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Barracuda CloudGen Firewall


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The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall watchdog complements the functionality provided by the control daemon. The watchdog daemon ensures that the control daemon remains up and running at all times. You can set limits on critical system resources and monitor additional resources at defined intervals. When system resource limits are exceeded or core processes are unexpectedly terminated, the watchdog triggers preset actions to repair or reboot the system. The watchdog also attempts to correct system errors. For high availability (HA) systems, the watchdog helps ensure swift takeovers take place in case the system freezes, hardware or file system problems.

System Tests and Monitoring

The watchdog performs the following tests to monitor the status of your system:

Test Configurable Settings Repair Method

Is the process table full?



Immediate system reboot

Has a file table overflow occurred?



Specified by repair mode

Is enough free memory available?


Percentage of total RAM plus swap

Specified by repair mode

Has the load average exceeded a max value?


Separately for 1, 5, and 15 min. averages

Specified by repair mode

Is a given process is still running?


Separate settings for control and SSH daemon

Specified by repair mode

If any of the system tests (except for the process table check) fails, the watchdog will invoke the repair binary at /usr/sbin/repair. When the routine returns a zero exit code to the watchdog, the system is considered successfully repaired. Otherwise, the system is soft booted by the watchdog. The watchdog also resets the system if it is not able to correct a system error after a specified number of consecutive attempts. The watchdog uses its own built-in shutdown procedure so that it does not have to rely on the availability of potentially critical system resources. If the shutdown fails, the system is hard reset by the kernel. The reboot is dependent on the hardware state of the system and its interrupts.

If any of the system tests last longer than one minute the CloudGen Firewall is rebooted as well.  /dev/watchdog must be written to within a minute after being opened or the system will be reset. Each write delays the reboot time for another minute. Watchdog delays this reset by writing to /dev/watchdog at least once every minute when the system is healthy.

Repair Modes

When configuring the watchdog, you can select any of the following repair modes to handle system errors:

  • Ignore_Errors – Monitoring mode. Errors are only logged.
  • Repair_or_Ignore – Default mode. Repairs are only attempted for the following error types:
    • ENFILE (23) – Too many open files in system
    • ENOMEM (12) – Cannot allocate memory
    • ESRCH (3) – No such process
    • ENOENT (2) – No such file or directory
    • EINVMEM (-7) – /proc/meminfo contains invalid data
    • EMAXLOAD (-3) – Load average too high
    • ENOLOAD (5) – /proc/loadavg contains no data
    If the repair is not successful after a specified number of attempts, the watchdog reboots the system. All other errors are ignored.
  • Repair_or_Reboot – Strict mode. Repairs are attempted for all errors. If the repair is not successful after a specified number of attempts, the watchdog reboots the system.
  • Always_Reboot – Paranoid mode. The error condition is logged and the watchdog reboots the system.

Each monitored entity is allotted its own counter for repair attempts. Negative error codes designate special errors generated by the check routines of watchdog. All other errors conform to the standard error coding scheme of Linux. The following error codes are used:

  • ENFILE (23) – Out of file descriptors (that is file table overflow)
  • ENOMEM (12); EINVMEM (-7)Low on memory
  • EMAXLOAD (-3); ENOLOAD (-5)Maximum allowed system load average exceeded
  • ESRCH (3); ENOENT (2)Monitored process has died or its pid-file is missing

File Table Overflow

When a file table overflow occurs, the repair binary increases the number of available file descriptors by 10%. If the error condition persists, the number of available file descriptors is increased until the maximum number of repair attempts is exceeded. The number of repair attempts is written to the /var/run/watchdog.state.fd file. Increasing the number of available file descriptors also increases kernel memory consumption and may eventually lead to a memory shortage.

Control and SSH Daemons

To monitor the control daemon (controld) and the SSH daemon (sshd), the watchdog verifies that the processes corresponding to the process ids given in /var/run/ and /var/run/ are still running.

  • When controld is down, it is stopped (/opt/phionctrl box stop control) and then started (/opt/phionctrl box start control). A check is then performed to verify that the restart attempt was successful. Unsuccessful restart attempts are incremented and written to /var/run/ If the maximum number of repair attempts is exceeded, the entire Barracuda CloudGen Firewall subsystem is shut down (/opt/phionctrl shutdown) and restarted (/opt/phionctrl startup). If the error condition persists, which means controld is still not running, a reboot is requested.
  • When sshd is down, /etc/rc.d/init.d/ssh condrestart is invoked to restart it. Attempts to restart sshd are not incremented because it is unnecessary to restart the system while the daemon is down.

To facilitate system maintenance, such as software updates which involve a temporary shutdown of either controld or sshd, the repair binary ignores the ESRCH error code if a /var/run/watchdog.state.service file exists. The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall software update procedure will automatically create and remove this file. If you interact with the system on the command line, touch and subsequently remove this file when shutting down or blocking controld. Alternatively, you may shut down (restart) watchdog by invoking /etc/rc.d/init.d/watchdog stop [start].

System Resources

On the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall, resource problems are most likely caused by overloaded service processes. Memory shortages or excessive loads are thus attributed to the operation of the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall subsystem as a whole.

  • Memory shortageThe Barracuda CloudGen Firewall subsystem is shut down (/opt/phionctrl shutdown) and subsequently restarted (/opt/phionctrl startup). The number of repair attempts is written to /var/run/watchdog.state.mem.
  • Maximum load exceededThe Barracuda CloudGen Firewall subsystem is shut down (/opt/phionctrl shutdown) and subsequently restarted (/opt/phionctrl startup). The number of repair attempts is written /var/run/watchdog.state.load.

During a reboot, the repair counters and service indicator file are automatically reset. All contents of /var/run are automatically purged by the system. All counter files, but not the service file, are deleted when watchdog is restarted and when the configuration is changed.

  • Operational EventsErrors that are generated by the repair binary which relate to system information are the 34 [Critical System Condition], 510 [Invalid Argument], and 4202 [System Reboot] events.

If necessary, you can temporarily block the watchdog repair routine. At the command line, enter: /etc/phion/bin/servicemode Then, enter the number of minutes for which the watchdog should be blocked.

For a longer term solution, it is recommended that you try to reduce the load on the system by going to the Control page (CONFIGURATION > Full Config > Box > Infrastructure Services) and deactivating unnecessary services. In the Monitoring Parameters section, add the services that you want to deactivate to the Deactivate Service table.

The following infrastructure services can be deactivated if they are not needed:

  • SMS-Control (bsms)Used for remote control of Barracuda CloudGen Firewall services via SMS command.
  • SNMP-Service (bsnmp) – Used for SNMP monitoring.
  • Statistics-Collector (cstat) – Collects statistics to be sent to a Baracuda Firewall Control Center.
  • Statistics-Viewer (qstat) – Used by the Statistics Viewer.
  • Authentication-Service (phibs) – Used for authentication.
  • Data-Upload (dist) – Used for data upload.
  • Event (event) – Used by the eventing service.
  • Host-Firewall (boxfw) – Used by the box firewall.
  • Log (log) – Used by the log service.
  • Log Wrapper (logwrap) – Used by the log service.
  • Syslog-Log Converter (psyslog) – Used by the log service.

Configure the Watchdog

Enable the watchdog on the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall, select the applicable repair mode, and configure resource handling and monitoring.

For more information, see How to Configure the Watchdog.

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