new guest accounts but
in this situation, security is more the priority than the
immediate need to onboard a new guest to the environment.
ISE nodes in centralized locations but still redundant This accepts some risk if the WAN was to completely go
down but is still an acceptable design - especially if you have
t WAN i
t th
hi h l
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13/11/2018 redundant
WAN circuits at the sites
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Above your
The Configuration
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RADIUS Dead Scenario: Fall back to VLAN or fail open If you've centralized your PSNs and the network access
device is not able to reach it, they will eventually hit their
RADIUS server deadtime. Depending on how you configured
the switch, you can have it essentially "fail open" or just fail
to a specific VLAN if the RADIUS server is declared dead.
When the RADIUS server is declared alive again, the
endpoints will go through their regular authentication and
change access based on what they should have access to.
RADIUS Dead Scenario: Critical ACL - This was
introduced in the IBNS 2.0 deployment guide and you can
read more about it here
( If the deployment
guide is a bit dense for you (it was for me), then I would
recommend reading the Chapter 11 of Aaron Woland's BYOD
book 2nd edition where he broke it down in under 4 pages
beautifully. This option gives you the ability to apply a
"critical ACL" in the event that the RADIUS server is
unreachable. You can also configure this as an "ip permit any
any" and essentially have it fail open.
Depending on the risk that the business wants to accept, this could
guide you on how many ISE appliances you deploy more than
endpoint count or less if the company is alright with one of the
dead scenerios I specified above.
This is probably the part where I've seen the most issues in any
initial ISE deployment. If you've gotten to the point where you've
completeed your high-level design, have management buy-in,
determined how many endpoints there are on your network, and
you've set up the ISE appliances, you're ready to go, right? Wait
just a moment! There are still a few things to consider:
#1 - Supplicant Configuration and dependencies on Active
Directory- If you are using 802.1x, you will want to make sure
your endpoints
ISE Design
are configured correctly.
If you- Going
just Above
turn The
on Configuration
802.1x — Networking fun
on the wired without doing anything to the endpoints, you're going
to have a very bad day, my friend. When I do a deployment, I like
to make this as transparent to the user as possible so I would get
your server administrators involved to create a group policy to push
out the supplicant configuration to the PCs. You can also push the
SSID settings so they immediately jump on the right SSID
seamlessly. Discuss with your admins on what kind of 802.1x
settings you will be deploying (EAP-TLS, PEAP-MSCHAP, etc)
and make sure the policy is deployed first before you start testing
any enforcement.
For instructions on how to configure the certificate template, please
read the following blog post: Server 2012 Configuration Certificate Templates (
F ( instructions on how to
configure the Group Policy Object and make all this configuration
completely seamless to the end user, please read the following blog
post: Server 2012 Configuration - Group Policy Creation
And last but not least, I would hope that your enterprise has some
sort of system to ensure that the corporate owned PCs are getting
some sort of regular patching. 802.1x is hardly anything new but
you might want to consider checking your drivers on the ancient
PCs in your environment to ensure they are up-to-date and support
802.1x. If not, then make sure you update the drivers. I don't see
this being a big show stopper since most organizations have some
sort of lifecycle management for their corporate PCs but every
once in awhile I come across some ancient corporate-owned PC
that was somehow passed up for patching and it's the one endpoint
with issues. Usually an update of the drivers fixes the issue.
If you are going the route of PassiveID instead, I would make sure
that you are communicating with your server team, have the agent
deployed on the domain controllers or the applicable WMI settings
pushed. Test to make sure you are seeing logon events from the ISE
Live Logs from PassiveID before proceeding
Live Logs
from PassiveID before proceeding.
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
#2 - Network Devices - While I would love to say that the 15 year
old code on that ancient CatOS switch is going to work perfectly
with ISE or any another NAC, it's probably not and let's not try
it. I know I sound like I'm being silly here but these are things I've
seen attempted to deploy in production before and I urge anyone
who is about to deploy ISE to live and love the ISE Compatibility
Matrix ( gift
wraps the supported platforms for your version of ISE, minimum
code release and validated OS. My recommendation would be to
standardize on validated OS or as close to it as possible so you are
close to a version of code that the ISE business unit has fully tested
and validated.
My system for determining what kind ofcode to use in an ISE
deployment usually involves pulling up the ISE Compatibility
Matrix and then comparing on the Downloads page for
that platform. If there is a general TAC recommended version of
code for that platform and it's close to the validated version in the
compatibility matrix, that's what I will deploy in production. In the
below picture, the Catalyst 3850 states that the minimum version of
IOS to run ISE with is IOS-XE 3.3.5.E but the validate OS versino
is 3.6.5E. Over on the Downloads page, IOS-XE 3.6.6E(MD) is the
TAC recommendation and it's extremely close to the validated
version. In this scenario, I would standardize all my IOS-XE 3850s
on 3.6.6E(MD).This kept me from hitting any weird switch bugs in
the past.
Another reason code isimportant because depending on the release
or train of code, you might have certain features in the
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The Configuration — Networking fun
code vs the non-recommended
For example,
some switches minimum version of code to support ISE is 12.2
train but device sensor isn't introduced until 15.x. Having to use
SNMP on an older train of code adds to CPU cycles.
I would like to say that in any large enterprise, you usually have
some standardization for code versions but I've been disappointed
in the past. If you aren't, I would recommend to do so before ISE
is being deployed to reduce any likelihood of issues with different
network access devices. There are also tools out there such as
Prime Infrastucture or Solarwinds which can give you your switch
code versions and push upgrades for you. Another option is a tool
called the ISE Deployment Assistant (IDA) which you can trial for
5 days which will reach out to your infrastructure to check the
model numbers, code versions, etc to see if your network access
devices are ready for ISE. If you would like to trial the ISE
Deployment Assistant, you can download it here
#3 - Standardize Your Network Access Device Configuration - It
could be because there are vastly different trains of code in the
environment because recommendation #2 was not followed or
because someone started deleting configs to troubleshoot an
unrelated issue but create a template for how you will configure all
your switches and stick to it. I would even use my network
management tools to make that they are staying compliant.
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
Note: It may not be possible to standardize every switch. If you
have a mixed Cisco and non-Cisco environment for example, you
might have to utilize SNMP on the non-Cisco switch and device
sensor on the Cisco switches for profiling. I would still create
standard templates for like groups of network access devices.
#4 - Know the hardware limitations of your network access
devices - Depending onyour business requirementsand how
granular you need to get, you might find yourself having certain
hardware limitations if you go with a certain deployment
strategy. For example, if you have a strict policy to ONLY allow
access to certain domain controllers or servers on 50+ different
ports and your policy is to define the 20 or so server IPs in that
access list, you might find yourself running out of TCAM space
with DACLs. If your business requirements are for greater eastwest segmentation where simple VLAN segmentation won't cut it
and you have TCAM limitations, you might have to consider a
different implementation strategy utilizing Security Group Tags
(SGTs). Knowing these limitations before you start actually
deploying ISE is important because a mass redesign in the middle
of a deployment is never pretty.
#5 - Start Profiling ASAP - Before any sort of enforcement, I
recommend configuring the network access devices to send all the
profiling information back to ISE. Configure and turn on RADIUS,
DHCP, Active Directory, DNS, etc probes and get as much rich
detail about the endpoints on your network as possible so you can
start to group like endpoints together to craft your policy. Half of
being able to create an effective policy is knowing what's on your
network first.
#6 - Know your supplicants - No, I don't mean profiling. For
example, if you have Macs or Linux machines in your enterprise,
you should account for them. Unlike Windows PCs which can
easily get their supplicants provisioned via Group Policy, certain
corporate endpoints might need to be onboarded through something
like the BYOD feature or simply have their configuration pushed
through something like Casper to insure that you are providing
scalable and consistent configurations across all your endpoints.
ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
#7 - Know the limitations of your endpoints - A popular
segmentation method is VLANs but one thing I seldom see taken
into account is DHCP changes. With the AnyConnect posture
module, you can have it trigger a DHCP release and renew on PC
endpoints but for your non-PC devices that don't know that you just
changed the VLAN on it, how will they know that they should
issue a DHCP request? Phones should be an issue since it's only
getting an IP on the voice VLAN and you can allow voice domain
permissions but your other endpoints might have a problem. You
can configure ISE to do a port bounce after successful
authentication which should trigger DHCP on the endpoint but it
might cause your PoE devices to have to reboot on initial
connection. Food for thought and something to consider when
designing your implementation.
#8 - Always Be Testing - ISE has the wonderful ability to place
policies in monitor mode and the ability to migrate endpoints into
enforcement mode on switch-by-switch or even port-by-port basis.
With monitor mode, you have the ability to test your policies as if
they were enforcing without disrupting a single endpoint. This
gives you the ability to really fine tune your policies before you
move to enfrocement. After testing, I would start with a pilot
group of users for enforcement and based on the results, start
slowly rolling it out to the rest of the environment.
#9 - Communicate with your end users - Whenever you restrict
access to resources, it's bound to cause someone to notice. If ISE is
deployed and you suddenly started blocking user's personal
devices, they will notice rather quickly. Communication is key. Let
them know you are going to be making changes and what the new
policy they will be adhering to is. This helps keep expectations
consistent and prevents as many calls to your helpdesk.
Now you've started to roll out ISE in enforcement mode. What do
you do now? First I would recommend having a day 2 plan before
you get there. Who's going to be supporting any issues if they
arise? If you haven't properly planned this out, it will be you
ll t th h l d k f
i t
every call to the helpdesk for aISEmistyped
Design - Going
Above The Configuration — Networking fun
I would recommend creating a troubleshooting guide for the help
desk to use to vet simple issues such as a mistyped password or
misconfigured supplicant. Force them to use it before calling you
so you are not stuck supporting a fat fingered password that is
passed off as an ISE issue. Here is a good template I have used
several times in the last few years:
Helpdesk Troubleshooting Guide (/s/ISE-HelpDeskTroubleshooting-Guide-Draft.docx)
Another recommendation I would make is the thoroughly document
your ISE deployment and diagram how the deployment is set up.
Use Visio to create a diagram of how the individual ISE appliances
are set up in the network for others to be able to troubleshoot when
you are not around. Cisco is kind enough to also provide Visio
stencils which can be downloaded here
I recommend doing both a physical diagram of how any equipment
is stacked and a logical diagram of the design.
Another document I would recommend creating is an AS-build of
your ISE deployment and policies. This document should detail the
policies, the setup, architecture, DACLs, profiles, certificates, etc
to let someone know how it was built and why it was built. This
should be a deliverable as part of a successfully completed project
and part of a hand-off to operations. Here is one template I've used
in the last few years:
ISE AS-Build (/s/ISE-AS-Build.docx)
Tagged: ISE (/blog/?tag=ISE)
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ISE Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
6 months ago · 0 Likes
Thank you..!!!
a must read for new ISE implementation engineers
I really appreciate the effort you put into this
7 months ago · 0 Likes
Excellent read and that coupled with the AS-built document
= a very big thank you
Yaser Ahmed
11 months ago · 0 Likes
Thank you very much. It was really helpful.
( A year ago · 0
Very helpful. Thanks!!
A year ago · 0 Likes
Awesome read!
Found a typo:
Design - Going Above The Configuration — Networking fun
"SNS 3495 (VM or Hardware)ISE
- 20,000
connected endpoints"
It should read 3595 instead of 3495
Katherine McNamara
A year ago · 0 Likes
Thanks! I fixed it!
Luke Bibby
A year ago · 0 Likes
Great write up Katie! Really useful read especially being
someone who is new to ISE
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