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Category: BGP

Networking, Engineering and Safety

You might remember my occasional rants about lack of engineering in networking. A long while ago David Barroso nicely summarized the situation in a tweet responding to my BGP and Car Safety blog post:

If we were in a proper engineering we’d be discussing how to regulate and add safeties to an important tech that is unsafe and hard to operate. Instead, we blog about how to do crazy shit to it or how it’s a hot mess. Let’s be honest, if BGP was a car it’d be one pulled by horses.

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BGP Navel Gazing on Software Gone Wild

This podcast introduction was written by Nick Buraglio, the host of today’s podcast.

As we all know, BGP runs the networked world. It is a protocol that has existed and operated in the vast expanse of the internet in one form or another since early 1990s, and despite the fact that it has been extended, enhanced, twisted, and warped into performing a myriad of tasks that one would never have imagined in the silver era of internetworking, it has remained largely unchanged in its operational core.

The world as we know it would never exist without BGP, and because of the fact that it is such a widely deployed protocol with such a solid track record of “just working”, the transition to a better security model surrounding it has been extraordinarily slow to modernize.

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BGP AS Numbers on MLAG Members

I got this question about the use of AS numbers on data center leaf switches participating in an MLAG cluster:

In the Leaf-and-Spine Fabric Architectures you made the recommendation to have the same AS number on all members of an MLAG cluster and run iBGP between them. In the Autonomous Systems and AS Numbers article you discuss the option of having different AS number per leaf. Which one should I use… and do I still need the EBGP peering between the leaf pair?

As always, there’s a bit of a gap between theory and practice ;), but let’s start with a leaf-and-spine fabric diagram illustrating both concepts:

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Explore: BGP in Data Center Fabrics

Got mentioned in this tweet a while ago:

Watching @ApstraInc youtube stream regarding BGP in the DC with @doyleassoc and @jtantsura.Maybe BGP is getting bigger and bigger traction from big enterprise data centers but I still see an IGP being used frequently. I am eager to have @ioshints opinion on that hot subject.

Maybe I’ve missed some breaking news, but assuming I haven’t my opinion on that subject hasn’t changed.

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When EVPN EBGP Session between Loopbacks Makes Sense

One of the attendees of our Building Next-Generation Data Center online course submitted a picture-perfect solution to scalable layer-2 fabric design challenge:

  • VXLAN/EVPN based data center fabric;
  • IGP within the fabric;
  • EBGP with the WAN edge routers because they’re run by a totally different team and they want to have a policy enforcement point between the two;
  • EVPN over IBGP within the fabric;
  • EVPN over EBGP between the fabric and WAN edge routers.

The only seemingly weird decision he made: he decided to run the EVPN EBGP session between loopback interfaces of core switches (used as BGP route reflectors) and WAN edge routers.

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Can We Trust BGP Next Hops (Part 2)?

Two weeks ago I started with a seemingly simple question:

If a BGP speaker R is advertising a prefix A with next hop N, how does the network know that N is actually alive and can be used to reach A?

… and answered it for the case of directly-connected BGP neighbors (TL&DR: Hope for the best).

Jeff Tantsura provided an EVPN perspective, starting with “the common non-arguable logic is reachability != functionality”.

Now let’s see what happens when we add route reflectors to the mix. Here’s a simple scenario:

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Building BGP Route Reflector Configuration with Ansible/Jinja2

One of our subscribers sent me this email when trying to use ideas from Ansible for Networking Engineers webinar to build BGP route reflector configuration:

I’m currently discovering Ansible/Jinja2 and trying to create BGP route reflector configuration from Jinja2 template using Ansible playbook. As part of group_vars YAML file, I wish to list all route reflector clients IP address. When I have 50+ neighbors, the YAML file gets quite unreadable and it’s hard to see data model anymore.

Whenever you hit a roadblock like this one, you should start with the bigger picture and maybe redefine the problem.

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Can We Trust BGP Next Hops (Part 1)?

Aldrin sent me an interesting question as a comment to one of my EVPN blog posts:

How does the network know that a VTEP is actually alive? (1) from the point of view of the control plane and (2) from the point of view of the data plane? And how do you ensure that control and data plane liveness monitoring has the same view? BFD for BGP is a possible solution for (1) but it’s not meant for 3rd party next hops, i.e. it doesn’t address (2).

Let’s stop right there (or you’ll stop reading in the next 10 milliseconds). I will also try to rephrase the question in more generic terms, hoping Aldrin won’t mind a slight detour… we’ll get back to the original question in another blog post.

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MUST READ: Using BGP RPKI for a Safer Internet

As I explained in How Networks Really Work and Upcoming Internet Challenges webinars, routing security, and BGP security in particular remain one of the unsolved challenges we’ve been facing for decades (see also: what makes BGP a hot mess).

Fortunately, due to enormous efforts of a few persistent individuals BGP RPKI is getting traction (NTT just went all-in), and Flavio Luciani and Tiziano Tofoni decided to do their part creating an excellent in-depth document describing BGP RPKI theory and configuration on Cisco- and Juniper routers.

There are only two things you have to do:

Thank you, the Internet will be grateful.

2020-04-02 16:00 UTC - Two interesting events happened on April 1st. This is why we badly need RPKI and this is why we might need another document describing “how to back up ROAs and have a recovery procedure that takes less than 20 hours
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Podcast: BGP in Public Cloud Revisited

After my response to the BGP is a hot mess topic, Corey Quinn graciously invited me to discuss BGP issues on his podcast. It took us a long while to set it up, but we eventually got there… and the results were published last week. Hope you’ll enjoy our chat.

I talked about (lack of) network security in How Networks Really Work webinar. I’ll cover similar topics in the Upcoming Internet Challenges webinar.
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