Dynamic Profiles

Dynamic profiles are so named because they are dynamically triggered by the following types of events:

Dynamic profiles are event- or action-driven and do not require an administrator to start the profile.

Without dynamic profile support, IT personnel must be available when devices are added, moved, or changed so they can configure both the network port and the new device. These tasks typically take a long time, do not support mobility, and are often prone to human error.

When dynamic profiles are configured properly and a device connects to an edge port, a triggering event triggers a profile that runs a script to configure the port appropriately. The script can use system run-time variables and information gathered from tools such as Netlogin and LLDP to customize the port configuration for the current network environment. For example, the profile can customize the port configuration based on the user ID or MAC address. Dynamic profiles allow you to automate the network response to a variety of network events.

Dynamic profiles create temporary states. For example, if a power outage causes the switch to restart, all ports return to the default configuration. When a triggering event such as a specific device connection occurs again, the profile is applied again. When the device is no longer connected, the disconnect event can trigger another profile to unconfigure the port.

The temporary state configured by a dynamic profile is configured by prepending the configure cli mode non-persistent command to the script. The temporary nature of profile configuration is critical for network security. Imagine a situation where a dynamic security profile is used. If the information granting access to specific network resources is saved in the configuration, the switch is restarted, and a user loses network connectivity on a secure port, the secure port still provides network access after the switch restarts. Anybody else can access network resources simply by connecting to that secure port.

Although the switch configuration returns to the default values after a restart, there is no automatic configuration rollback for dynamic profiles. For example, if a profile grants secure access to network resources at user login, the configuration is not automatically rolled back when the user logs off. To roll back the configuration at user log off, you must create another profile that responds to user log off events.

To support configuration rollback, the scripting feature allows you to save information used in dynamic profiles in variables. When a profile is activated and you want the option to roll back to the previous default setting, some information must be saved, such as the default VLAN setting or the default configuration of a port. Essentially anything modified from the previous setting can be preserved for future use by the profile that rolls back the configuration.

There can be multiple profiles on a switch, but only one profile runs at a time. Data from a trigger event is used to select the appropriate profile, and that data can also be used to make decision points within a profile. A typical example is the use of a RADIUS server to specify a particular profile and then apply port-based policies to the user based on the user‘s location.

There is no profile hierarchy and no software validation to detect if a new profile conflicts with older profile. If two profiles conflict, the same profile might produce different results, depending on the events leading up to the profile trigger. When you create profiles, you must be familiar with all profiles on the switch and avoid creating profiles that conflict with each other.