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Complete Guide to Upgrading Palo Alto Firewall PAN-OS. Prerequisites, Upgrade Paths, Config Backup, Application & Threats Update & More

Posted in Palo Alto Firewalls

Upgrading your Palo Alto Firewall to the preferred PAN-OS release is always recommended as it ensures it remains stable, safe from known vulnerabilities and exploits but also allows you to take advantage of new features.

This article will show you how to upgrade your standalone Firewall PAN-OS, explain the differences between a Base Image and a Maintenance Release Image. We’ll also explain the PAN-OS upgrade paths, show how to backup and export your configuration, deal with common PAN-OS install errors (upgrading requires greater content version). Finally, we will explain why newer PAN-OS releases might not be visible for download in your firewall’s software section.

Topics covered:

Prerequisites for PAN-OS Upgrades

It is important to note that only eligible Palo Alto customers, that is, those with an active contract, can receive updates for their firewalls. Our article How to Register and Activate Palo Alto Support, Subscription Servers, and Licenses covers this process in great detail.

Understanding PAN-OS Upgrade Paths

Direct (one-step) upgrade to the latest PAN-OS depends on the current version your firewall is running. When upgrading from a fairly old to a newer PAN-OS version, multi-step upgrades might be necessary. This ensures the device’s configuration is migrated to the PAN-OS's newer supported features and that nothing “breaks” during the upgrade process.

Like most vendors, Palo Alto Networks produce a base image and maintenance releases. Maintenance releases are small upgrades of the base image and deal with bug fixes and sometimes introduce small enhancements.

As a rule of thumb, firewalls should be running the Palo Alto preferred PAN-OS release, and it is generally a good practice to install these releases as they are published.

When upgrading your PAN-OS to the latest maintenance release of a newer base release, the firewall will likely require you to download the new base release before allowing you to install its latest maintenance release.

For example, our firewall is currently running version 9.0.3-h3, noted by the ‘tick’ on the Currently Installed column, and our goal is to upgrade to version 9.1.4 (preferred release) as shown below:

Palo Alto PAN-OS upgrade path

When attempting to download version 9.1.4, a maintenance release for base 9.1.0, we received an error (see screenshot below) explaining that we need to download 9.1.0 base image first (no installation required). Once downloaded, we can proceed with the download and installation of version 9.1.4.

palo alto firewall upgrading requires greater content version

Backing Up & Exporting Firewall Configuration

SysAdmin Day 2020 - Get your Free Amazon Voucher & Gifts Now!

Posted in Virtualization & VM Backup

sysadmin day 2020 amazon voucherSysAdmin Day has arrived, and with it, gratitude for all the unsung heroes that 2020 has needed. Your hard work has made it possible for all of us to keep going, despite all challenges thrown our way. Now it is Altaro’s turn to thank YOU.

If you are an Office 365, Hyper-V or VMware user, celebrate with Altaro. Just sign up for a 30-day free trial of either Altaro VM Backup or Altaro Office 365 Backup – it's your choice!

sysadmin day 2020 altaro
What can you Win?

  • Receive a €/£/$20 Amazon voucher when you use your trial of Altaro Office 365 Backup or Altaro VM Backup.
  • Get the chance to also win one of their Grand Prizes by sharing your greatest 2020 victory with Altaro in an up to 60-seconds video.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Special Free Podcast Series: IT Operations Management, Secure VPN & Metrics, Network Compliance, BYOD Strategies, Vulnerability Assessments and more

Posted in OpManager - Network Monitoring & Management

Learn how IT Experts and Managers take on their organization’s challenges while working remotely. How do you continue your IT Operation Management Strategy while at the same time ensuring Network Compliance, properly securing your VPN infrastructure and delivering seamless end-user experience

Ever thought about VPN metrics, tracking network bandwidth consumption and how to avoid unwanted bottlenecks for your remote users? How about performing necessary vulnerability assessments designed to highlight weaknesses in your organization’s security posture but also secure business continuity?

All the above critical topics plus much more are covered in ManageEngine’s Special Free 6-part IT Expert Podcast podcast series starting on the 12th of August 2020.

it podcast network management security vpn

Here’s what’s in store:

podcast icon Episode 1: VPN 101: A run through on all things VPN for remote work. In the first episode of our podcast series, our host discusses the increasing importance of VPN and the subsequent need for businesses to ramp up their VPN infrastructures.

podcast icon Episode 2: Importance of VPN encryption in the age of remote work. Join us in the second episode of the podcast series as our host shares tips on choosing the right VPN strategy and the importance of VPN encryption.

podcast icon Episode 3: Boost productivity by tracking VPN metrics that matter. Join us as we discuss the metrics you need to keep tabs on to improve business productivity. Find out how tracking network bandwidth consumption will help plan your resources better.

podcast icon Episode 4: Ways to secure IT assets and implement BYOD policies. With the majority of employees now working remotely, our host shares how performing regular vulnerability assessments and implementing the right BYOD policies will help maintain business continuity.

podcast icon Episode 5: Tackling the complexities of network compliance in the remote era. Join us as our host addresses the complexities of network compliance management and shares tips on how to overcome them.

podcast icon Episode 6: Strategies to deliver seamless end user experience. Tune in to understand the strategies you can implement to ensure your business critical applications run perfectly even during these uncertain times.

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How to Enable ‘Web Server’ Certificate Template Option on Windows Certification Authority (CA) Server

Posted in Windows Server 2016

In this article we will show you how to enable the ‘Web Server’ certificate template option on a Windows Certification Authority (Windows CA) Server.  The Web Server option is usually not present in a fresh Windows CA server installation which can introduce difficulties for users or administrators who need the option to get their web server certificates signed:

windows ca web server certificate template missing

Recommended Article: How to install and configure a Windows CA Server

Enabling the Web Server certificate template is a simple and non-disruptive process. From the Administrative Tools, open the Certification Authority tool. Next, right-click on the Certificate Templates folder and select Manage:

windows ca certificate templates

How to Fix VMware ESXi Virtual Machine 'Invalid Status'

Posted in Virtualization & VM Backup

In this article, we'll show you how to deal with VMs which are reported to have an Invalid Status as shown in the screenshot below. This is a common problem many VMware and System Administrators are faced with when dealing with VMs. We'll show you how to enable SSH on ESXi (required for this task), use the vim-cmd to obtain a list of the invalid VMs, use the vim-cmd /vmsvc/unregister command to unregister - delete the VMs and edit the /etc/vmware/hostd/vmInventory.xml file to remove the section(s) that references the invalid VM(s).

The Invalid Status issue is usually caused after attempting to delete a VM, manually removing VM files after a vMotion, a problem with the VMFS storage or even after physically removing the storage from the ESXi host e.g replacing a failed hdd.

esxi vm machine invalid status

 Another difficulty with VMs stuck in an Invalid Status is that VMware will not allow you to remove or delete any Datastore associated with the VM e.g if you wanted to remove a HDD. For safety reasons, you must first remove or migrate the affected VM so that there is no VM associated with the Datastore before VMware allows you to delete it.

Concerned about your VM machines and their data? Download now your Free Enterprise-grade VM Backup solution

The screenshot below shows ESXi failing to delete datastore 256G-SSD - which is used by VM FCX-ISE1 above, now reported to be in an Invalid Status:

esxi vm unable to delete datastore

As most System Administrators discover in these situations - they are pretty much stuck and the only way to remove the VM, now marked as 'Invalid', is to delete it as the Unregister option cannot be selected when right clicking on top of the VM:

esxi vm invalid status delete unregister option unavailable

Notice in the screenshot above how the Unregister or Delete menu options are not available.

The only method to delete this VM is to use the SSH console on the ESXi host and execute a number of commands. This implies that SSH has been enabled on the ESXi host.

Read our quick guide on “How to enable SSH on an ESXi host” if SSH is not enabled on your ESXi host.

Once ssh is enabled, connect to your ESXi host with any ssh client such as e.g Putty using your ESXi root credentials, then use the vim-cmd with the following parameters to obtain a list of the invalid VMs:

CCENT/CCNA

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