Johannes Resch submitted the following comment to the Is Dynamic MAC Learning Better Than EVPN? blog post:
I’ve also recently noticed some vendors claiming that dataplane MAC learning is so much better because it reduces the number of BGP updates in large scale SP EVPN deployments. Apparently, some of them are working on IETF drafts to bring dataplane MAC learning “back” to EVPN. Not sure if this is really a relevant point - we know that BGP scales nicely, and its relatively easy to deploy virtualized RR with sufficient VPU resources.
While he’s absolutely correct that BGP scales nicely, the questions to ask is “what is the optimal way to deliver a Carrier Ethernet service?”
I got a question from a few of my students regarding the best way to implement end-to-end EVPN across multiple locations. Obviously there’s the multi-pod and multi-site architecture for people believing in the magic powers of stretching VLANs across the globe, but I was looking for something that I could recommend to people who understand that you have to have a L3 boundary if you want to have multiple independent failure domains (or availability zones).
The Dynamic MAC Learning versus EVPN blog post triggered tons of interesting responses describing edge cases and vendor
bugs implementation details, including an age-old case of silent hosts described by Nitzan:
Few years ago in EVPN network, I saw drops on the multicast queue (ingress replication goes to that queue). After analyzing it we found that the root cause is vMotion (the hosts in that VLAN are silent) which starts at a very high rate before the source leaf learns the destination MAC.
It turns out that the behavior they experienced was caused by a particularly slow EVPN implementation, so it’s not exactly the case of silent hosts, but let’s dig deeper into what could happen when you do have silent hosts attached to an EVPN fabric.
Lukas Krattiger wrapped up his EVPN-versus-MLAG presentation (part of EVPN Deep Dive webinar) with an overview of the advantages and drawbacks of EVPN-based multihoming solutions:
- N-way multihoming
- Flexible connectivity (no need for a peer link)
- Fabric-wide scope (MAC multipathing required on ingress node)
One of my readers worried about the control-plane-induced MAC learning lag in EVPN-based networks:
In all discussions about the advantages/disadvantages of VXLAN/EVPN, I can’t find any regarding the lag in learning new macs when you use the control plane for mac learning.
Daniel left an interesting comment on my Studying EVPN to Prepare for a Job Interview blog post:
I also never build a VXLAN fabric with two vendors. So, is it possible now to build one large fabric consisting of multiple vendors?
TL&DR: Yes, but just because you could doesn’t mean that you should.
TL&DR: It works, at least when using Arista vEOS as the relay and Cisco CSR 1000v as the DHCP server.
We’ll keep using the exact same “physical” topology we used in the VXLAN DHCP relaying lab, add EVPN and BGP to the control-plane cocktail, and put the VXLAN segment into a VRF. We’ll use CSR 1000v as the DHCP server because Cisco IOSv doesn’t support some of the DHCP option-82 sub-options we need.
An ipSpace.net subscriber sent me this question:
I am on job hunting. I have secured an interview and they will probably ask me about VxLAN BGP EVPN fabrics. If you have some time, it would be a great help for me if you could tell me 1 or 2 questions that you would ask in such interviews.
TL&DR: He got the job. Congratulations!
Not surprisingly, most implementations of virtual MLAG peer link remain proprietary. Lukas Krattiger described the details of Cisco’s vPC Fabric Peering implementation in the EVPN Deep Dive webinar.
In November 2022 I described some of the intricacies of using EVPN to implement MLAG control plane. You might have noticed that I didn’t dive deep into EVPN details, and I had a good reason for that – Lukas Krattiger did a wonderful job describing how MLAG works with EVPN in the EVPN Deep Dive webinar.
When trying to decide whether to use EVPN for your next data center fabric, you might want to consider how easy it is to configure and troubleshoot.
You’ll find a few configuration hints in the Multivendor Data Center EVPN part of the EVPN Technical Deep Dive webinar. For the troubleshooting part, check out the phenomenal Troubleshooting EVPN with Arista EOS article by Tony Bourke.
There’s no better way to start this blog post than with a widespread myth: we don’t need MLAG now that most vendors have implemented EVPN multihoming.
TL&DR: This myth is close to the not even wrong category.
As we discussed in the MLAG System Overview blog post, every MLAG implementation needs at least three functional components:
After starting the EVPN multihoming versus MLAG presentation (part of EVPN Deep Dive webinar) with the taxonomy of EVPN-based multihoming, Lukas Krattiger did a deep dive into its intricacies including:
- EVPN route types needed to support multihoming
- A typical sequence of EVPN updates during multihoming setup
- MAC multipathing, MAC aliasing, split horizon and mass withdrawals
- Designated forwarder election
I promised you a blog post explaining the intricacies of implementing MLAG with EVPN, but (as is often the case) it’s taking longer than expected. In the meantime, enjoy the EVPN Multihoming Taxonomy and Overview video from Lukas Krattiger’s EVPN Multihoming versus MLAG presentation (part of EVPN Deep Dive webinar).
In the EVPN/MPLS Bridging Forwarding Model blog post I mentioned numerous services defined in RFC 7432. That blog post focused on VLAN-Based Service Interface that mirrors the Carrier Ethernet VLAN mode.
RFC 7432 defines two other VLAN services that can be used to implement Carrier Ethernet services:
- Port-based service – whatever is received on the ingress port is sent to the egress port(s)
- VLAN bundle service – multiple VLANs sharing the same bridging table, effectively emulating single outer VLAN in Q-in-Q bridging.
And then there’s the VLAN-Aware Bundle Service, where a bunch of VLANs share the same MPLS pseudowires while having separate bridging tables.