User Group Count exceeds threshold - PANORAMA

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User Group Count exceeds threshold - PANORAMA

L1 Bithead

Hi Folks, looking for advice on an alert which is bugging me.


Our Panorama instance regularly (2 per hour) reports that:

Panorama - SYSTEM ALERT : high : User Group count of 12080 exceeds threshold of 10000


Now this is correct - as it comes from two (soon to be four) firewalls plumbed into LDAP/AD:
admin@Panorama> show user group list device-group FW1a | match Total
Total: 6040
admin@Panorama> show user group list device-group FW1b | match Total
Total: 6040


Each firewall is an A-A HA pair - so both really need to know the groups -

We are about to deploy a second HA A-A pair which would also have the same number of groups (4 x 6040)


So i believe that the solution to this is to have Panorama import from one firewall (or have it import and share to the firewalls)


I am unsure how to do this in a resilient manner - i.e. if Panorama or the identified firewall is off the air for any period of time, can the remaining firewalls keep the group list populated and up to date?


Any pointers would be appreciated.



Accepted Solutions

hi @GN_ROS 

yes, put both members of the cluster in the same device group 🙂 that's how it's supposed to be done (this is what the 'master' is for etc)


could you elaborate on why you are splitting up your admins over 2 different devices in the same cluster?

Tom Piens
PANgurus - (co)managed services and consultancy

View solution in original post


Cyber Elite
Cyber Elite


So the groups would be cached so if something happened they would just work off the cached information, but they wouldn't update if the source was unavailable. The part that is kind of confusing in your post though is that this appears to be pulling the same information from both firewalls, as the number of groups is exactly the same. In that sense, you shouldn't actually be exceeding your group count since the group would just be 6040 if the membership and domain information is the same anyways.


Cyber Elite
Cyber Elite

Did you set a master device in the Device Group?

a device group has a master device from which the user-id information is collected

if you set it to none it might be grabbing the info from all members or i you've set all firewalls in different groups, then they're all polled for 'their group's information)


Tom Piens
PANgurus - (co)managed services and consultancy

Hi folks,
@reaper , thanks for the reply.

Yes master device is set, however this may be the root of the issue.

We use a device group structure like so



  -> ActiveFW1_group



In ActiveFW1_group - FW1a is the master

In ActiveFW2_group - FW1b is master

In Prod_Firewalls - None is selected, as there is no option for the lower groups or FW's to be selected.


So, Panorama therefore sees the two as Master i suppose.

We have 2 groups like this such that 2 sets of admins can operate the permissions model. 


Do you have any advice on how to overcome the dual mastership for identity info? 


hi @GN_ROS 

yes, put both members of the cluster in the same device group 🙂 that's how it's supposed to be done (this is what the 'master' is for etc)


could you elaborate on why you are splitting up your admins over 2 different devices in the same cluster?

Tom Piens
PANgurus - (co)managed services and consultancy

Sorry for the late response. 
The initial reasons are historic... and probably not valid now if designed fresh.


While it is an active-active pair, each has its own virtual router and needed specific rules per side. 

I think most of what we wish to achieve can be accomplished with targets.

i will accept your solution as the best. 

Thanks for your help.

Allow me to add more solution 😉


Templates and device groups are two different sections of configuration that live independent of eachother

You can accomplish the separate config through templates: assign each firewall its own template stack, create a shared template of device config that both firewalls will get and then create a unique template per firewall that contains the things that need to be applied to that firewall only (routing, HA config, dynamic updates, hostname,...)

While keeping both firewalls in the same device group so they get all the same policies and objects



Tom Piens
PANgurus - (co)managed services and consultancy

@reaper - Thanks for the info (and sorry for the late reply - i didn't get a notification)


Allow me to clarify the position we have :

We essentially have 3 rulebases :
RED - controlled by Admin group 1   
BLUE - controlled by Admin group 2
PURPLE - shared control by both admin groups.


The firewalls are active-active for the PURPLE ruleset and then there is a distinct virtual router (with unique routing) on each firewall to suit the RED ruleset (on HA device 0) and the BLUE ruleset (on HA device 1)

The device tree at the moment is


            /            \

   RED              BLUE

  FW0                 FW1


In the text diagram above - FW0 is master for red device group and FW1 is master for blue - there is no option to set the purple master device (option is none).
I am happy with using template stacks to achieve the differences needed for Network and Device settings.


So while i can move rules from RED and BLUE to PURPLE (with appropriate rule targets) - with the goal of removing RED and BLUE, this then creates one flat rulebase with shared control, we lose the RBAC control.


am i missing any other way to organise things?


as an aside - how does this scale well, as with 4 tiers available for device groups, there could be a significant number of devices all receiving user groups at the leafs, but if they are not merged up each branch to the core (i.e panorama) then there is always going to be crazy high numbers of duplicate entries. Why does panorama not also have the ability to set a master at each branch of the device tree? (as there are no devices attached to the branch level - the option is none rather than any child device names)


I think the disconnect happens in the way that this is set up 

The usual approach in your scenario would be to set up vsys on the chassis so each admin has their own virtual firewall in the device groups. you would then have 2 device groups with each 2 members (vsys1FWA+vsys1FWB and vsys2FWA+vsys2FWB) and then have member A set to master in both device groups


It is highly unusual to have one admin to manage only FWA and the other only FWB and still have a cluster (because panorama will push only to the one device, causing massive config discrepancy across the cluster). A cluster is supposed to have fully synced config


To your aside:

By design, a single member in a device group becomes the master for that device group. If you have multiple devices you can choose which one is master for that group as all the devices in that group are 'the same' (so cluster members should always be in the same device group)

Vsys are employed to make them 'different'



Tom Piens
PANgurus - (co)managed services and consultancy
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