Reviving Old Content, Part 1
More than a decade ago I published tons of materials on a web site that eventually disappeared into digital nirvana, leaving heaps of broken links on my blog. I decided to clean up those links, and managed to save some of the vanished content from the Internet Archive:
- OSPF Flooding Filters in Hub-and-Spoke Environments
- Implicit and Explicit Null Label in MPLS networks
- Default Routes in BGP
- Filter Excessively Prepended BGP Paths
I also updated dozens of blog posts while pretending to be Indiana Jones, including:
Why Is OSPF not Using TCP?
A Network Artist sent me a long list of OSPF-related questions after watching the Routing Protocols section of our How Networks Really Work webinar. Starting with an easy one:
From historical perspective, any idea why OSPF guys invented their own transport protocol instead of just relying upon TCP?
I wasn’t there when OSPF was designed, but I have a few possible explanations. Let’s start with the what functionality should the transport protocol provide reasons:
Must Read: Redistributing Full BGP Feed into OSPF
The idea of redistributing the full Internet routing table (840.000 routes at this moment) into OSPF sound as ridiculous as it is, but when fat fingers strike it should be relatively easy to recover, right? Just disable redistribution (assuming you can still log into the offending device) and move on.
Wrong. As Dmytro Shypovalov explained in an extensive blog post, you might have to restart all routers in your OSPF domain to recover.
And that, my friends, is why OSPF is a single failure domain, and why you should never run OSPF between your data center fabric and servers or VM appliances.
MUST READ: What I've learned about scaling OSPF in Datacenters
Justin Pietsch published a fantastic recap of his experience running OSPF in AWS infrastructure. You MUST read what he wrote, here’s the TL&DR summary:
- Contrary to popular myths, OSPF works well on very large leaf-and-spine networks.
- OSPF nuances are really hard to grasp intuitively, and the only way to know what will happen is to run tests with the same codebase you plan to use in production environment.
Dinesh Dutt made similar claims on one of our podcasts, and I wrote numerous blog posts on the same topic. Not that anyone would care or listen, it’s so much better to watch vendor slide decks full of latest unicorn dust… but in the end, it’s usually not the protocol that’s broken, but the network design.
Running OSPF in a Single Non-Backbone Area
One of my subscribers sent me an interesting puzzle:
>One of my colleagues configured a single-area OSPF process in a customer VRF customer, but instead of using area 0, he used area 123 nssa. Obviously it works, but I was thinking: “What the heck, a single OSPF area MUST be in Area 0”
Not really. OSPF behaves identically within an area (modulo stub/NSSA behavior) regardless of the area number…
Is OSPF Unpredictable or Just Unexpected?
I was listening to very interesting Future of Networking with Fred Baker a long while ago and enjoyed Fred’s perspectives and historical insight, until Greg Ferro couldn’t possibly resist the usual bashing of traditional routing protocols and praising of intent-based (or flow-based or SDN or…) whatever.
Here’s what I understood he said around 35:17
Stop Googling and Start Testing
Here’s a question I got on one of my ancient blog posts:
How many OSPF process ID can be used in a single VRF instance?
Seriously? You have to ask that? OK, maybe the question isn’t as simple as it looks. It could be understood as:
Routing Protocols: Perfect Example of RFC 1925 Rule 5
In case you’re not familiar with RFC 1925, its Rule 5 states:
It is always possible to agglutinate multiple separate problems into a single complex interdependent solution. In most cases this is a bad idea.
Most routing protocols are a perfect demonstration of this rule.
Synchronizing BGP and OSPF (or OSPF and LDP)
Rich sent me a question about temporary traffic blackholing in networks where every router is running IGP (OSPF or IS-IS) and iBGP.
He started with a very simple network diagram:
Nerd Knobs Save the Day: NSSA Saga Continues
Remember the OSPF NSSA Forwarding Address kludge and its consequences? Let’s figure out whether the nerd knobs available in Cisco IOS can save the day.
TL&DR: Don’t use OSPF areas if you can avoid them. Don’t use NSSA areas.
More Thoughts on OSPF Forwarding Address
Angelos Vassiliou sent me an interesting lengthy email after I published my OSPF Forwarding Address series (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4). I asked him whether it’s OK to publish his email together with my responses as a blog post and he gracefully agreed, so here it is.
The Unintended Consequences of NSSA Kludges
Remember the kludges needed to make OSPF NSSA areas work correctly? We concluded that saga by showing how the rules of RFC 3101 force a poor ASBR to choose an IP address on one of its OSPF-enabled interfaces as a forwarding address to be used in Type-7 LSA.
What could possibly go wrong with such a “simple” concept?
Why OSPF Needs Forwarding Address with NSSA Areas
In the previous blog posts I described how OSPF tries to solve some broken designs with Forwarding Address field in Type-5 LSA – a kludge that unnecessarily increases the already too-high complexity of OSPF.
NSSA areas make the whole thing worse: OSPF needs Forwarding Address in Type-5 LSAs generated from Type-7 LSAs to ensure optimal packet forwarding. Here’s why:
OSPF Forwarding Address YAK: Take 2
In my initial OSPF Forwarding Address blog post I described a common Forwarding Address (FA) use case (at least as preached on the Internet): two ASBRs connected to a single external subnet with route redistributing configured only on one of them.
That design is clearly broken from the reliability perspective, but are there other designs where OSPF FA might make sense?
OSPF Forwarding Address: Yet another Kludge
One of my readers sent me an interesting NSSA question (more in a future blog post) that sent me chasing for the reasons behind the OSPF Forwarding Address (FA) field in type-5 and type-7 LSAs.
This is the typical scenario for OSPF FA I was able to find on the Internet: