Setup API Access to Palo Alto Networks VM-Series

Follow the following steps to enable Palo Alto Networks API programming.

1. Enable Ping

Make sure the Palo Alto Networks management interface has ping enabled and the instance’s security group has ICMP policy open to the Aviatrix Controller’s public IP address.

At the Palo Alto VM-Series console,

  1. Click Device
  2. Click Interfaces
  3. Click Management
  4. Make sure the setup is as following screenshot.


2. Create API Administrator Role Profile

  1. Create a new role profile and name it Aviatrix-API-Role: Go to Device -> Admin Roles -> +Add
  2. Click XML/REST API
  3. Click Report, Configuration, Operation Requests and Commit
  4. Click Commit.


3. Add an Administrator for API

At the VM-Series Console, go to Device -> Administrators -> +Add, to add an administrator for Role Based access as shown below. Use the profile created in previous step. Remember to click Commit.


5. Configure on the Aviatrix Controller

5.1 Managing VM-Series Directly

Login to the Aviatrix Controller, go to Firewall Network -> Vendor Integration -> Firewall. Configure the following parameters and click Save.

Setting Value
FireNet VPC ID The FireNet VPC ID for the Firewall Network deployment.
Firewall instance ID The firewall EC2 instance ID. Aviatrix Controller monitors the health of this instance and determines fail over when it becomes unreachable.
Firewall Name (Optional) A name to remember.
Firewall Vendor Type Select PAN
Firewall Login User Name firewall login name for API calls from the Controller. For example, admin-api, as shown in the screen shot.
Firewall Login Password firewall login password for API calls.
Firewall Management IP Address The public IP address of the firewall management interface for API calls from the Aviatrix Controller
Firewall Virtual Router name (Optional) Specify the firewall virtual Router name you wish the Controller to program. If left unspecified, the Controller programs the firewall’s default router.

5.2 Managing VM-Series by Panorama

If Panorama is used to manage the VM-Series, any dynamic route updates initiated by Aviatrix Controller are sent to Panorama.

Before you integrate Panorama with the Aviatrix Controller, you need to first launch and configure Panorama. The steps are as follows:

a. Launch Panorama

Launch Panorama from the AWS portal and SSH in to set the UI password, which is the same as the PAN firewall.

Change the Panorama management interface security group to allow port 3978. This is the port used by Panorama and the firewall to exchange information.

Install a license in Panorama. Without the correct license, it won’t work.

b. Upgrade Panorama

Panorama must be on the same software version as its managed firewalls.

Currently, a newly launched firewall instance is on version 9.0.1, but the Panorama instance version is on 8.1.2. So once you have launched a Panorama instance, upgrade it to version 9.0.0+ by following the instructions below.

Go to Panorama –> Dynamic Updates, click “Check Now”, select the latest version in “Applications and Threats”, download and install.

Go to Panorama –> Software, select the desired version, download and install. After installation, Panorama will reboot. This will take a few minutes.

c. Create Templates and Template Stack

Template and template stack are used to configure Network properties, such as interfaces, zones, and route tables. This is the one that we need to monitor and update through API.

  1. Create Template
    You should create a template for each firewall group: One for the FireNet primary gateway and one for FireNet backup gateway.
  2. Configure Template
    Add interfaces (ethernet1/1, ethernet1/2), zones (LAN, WAN), and a route table. Do not name the route table as “default” since this may conflict with the firewall’s default route table.
  3. Create Template Stack
    A Template stack is a bundle to bound template with managed devices. When creating, select templates (can be multiple) and devices. For example, create one template stack for each firewall group, one for primary FireNet gateway, one for backup FireNet gateway. Remember the template stack name. Commit and push.

d. Create Device Group

A Device Group is used to manage all the firewall policies.

  1. Add Device Group
    Go to Panorama –> Device Groups, click “Add” to create a new device group. Add the template created from the previous step. Remember the device group name, for example “west2-firenet-primary”.
  2. Add Example Policy
    Add “allow-all” policy to the just created device group.
  3. Add Egress Policy (Optional)
    If you plan to deploy Egress inspection, add egress-nat policy.
  4. Commit The Change
    Commit and push.

After the above steps, VM-Series instances are managed by Panorama. All configuration should be done through the Panorama console.

e. Create admin role and user

This is the same as for individually managed VM-Series. Create an admin role with XML API permission and create an admin user with the admin role.

After you have set up and configured your Panorama, go to the Aviatrix Controller -> Firewall Network -> Vendor Integration -> Firewall Manager (Panorama) and configure the following.

Setting Value
FireNet VPC ID The FireNet VPC ID for the Firewall Network deployment.
FireNet Gateway The FireNet gateway name.
Vendor Type Select Palo Alto Panorama.
Management IP Address The public IP address of the Panorama instance.
Login User Name Panorama login name for API calls from the Controller. For example, admin-api, as shown in the screen shot.
Login Password Panorama login password for API calls.
Template Name Panorama template for each FireNet gateway. (If FireNet gateway HA is configured, there should be two templates)
Template Stack Name Panorama template stack for each FireNet gateway.((If FireNet gateway HA is configured, there should be two template stacks)
Router name (Optional) Specify the firewall virtual Router name you wish the Controller to program. If left unspecified, the Controller programs the Panorama template’s first router.


  • The Panorama manager needs to be configured separately for the primary and backup FireNet gateways, because each is associated with a different template name.
  • Panorama can be configured even when there is no VM-Series associated with a FireNet gateway. However in such case, the egress subnet is not decided, therefore the egress route cannot be added. Once the first VM-Series instance is launched and is in sync with Panorama, the egress route will be automatically added.
  • If any VM-Series for a FireNet gateway is already managed by the Controller, you need to remove that configuration before configuring Panorama. See the migration instructions in the next section.
  • After Panorama is setup, any additional VM-Series associated with same gateway will be controlled by Panorama and no further configuration on the VM-Series is needed.
  • When all VM-Series are disassociated from a FireNet gateway, Panorama still maintains the configuration, unless the user removes the configuration from Panorama.
  • When Panorama is configured, the associated will show the vendor as “Palo Alto Panorama”. Clicking “Show” will use the same access account and password to access firewall and retrieve route information. To enable this, you need to configure admin role and user (same name and password as configured for Panorama itself) in the template in Panorama.
Migrating from individually managed VM-Series to Panorama

Assuming you have existing individually managed VM-Series by the Aviatrix Controller and have prepared your Panorama, follow the instructions below to migrate individually managed firewall (or VM-Series) to be managed by Panorama..

a. Remove firewall integration as PAN

If any firewall for a FireNet gateway is already integrated with the Controller with PAN as the Vendor type, you need to remove that configuration.

To do so, go to Controller->Firewall Network->Vendor Integration->Firewall, select the Transit VPC ID, Firewall Instance ID. For the Firewall Vendor Type, select “Generic”. This effectively removes the Controller integration.

b. Remove firewall configuration

From your firewall console, remove interfaces, zone, virtual router, policies, api admin role and api administrator.

c. Add Firewall to Managed Devices

Go to firewall, in dashboard, find the Serial #

Go to Panorama –> Managed Devices –> Summary, click “Add”, paste the firewall’s Serial # here, save and commit.

d. Configure Firewall

Port 3978 also needs to be allowed on the firewall side. After 4.7, newly launched firewalls through the AVX controller will handle this, but for existing firewalls, the user need to do it by himself/herself.

Log in to Firewall, go to Device –> Setup –> Management, edit “Panorama Settings”, add the public IP of Panorama, save and commit.

Go back to Panorama –> Managed Devices –> Summary, check the device should show “Connected”.

e. Add device into desired template stack and Device Group

Go to Panorama –> Template, select the desired template stack and check the firewall from the device list.

Go to Panorama –> Device Group, select the desired group and check the firewall from the device list.

Commit and push.

f. Integrate Panorama with Aviatrix Controller

Go to the Aviatrix Controller->Firewall Network->Vendor Integration->Firewall Manager (Panorama), fill out all the required information and save.

This step can also be done right after step a.

4. API calls

The integrated functions by the Controller are the following:

  • The Controller monitors the health of Palo Alto Network software by using the VM-series API and performs switch over based on the API return status.
  • The Controller dynamically programs Palo Alto Network route tables for any new propagated new routes discovered both from new Spoke VPCs and new on-premise routes.

Examples of Palo Alto Networks API used:

  1. get key:
  1. get route tables:[@name='localhost.localdomain']/network/virtual-router/entry[@name='default']&key=LUFRPT1YQk1SUlpYT2xIT3dqMUFmMlBEaVgxbUxwTmc9RFRlWncrbURXZVpXZUUyMFE3V3ZWVXlaSlFvdkluT2F4dzMzWUZpMGtZaz0=&action=get
  1. show interfaces:<show><interface>ethernet1/2</interface></show>
  1. add route:[@name='localhost.localdomain']/network/virtual-router/entry[@name='default']/routing-table/ip/static-route/entry[@name='test2']&key=LUFRPT1BbkNIbXJZNlVBOVdRMXNMSUNVRis1VWRHaTA9RFRlWncrbURXZVpXZUUyMFE3V3ZWU2ZEZzdCNW8yUEpwU3Q1NXEzeDBnST0=&action=set&element=<nexthop><ip-address></ip-address></nexthop><bfd><profile>None</profile></bfd><path-monitor><enable>no</enable><failure-condition>any</failure-condition><hold-time>2</hold-time></path-monitor><metric>10</metric><destination></destination><route-table><unicast/></route-table>
  1. delete route:[@name='localhost.localdomain']/network/virtual-router/entry[@name='default']/routing-table/ip/static-route/entry[@name='test2']&key=LUFRPT1BbkNIbXJZNlVBOVdRMXNMSUNVRis1VWRHaTA9RFRlWncrbURXZVpXZUUyMFE3V3ZWU2ZEZzdCNW8yUEpwU3Q1NXEzeDBnST0=&action=delete
  1. commit<commit></commit>