Improving session synchronization performance

Two HA configuration options are available to reduce the performance impact of enabling session-pickup. They include reducing the number of sessions that are synchronized by adding a session pickup delay and using more FortiGate interfaces for session synchronization.

Reducing the number of sessions that are synchronized

If session pickup is enabled, as soon as new sessions are added to the primary unit session table they are synchronized to the other cluster units. Enable the session-pickup-delay CLI option to reduce the number of sessions that are synchronized by synchronizing sessions only if they remain active for more than 30 seconds. Enabling this option could greatly reduce the number of sessions that are synchronized if a cluster typically processes very many short duration sessions, which is typical of most HTTP traffic for example.

Use the following command to enable a 30 second session pickup delay:

config system ha

set session-pickup-delay enable


Enabling session pickup delay means that if a failover occurs more sessions may not be resumed after a failover. In most cases short duration sessions can be restarted with only a minor traffic interruption. However, if you notice too many sessions not resuming after a failover you might want to disable this setting.

Using multiple FortiGate interfaces for session synchronization

Using the session-sync-dev option you can select one or more FortiGate interfaces to use for synchronizing sessions as required for session pickup. Normally session synchronization occurs over the HA heartbeat link. Using this HA option means only the selected interfaces are used for session synchronization and not the HA heartbeat link. If you select more than one interface, session synchronization traffic is load balanced among the selected interfaces.

Moving session synchronization from the HA heartbeat interface reduces the bandwidth required for HA heartbeat traffic and may improve the efficiency and performance of the cluster, especially if the cluster is synchronizing a large number of sessions. Load balancing session synchronization among multiple interfaces can further improve performance and efficiency if the cluster is synchronizing a large number of sessions.

Use the following command to perform cluster session synchronization using the port10 and port12 interfaces.

config system ha

set session-sync-dev port10 port12


Session synchronization packets use Ethertype 0x8892. The interfaces to use for session synchronization must be connected together either directly using the appropriate cable (possible if there are only two units in the cluster) or using switches. If one of the interfaces becomes disconnected the cluster uses the remaining interfaces for session synchronization. If all of the session synchronization interfaces become disconnected, session synchronization reverts back to using the HA heartbeat link. All session synchronization traffic is between the primary unit and each subordinate unit.

Since large amounts of session synchronization traffic can increase network congestion, it is recommended that you keep this traffic off of your network by using dedicated connections for it.