netlab 1.7.0: Lab Validation, Fabrics, BGP Nerd Knobs

It’s been a while since the last netlab release. Most of that time was spent refactoring stuff that you don’t care about, but you might like these features:

As always, we also improved the platform support:

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The BGP Origin Attribute

Kristijan Taskovski asked an interesting question related to my BGP AS-prepending lab:

I’ve never personally done this on the net but….wouldn’t the BGP origin code also work with moving one’s ingress traffic similarly to AS PATH?

TL&DR: Sort of, but not exactly. Also, just because you can climb up ropes using shoelaces instead of jumars doesn’t mean you should.

Let’s deal with the moving traffic bit first.

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30 Days Left to Buy Subscription

When I announced the lifetime subscription in early September, I also mentioned that you won’t be able to purchase any subscription after December 31st, 2023.

As of today, you have 30 days left to decide, and don’t wait till the last minute – I plan to turn off the purchasing process sometime during the business hours of December 31st as I hope to have more interesting things to do in the evening.

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The BGP Multi-Exit Discriminator (MED) Saga

Martijn Van Overbeek left this comment on my LinkedIn post announcing the BGP MED lab:

It might be fixed, but I can recall in the past that there was a lot of quirkiness in multi-vendor environments, especially in how different vendors use it and deal with the setting when the attribute does exist or does not have to exist.

TL&DR: He’s right. It has been fixed (mostly), but the nerd knobs never went away.

In case you’re wondering about the root cause, it was the vagueness of RFC 1771. Now for the full story ;)

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BGP Labs: Set BGP Communities on Outgoing Updates

It’s hard to influence the behavior of someone with strong opinions (just ask any parent with a screaming toddler), and trying to persuade an upstream ISP not to send the traffic over a backup link is no exception – sometimes even AS path prepending is not a strong enough argument.

An easy solution to this problem was proposed in 1990s – what if we could attach some extra attributes (called communities just to confuse everyone) to BGP updates and use them to tell adjacent autonomous systems to lower their BGP local preference? You can practice doing that in the Attach BGP Communities to Outgoing BGP Updates lab exercise.

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Why Do We Need BGP Identifiers?

A friend of mine sent me an interesting question along these lines:

We all know that in OSPF, the router ID is any 32-bit number, not necessarily an IP address of an interface. The only requirement is that it must be unique throughout the OSPF domain. However, I’ve always wondered what the role of BGP router ID is. RFC 4271 says it should be set to an IP address assigned to that BGP speaker, but where do we use it?

Also, he observed somewhat confusing behavior in the wild:

Take two routers and configure the same BGP identifier on both. Cisco IOS will not establish a session, while IOS XR and Junos will.

I decided to take the challenge and dug deep into the bowels of RFC 4271 and RFC 6286. Here’s what I brought back from that rabbit hole:

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VXLAN/EVPN Layer-3 Handoff (L3Out) on Arista EOS

A while ago, I published a blog post describing how to establish a LAN/WAN L3 boundary in VXLAN/EVPN networks using Cisco NX-OS. At that time, I promised similar information for Arista EOS. Here it is, coming straight from Massimo Magnani. The useful part of what follows is his; all errors were introduced during my editing process.

In the cases I have dealt with so far, implementing the LAN-WAN boundary has the main benefit of limiting the churn blast radius to the local domain, trying to impact the remote ones as little as possible. To achieve that, we decided to go for a hierarchical solution where you create two domains, local (default) and remote, and maintain them as separate as possible.

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