Use default network access policies on virtual machines on your Azure Stack HCI

Applies to: Azure Stack HCI, version 22H2

This article describes how to enable default network access policies and assign these to virtual machines (VMs) running on your Azure Stack HCI.

Default network policies can be used to protect virtual machines running on your Azure Stack HCI from external unauthorized attacks. These policies block all inbound access to virtual machines on your Azure Stack HCI (except the specified management ports you want enabled) while allowing all outbound access. Use these policies to ensure that your workload VMs have access to only required assets, thereby making it difficult for the threats to spread laterally.

Note

In this release, you can enable and assign default network policies through the Windows Admin Center.

Enable default network access policies

To enable default network access policies, you need to install Network Controller (NC). Network Controller enforces the default network policies and is deployed in the virtual machines. For more information, see how to Install Network Controller.

Assign default network policies to a VM

You can attach default policies to a VM in two ways:

  • When creating a VM. You'll need to attach the VM to a logical network (traditional VLAN network) or an SDN virtual network.
  • After the VM is created.

Create and attach networks

Depending on the type of network you want to attach your VM to, steps may be different.

  • Attach VMs to a physical network: Create one or more logical networks to represent those physical networks. A logical network is just a representation of the physical network(s) available to your Azure Stack HCI. For more information, see how to Create a logical network.

  • Attach VMs to a SDN virtual network: Create a virtual network before you create the VM. For more information, see how to Create a virtual network.

Attach VM to a logical network

After you have created a logical network in Windows Admin Center, you can create a VM in Windows Admin Center and attach it to the logical network. As part of VM creation, select the Isolation Mode as Logical Network, select the appropriate Logical Subnet under the Logical Network, and provide an IP address for the VM.

Note

Unlike in 22H2, you can no longer connect a VM directly to a VLAN using Windows Admin Center. Instead, you must create a logical network representing the VLAN, create a logical network subnet with the VLAN, and then attach the VM to the logical network subnet.

Here's an example that explains how you can attach your VM directly to a VLAN with Azure Stack HCI 22H2 when Network Controller is installed. In this example, we'll demonstrate how to connect your VM to VLAN 5:

  1. Create a logical network with any name. Ensure that Network Virtualization is disabled.

  2. Add a logical subnet with any name. Provide the VLAN ID (5) when creating the subnet.

  3. Apply the changes.

  4. When creating a VM, attach it to the logical network and logical network subnet created earlier. For more information, see how to Create a logical network.

    Screenshot showing how to attach VM directly to VLAN.

Apply default network policies

When you create a VM through Windows Admin Center, you'll see a Security level setting.

Screenshot showing the three security level options for VMs in Windows Admin Center.

You have three options:

  • No protection - Choose this option if you don't want to enforce any network access policies to your VM. When this option is selected, all ports on your VM are exposed to external networks thereby posing a security risk. This option isn't recommended.

    Screenshot showing the No protection option selected for VMs in Windows Admin Center.

  • Open some ports - Choose this option to go with default policies. The default policies block all inbound access and allow all outbound access. You can optionally enable inbound access to one or more well defined ports, for example, HTTP, HTTPS, SSH or RDP as per your requirements.

    Screenshot showing the ports that can be opened on VMs specified during VM creation in Windows Admin Center.

  • Use existing NSG - Choose this option to apply custom policies. You'll specify a Network Security Group (NSG) that you've already created.

    Screenshot showing the existing network security group selected during VM creation in Windows Admin Center.

VMs created outside of Windows Admin Center

If you're using alternate mechanisms (for example, Hyper-V UI or New-VM PowerShell cmdlet) to create VMs on your Azure Stack HCI, and you have enabled default network access policies, you'll see two issues:

  • The VMs may not have network connectivity. This will happen since the VM is being managed by a Hyper-V switch extension called Virtual Filtering Platform (VFP) and by default, the Hyper-V port connected to the VM is in blocked state.

    To unblock the port, run the following commands from a PowerShell session on a Hyper-V host where the VM is located:

    1. Run PowerShell as an administrator.

    2. Download and install the PowerShell Script from the gallery. Run the following command:

      Install-Script -Name SetVMPortProfile
      

      Accept all prompts to install from PowerShell Gallery.

    3. Specify the ports to be unblocked on the VM.

      SetVMPortProfile.ps1 -VMName \<Name of VM whose port has to be unblocked\> -VMNetworkAdapterName \<Name of the adapter in the
      VM\> -ProfileId "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000" -ProfileData 2
      
  • The VM doesn't have default network policies applied. Since this VM was created outside Windows Admin Center, the default policies for the VM aren't applied, and the Network Settings for the VM doesn't display correctly. To rectify this issue, follow these steps:

    In Windows Admin Center, Create a logical network. Create a subnet under the logical network and provide no VLAN ID or subnet prefix. Then, attach a VM to the logical network using the following steps:

    1. Under Tools, scroll down to the Networking area, and select Virtual machines

    2. Select the Inventory tab, select the VM, and then select Settings.

    3. On the Settings page, select Networks.

    4. For Isolation Mode, select Logical Network.

    5. Select the Logical network and Logical subnet that you created earlier.

      1. For Security level, you have two options:

        1. No Protection: Choose this if you don't want any network access policies for your VMs.
        2. Use existing NSG: Choose this if you want to apply network access policies for your VMs. You can either create a new NSG and attach it to the VM or you can attach any existing NSG to the VM.

    Screenshot showing how to enable default network to VLAN.

Upgrade from 21H2

Note

Skip this section, if you upgraded from Azure Stack HCI 21H2 version and didn't have the Network Controller installed.

If you had Network Controller installed on 21H2 version and also had workload VMs on your cluster, those VMs would be in one of the following 4 isolation modes in VM (in Network Settings):

  1. Default (None): Since this mode no longer exists after you move to 22H2, The Isolation Mode in the VM Network Settings page on Windows Admin Center will be blank. The VM will still continue to have same level of network connectivity as before upgrade to 22H2. To display the correct network settings in Windows Admin Center and apply default policies, follow these steps:

    In Windows Admin Center, Create a logical network. Create a subnet under the logical network and provide the VLAN ID for network to which the VM is connected. Then, attach a VM to the logical network using the following steps:

    1. Under Tools, scroll down to the Networking area, and select Virtual machines

    2. Select the Inventory tab, select the VM, and then select Settings.

    3. On the Settings page, select Networks.

    4. For Isolation Mode, select Logical Network.

    5. Select the Logical network and Logical subnet that you created earlier.

      1. For Security level, you have two options:

        1. No Protection: Choose this if you don't want any network access policies for your VMs.
        2. Use existing NSG: Choose this if you want to apply network access policies for your VMs. You can either create a new NSG and attach it to the VM or you can attach any existing NSG to the VM.
  2. VLAN: Since this mode no longer exists in 22H2, the Isolation mode in the VM Network Settings page on Windows Admin Center will be blank. The VM will continue to have same level of network connectivity as before upgrading to 22H2.

    In Windows Admin Center, Create a logical network. Create a subnet under the logical network and provide no VLAN ID or subnet prefix. Then, attach a VM to the logical network using the following steps:

    1. Under Tools, scroll down to the Networking area, and select Virtual machines

    2. Select the Inventory tab, select the VM, and then select Settings.

    3. On the Settings page, select Networks.

    4. For Isolation Mode, select Logical Network.

    5. Select the Logical network and Logical subnet that you created earlier.

      1. For Security level, you have two options:

        1. No Protection: Choose this if you don't want any network access policies for your VMs.
        2. Use existing NSG: Choose this if you want to apply network access policies for your VMs. You can either create a new NSG and attach it to the VM or you can attach any existing NSG to the VM.
  3. Logical Network: The Network Settings page for the VM remains the same as in 21H2.

  4. Virtual Network: The Network Settings page for the VM remains the same as in 21H2.

Next steps

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