Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN GatewayAlways On VPN is infrastructure independent, which allows for many different deployment scenarios including on-premises and cloud-based. In Microsoft Azure, the Azure VPN gateway can be configured to support Windows 10 Always On VPN client connections in some scenarios. Recently I wrote about using the Azure VPN gateway for Always On VPN user tunnels. In this post I’ll describe how to configure the Azure VPN gateway to support an Always On VPN device tunnel.

Limitations

There are a few crucial limitations that come with using the Azure VPN gateway for Always On VPN. Importantly, the Azure VPN gateway can support either user tunnels or device tunnels, not both at the same time. In addition, Azure supports only a single VPN gateway per VNet, so deploying an additional VPN gateway in the same VNet to support Always On VPN user tunnels is not an option.

Root CA Certificate

The Always On VPN device tunnel is authenticated using a machine certificate issued to domain-joined Windows 10 Enterprise edition clients by the organization’s internal Certification Authority (CA). The CA’s root certificate must be uploaded to Azure for the VPN gateway to authorize device tunnel connections. The root CA certificate can be exported using the Certification Authority management console (certsrv.msc) or via the command line.

Export Certificate – GUI

Follow the steps below to export a root CA certificate using the Certification Authority management console.

1. On the root CA server, open the Certification Authority management console.
2. Right-click the CA and choose Properties.
3. Select the CA server’s certificate and choose View Certificate.
4. Select the Details tab and click Copy to File.
5. Click Next.
6. Choose Base-64 encoded X.509 (.CER).

Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

7. Click Next.
8. Enter a location to save the file to.
9. Click Next, Finish, and Ok.

Export Certificate – Command Line

Follow the steps below to export a root CA certificate using the command line.

1. On the root CA server, open an elevated command window (not a PowerShell window).
2. Enter certutil.exe -ca.cert root_certificate.cer.
3. Enter certutil.exe -encode root.cer root_certificate_base64.cer.

Copy Public Key

1. Open the saved root certificate file using Notepad.
2. Copy the file contents between the BEGIN CERTIFICATE and END CERTIFICATE tags, as shown here. Use caution and don’t copy the carriage return at the end of the string.

Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

Point-to-Site Configuration

The Azure VPN gateway must be deployed as a Route-Based gateway to support point-to-site VPN connections. Detailed requirements for the gateway can be found here. Once the VPN gateway has been provisioned, follow the steps below to enable point-to-site configuration for Always On VPN device tunnels.

1. In the navigation pane of the Azure VPN gateway settings click Point-to-site configuration.
2. Click the Configure now link and specify an IPv4 address pool to be assigned to VPN clients. This IP address pool must be unique in the organization and must not overlap with an IP address ranges defined in the Azure virtual network.
3. From the Tunnel type drop-down list select IKEv2.
4. In the Root certificates section enter a descriptive name for the certificate in the Name field.
5. Copy and paste the Base64 encoded public key copied previously into the Public certificate data field.
6. Click Save to save the configuration.

Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

VPN Client Configuration

To support the Always On VPN device tunnel, the client must have a certificate issued by the internal CA with the Client Authentication Enhanced Key Usage (EKU). Detailed guidance for deploying a Windows 10 Always On VPN device tunnel can be found here.

Download VPN Configuration

1. Click Point-to-site configuration.
2. Click Download VPN client.
3. Click Save.
4. Open the downloaded zip file and extract the VpnSettings.xml file from the Generic folder.
5. Copy the FQDN in the VpnServer element in VpnSettings.xml. This is the FQDN that will be used in the template VPN connection and later in ProfileXML.

Create a Test VPN Connection

It is recommended to create a test VPN connection to perform validation testing of the Azure VPN gateway before provisioning an Always On VPN device tunnel broadly. On a domain-joined Windows 10 enterprise client, create a new VPN connection using IKEv2 with machine certificate authentication. Use the VPN server FQDN copied from the VpnSettings.xml file previously.

Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

Create an Always On VPN Connection

Once the VPN has been validated using the test profile created previously, an Always On VPN profile can be created and deployed using Intune, SCCM, or PowerShell. The following articles can be used for reference.

Deploy Always On VPN device tunnel using PowerShell

Deploy Always On VPN device tunnel using Intune

IKEv2 Security Configuration

The default IKEv2 security parameters used by the Azure VPN gateway are better than Windows Server, but the administrator will notice that a weak Diffie-Hellman (DH) key (Group 2 – 1024 bit) is used during IPsec phase 1 negotiation.

Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

Use the following PowerShell commands to update the default IKEv2 security parameters to recommended baseline defaults, including 2048-bit keys (DH group 14) and AES-128 for improved performance.

Connect-AzAccount
Select-AzSubscription -SubscriptionName [Azure Subscription Name]

$Gateway = [Gateway Name]
$ResourceGroup = [Resource Group Name]

$IPsecPolicy = New-AzVpnClientIpsecParameter -IpsecEncryption AES128 -IpsecIntegrity SHA256 -SALifeTime 28800 -SADataSize 102400000 -IkeEncryption AES128 -IkeIntegrity SHA256 -DhGroup DHGroup14 -PfsGroup PFS14

Set-AzVpnClientIpsecParameter -VirtualNetworkGatewayName $Gateway -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup -VpnClientIPsecParameter $IPsecPolicy

Note: Be sure to update the cryptography settings on the test VPN connection and in ProfileXML for Always On VPN connections to match the new VPN gateway settings. Failing to do so will result in an IPsec policy mismatch error.

Additional Information

Windows 10 Always On VPN User Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

Windows 10 Always On VPN IKEv2 Security Configuration

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel Configuration using Microsoft Intune

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel Configuration using PowerShell

Windows 10 Always On VPN Options for Azure Deployments

Windows 10 Always On VPN IKEv2 Features and Limitations

Always On VPN Options for Azure Deployments

Always On VPN Options for Azure DeploymentsOrganizations everywhere are rapidly adopting Microsoft Azure public cloud infrastructure to extend or replace their existing datacenter. As traditional on-premises workloads are migrated to the cloud, customers are looking for options to host VPN services there as well.

Windows Server

Windows Server with the Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) installed is a popular choice for on-premises Always On VPN deployments. Intuitively it would make sense to deploy Windows Server and RRAS in Azure as well. However, at the time of this writing, RRAS is not a supported workload on Windows Server in Azure.

Always On VPN Options for Azure Deployments

Reference: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2721672/microsoft-server-software-support-for-microsoft-azure-virtual-machines/

Although explicitly unsupported, it is possible to deploy Windows Server and RRAS in Azure for Always On VPN. In my experience it works well and can be an option for organizations willing to forgo formal support by Microsoft.

Azure Gateway

Options for supporting Always On VPN connections using native Azure VPN infrastructure depend on the type of VPN gateway chosen.

VPN Gateway

The Azure VPN Gateway can be configured to support client-based (point-to-site) VPN. With some additional configuration it can be used to support Windows 10 Always On VPN deployments. Azure VPN gateway supports both IKEv2 and SSTP VPN protocols for client connections. The Azure VPN gateway has some limitations though. Consider the following:

  • A route-based VPN gateway is required
  • A maximum of 1000 concurrent IKEv2 connections are supported when using the VpnGw3 or VpnGw3AZ SKUs (2000 supported in active/active mode)
  • A maximum of 128 concurrent SSTP connections are supported on all gateway SKUs (256 supported in active/active mode)

Virtual WAN

Azure Virtual WAN is the future of remote connectivity for Azure. It includes support for client-based VPN (currently in public preview at the time of this writing), but only supports IKEv2 and OpenVPN VPN protocols for client connections. SSTP is not supported at all. Further, OpenVPN is not supported for Windows 10 Always On VPN, leaving IKEv2 as the only option, which poses some potential operational challenges. Virtual WAN offer much better scalability though, supporting up to 10,000 concurrent client-based VPN connections.

Virtual Appliance

The most supportable option for hosting VPN services in Azure for Windows 10 Always On VPN is to deploy a third-party Network Virtual Appliance (NVA). They are available from a variety of vendors including Cisco, Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, and many others. To support Windows 10 Always On VPN, the NVA vendor must either support IKEv2 for client-based VPN connections or have a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) VPN plug-in client available from the Microsoft store. Click here to learn more about Always On VPN and third-party VPN devices.

Note: Be careful when choosing an NVA as some vendors support IKEv2 only for site-to-site VPN, but not client-based VPN!

Hybrid Deployments

For organizations with hybrid cloud deployments (infrastructure hosted on-premises and in Azure), there are several options for choosing the best location to deploy VPN services. In general, it is recommended that client VPN connections be established nearest the resources accessed by remote clients. However, having VPN servers hosted both on-premises and in Azure is fully supported. In this scenario Azure Traffic Manager can be configured to intelligently route VPN connections for remote clients.

NetMotion Mobility

The NetMotion Mobility purpose-built enterprise VPN is a popular replacement for Microsoft DirectAccess. It is also an excellent alternative for enterprise organizations considering a migration to Always On VPN. It is a software-based solution that can be deployed on Windows Server and is fully supported running in Microsoft Azure. It offers many advanced features and capabilities not included in other remote access solutions.

Summary

Administrators have many options for deploying VPN servers in Azure to support Windows 10 Always On VPN. Windows Server and RRAS is the simplest and most cost-effective option, but it is not formally supported by Microsoft. Azure VPN gateway is an interesting alternative but lacks enough capacity for larger deployments. Azure Virtual WAN is another option but has limited protocol support. Deploying an NVA is a good choice, and NetMotion Mobility is an excellent alternative to both DirectAccess and Always On VPN that is software-based and fully supported in Azure.

Additional Information

Windows 10 Always On VPN with Azure Gateway

Windows 10 Always On VPN and Third-Party VPN Devices

Windows 10 Always On VPN and Windows Server Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS)

Windows 10 Always On VPN IKEv2 Features and Limitations

Windows 10 Always On VPN Multisite with Azure Traffic Manager

Comparing DirectAccess and NetMotion Mobility

Deploying NetMotion Mobility in Microsoft Azure

 

 

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