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This paper describes the experiences with a firewall analysis tool and metrics that one have designed and used to help manage large production rule sets. Firewall rule sets typically become increasingly unwieldy over time. It is common for firewalls to have hundreds, or even thousands, of rules. Not surprisingly, administrators have a hard time keeping track of how the rules interact with each other, resulting in many partially effective or completely ineffective rules, and unpredictable behavior. The tool can be used to identify these problematic rules. Further, given two rule sets, the tool produces a comprehensive list of the traffic that is only permitted or denied by one rule set, rather than both.
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