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Versions: 00 01 02 RFC 4684

Network Working Group                                   Ronald Bonica
INTERNET DRAFT                                                    MCI
Expiration Date: November 2004                            Luyuan Fang
                                                        Pedro Marques
                                                     Juniper Networks
                                                         Luca Martini
                                                        Robert Raszuk
                                                        Cisco Systems

                   Constrained VPN route distribution

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-

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   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as ``work in progress.''

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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   This document defines MP-BGP procedures that allow BGP speakers to
   exchange Route Target reachability information.  This information can
   be used to build a route distribution graph in order to limit the
   propagation of VPN NLRI (such as VPN-IPv4, VPN-IPv6 or L2-VPN NLRI)
   between different autonomous systems or distinct clusters of the same
   autonomous system.

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1. Introduction

   In BGP/MPLS IP VPNs, PE routers use Route Target (RT) extended
   communities to control the distribution of routes into VRFs. Within a
   given iBGP mesh, PE routers need only to hold routes marked with
   Route Targets pertaining to VRFs that have local CE attachments.

   It is common, however, for an autonomous system use route reflection
   [BGP-RR] in order to simplify the process of bringing up a new PE
   router in the network and to limit the size of the iBGP peering mesh.

   In such a scenario, as well as when VPNs may have members in more
   than one autonomous system, the number of routes carried by the
   inter-cluster or inter-as distribution routers is an important

   In order to limit the VPN routing information that is maintained at a
   given RR, RFC2547bis [RFC2547bis] suggests, in section 4.3.3., the
   usage of "Cooperative Route Filtering" [ORF] between route

   As currently defined, "Cooperative Route Filtering" has a fundamental
   limitation in that it can only distribute information in a point-to-
   point fashion. As such, it doesn't lend itself to be used to control
   the propagation of VPN NLRI information, either in an hierarchical
   way within an autonomous system, or between autonomous systems.

   This limitation conditions the effectiveness of the suggestions
   presented in section 4.3.3. of RFC2547bis [RFC2547bis] in terms of
   their ability to limit the number of VPN routes known to the RRs.  Of
   these, option 2 proposes that route reflectors build their inter-
   cluster Route Target filter based on the routes received from client
   PE routers. This assumes a symmetric model in which a VPN uses the
   same Route Target value for both Import and Export targets.  An
   asymmetric model, such as an hub-and-spoke scenario, would not be
   supported by this suggestion.  This proposal addresses this issue by
   basing itself on the Import Targets that define the VPN NLRI to VRF

   While it would be possible to extend the encoding currently defined
   for extended-community ORF in order to achieve this purpose, BGP
   itself already has all the necessary machinery for dissemination of
   arbitrary information in a loop free fashion, both within a single
   autonomous system, as well as across multiple autonomous systems.

   This document builds on the model described in RFC2547bis and on
   concept of cooperative route filtering by adding the ability to
   propagate Route Target information between iBGP meshes.

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   By using MP-BGP UPDATE messages to propagate Route Target information
   it is possible to reuse all this machinery including route
   reflection, confederations and inter-as information loop detection.

   Received Route Target information can then be used to restrict
   advertisement of VPN NLRI to peers that have advertised their
   respective Route Targets, effectively building a route distribution
   graph. In this model, VPN NLRI routing information flows in the
   inverse direction of Route Target information.

   This mechanism is applicable to any BGP NLRI that controls the
   distribution of routing information based on Route Targets, such as
   BGP L2VPNs [L2VPN] and VPLS [VPLS].

   Throughout this document, the term NLRI, which originally expands to
   "Network Layer Reachability Information" is used to describe routing
   information carried via MP-BGP updates without any assumption of

2. Inter-AS VPN route distribution.

   In order to better understand the problem at hand, it is helpful to
   divide it in its inter-AS and intra-AS components.  Figure 1
   represents an arbitrary graph of autonomous systems (a through j)
   interconnected in an ad-hoc fashion.  The following discussion
   ignores the complexity of intra-AS route distribution.

                   | +---+    +---+    +---+          |
                   | | a | -- | b | -- | c |          |
                   | +---+    +---+    +---+          |
                   |   |        |                     |
                   |   |        |                     |
                   | +---+    +---+    +---+    +---+ |
                   | | d | -- | e | -- | f | -- | j | |
                   | +---+    +---+    +---+    +---+ |
                   |        /            |            |
                   |       /             |            |
                   | +---+    +---+    +---+          |
                   | | g | -- | h | -- | i |          |
                   | +---+    +---+    +---+          |
                                 Figure 1.

   Lets consider the simple case of a VPN with CE attachments in ASes a
   and i using a single Route Target to control VPN route distribution.
   Ideally we would like to build a flooding graph for the respective

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   VPN routes that would not include nodes (c, g, h, j).

   In order to achieve this we will rely on ASa and ASi generating a
   NLRI consisting of <as#, route-target>. Receipt of such an
   advertisement by one of the ASes in the network will signal the need
   to distribute VPN routes containing this Route Target community to
   the peer that advertised this route.

   Using routes that include both route-target and originator as#,
   allows BGP speakers to use standard path selection rules concerning
   as-path length (and other policy mechanisms) to prune duplicate paths
   in the flooding graph, while maintaining the information required to
   reach all autonomous systems advertising the Route Target.

   In the example above, ASe needs to maintain a path to ASa in order to
   flood VPN routing information originating from ASi and vice-versa. It
   should however prune less preferred paths such as the longer path to
   ASi with as-path (g h i).

   Extending the example above to include ASj as a member of the VPN
   distribution graph would cause ASf to advertise 2 Route Target routes
   to e, one containing origin ASi and one containing origin ASj. While
   advertising a single path, lets assume (f j) is selected, would be
   sufficient to guarantee that VPN information flows to all VPN member
   ASes, the information concerning the path (f i) is necessary to prune
   the arc (g h i) from the route distribution graph.

   As with other approaches for building distribution graphs, the
   benefits of this mechanism are directly proportional to how "sparse"
   is the VPN membership. Standard RFC2547 inter-AS behavior can be seen
   as a dense-mode approach, to make the analogy with multicast routing

3. Intra-AS VPN route distribution

   As indicated above, the inter-AS VPN route distribution graph, for a
   given route-target, is constructed by creating a directed arc on the
   inverse direction of received Route Target UPDATEs containing an NLRI
   of the form <as#, route-target>.

   Inside the BGP topology of a given autonomous-system, as far as
   external routes are concerned (route-targets where the as# is not the
   local as), it is easy to see that standard BGP route selection and
   advertisement rules [BGP-BASE] will allow a transit AS to create the
   necessary flooding state.

   Consider a IPv4 NLRI prefix, sourced by a single AS, which

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   distributed via BGP within a given transit AS. BGP protocol rules
   guarantee that BGP speaker has a valid route that can be used for
   forwarding of data packets for that destination prefix, in the
   inverse path of received routing updates.

   By the same token, and given that a <as#, route-target> key provides
   uniqueness between several ASes that may be sourcing this route-
   target, BGP route selection and advertisement procedures guarantee
   that a valid VPN route distribution path exists to the origin of the
   Route Target advertisement.

   Route Target routes that are originated within the autonomous-system
   however require more careful examination. Several PE routers within a
   given autonomous-system may source the the same NLRI <as#, route-
   target>, thus default route advertisement rules are no longer
   sufficient to guarantee that within the given AS each node in the
   distribution graph has selected a feasible path to each of the PEs
   that import the given route-target.

   When processing Route Target routes for which the as# is equal to the
   local autonomous system, it is necessary to consider all availiable
   iBGP paths for a given RT prefix when performing outbound route
   filtering, not just the best path.

   In addition, when advertising Route Target NLRI information sourced
   by the local autonomous system to an iBGP peer, a BGP speaker shall
   modify its procedure to calculate the BGP attributes such that:

      When advertising a route to a route-reflector client, the
      Originator attribute shall be set to the router-id of the
      advertiser and the Next-hop attribute shall be set of the local
      address for that session.

      When advertising a route to a non client peer, if the best path as
      selected by path selection procedure described in section 9.1 of
      [BGP-BASE], is a route received from a non-client peer, and there
      is an alternative path to the same destination from a client, the
      attributes of the client path are advertised to the peer.

   The first of these route advertisement rules is designed such that
   the originator of a route does not drop a route which is reflected
   back to it, thus allowing the route reflector to use this route in
   order to signal the client that it should distribute VPN routes with
   the specific target torwards the reflector.

   The second rule makes is such that any BGP speaker present in an iBGP
   mesh can signal the interest of its route reflection clients in
   receiving VPN routes for that target.

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   An alternative solution to the procedure given above would have been
   to source different routes per PE, such as NLRI of the form
   <originator-id, route-target>, and aggregate them at the edge of the
   network. The solution adopted is considered to be advantageous over
   the former given that it requires less routing-information within a
   given AS.

4. Route Target advertisements

   Route Target routing information is advertised in BGP UPDATE messages
   using the MP_REACH_NLRI and MP_UNREACH_NLRI attributes [BGP-MP]. The
   <AFI, SAFI> value pair used to identify this NLRI is (AFI=1,

   The Next Hop field of MP_REACH_NLRI attribute shall be interpreted as
   an IPv4 address, whenever the lenght of NextHop address is 4 octects,
   and as a IPv6 address, whenever the lenght of the NextHop address is
   16 octets.

   The NLRI field in the MP_REACH_NLRI and MP_UNREACH_NLRI is a prefix
   of 0 to 96 bits encoded as defined in section 4 of [BGP-MP].

   This prefix is structured as follows:

            | origin as        (4 octects)  |
            | route target     (8 octects)  |
            +                               +
            |                               |

   Except for the default route target, which is encoded as a 0 lenght
   prefix, the minimum prefix lenght is 32 bits. Thus, the origin AS
   must be set on a prefix.

   Route targets can then be expressed as prefixes, where for instance,
   a prefix would encompass all route target extended communities
   assigned by a given Global Administrator [BGP-EXTCOMM].

   The default route target can be used to indicate to a peer the
   willingness to receive all VPN route advertisements such as, for
   instance, the case of route reflector speaking to one of its PE
   router clients.

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5. Capability Advertisement

   A BGP speaker that wishes to exchange Route Target information must
   use the the Multiprotocol Extensions Capability Code as defined in
   [BGP-MP], to advertise the corresponding (AFI, SAFI) pair.

   A BGP speaker MAY participate in the distribution of Route Target
   information while not using the learned information for purposes of
   VPN NLRI route filtering, although the latter is discouraged.

6. Operation

   A VPN NLRI route should be advertised to a peer that participates in
   the exchange of Route Target information if that peer has advertised
   either the default Route Target or any of the targets contained in
   the extended communities attribute of the VPN route in question.

   When a BGP speaker receives a BGP UPDATE that advertises or withdraws
   a given Route Target, it should examine the RIB-OUTs of VPN NLRIs and
   reevaluate the advertisement status of routes that match the Route
   Target in question.

   A BGP speaker should generate the minimum set of BGP VPN route
   updates necessary to transition between the previous and current
   state of the route distribution graph that is derived from Route
   Target information.

7. Deployment considerations

   This mecanism reduces the scaling requirements that are imposed on
   route reflectors by limiting the number of VPN routes and events that
   a reflector has to process to the VPN routes used by its direct
   clients.  By default, a reflector must scale in terms of the total
   number of VPN routes present on the network.

   This also means that its is now possible to reduce the load impossed
   on a given reflector by dividing the PE routers present on its
   cluster into a new set of clusters. This is a localized configuration
   change that need not affect any system outside this cluster.

   The effectiveness of RT-based filtering depends on how sparse the VPN
   membership is.

   For instance, in the inter-as case, it is likely that a given VPN is
   connected to only a subset of all participating ASes.  The only
   current mechanism to limit the scope of VPN route flooding is through

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   manual filtering on the EBGP border routers. With the current
   proposal such filtering will be performed based on the dynamic RT-
   route information.

   In some inter-as deployments not all RTs used for a given VPN have
   external significance. For example, a VPN can use an hub RT and a
   spoke RT internally to an autonomous-system. The spoke RT does not
   have meaning outside this AS and so it may be stripped at an external
   border router. The same policy rules that result in extended
   community filtering can be applied to RT-route filtering in order to
   avoid advertising an RT-route for the spoke-RT in the example above.

   Throughout this document, we assume that autonomous-systems agree on
   an RT assignment convention. RT translation at the extern border
   router boundary, is considered to be a local implementation decision,
   as it should not affect inter-operability.

8. Security considerations

   This document does not alter the security properties of BGP-based

9. Acknowledgments

   This proposal is based on the extended community route filtering
   mechanism defined in [ORF].

   Ahmed Guetari was instrumental in defining requirements for this

   The authors would also like to thank Yakov Rekhter, Dan Tappan, Dave
   Ward, John Scudder, Keyur Patel, and Jerry Ash for their comments and

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10. References

   [BGP-BASE] Y. Rekhter, T. Li, S. Hares, "A Border Gateway Protocol 4
   (BGP-4)", draft-ietf-idr-bgp4-20.txt, 03/03

   [RFC2547bis] "BGP/MPLS VPNs", Rosen et. al., draft-ietf-ppvpn-
   rfc2547bis-03.txt, 10/02.

   [BGP-RR] Bates, Chandra, and Chen, "BGP Route Reflection: An
   alternative to full mesh IBGP", RFC 2796.

   [BGP-CAP] R. Chandra, J. Scudder, "Capabilities Advertisement with
   BGP-4", RFC2842.

   [BGP-MP] T. Bates, R. Chandra, D. Katz, Y. Rekhter, "Multiprotocol
   Extensions for BGP-4", RFC2858.

   [ORF] E. Chen, Y. Rekhter, "Cooperative Route Filtering Capability
   for BGP-4", draft-ietf-idr-route-filter-09.txt, 08/03.

   [BGP-EXTCOMM] S. Sangli, D. Tappan, Y. Rekhter, "BGP Extended
   Communities Attribute", draft-ietf-idr-bgp-ext-communities-05.txt,

   [L2VPN] K. Kompella et al., "Layer 2 VPNs Over Tunnels", draft-
   kompella-ppvpn-l2vpn-02.txt, 11/01.

   [VPLS] K Kompella (Ed.), "Virtual Private LAN Service", draft-
   kompella-ppvpn-vpls-01.txt, 11/02

11. Authors' Addresses

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Internet Draft                                                  May 2004

Ronald P. Bonica
22001 Loudoun County Pkwy
Ashburn, Virginia, 20147
Phone: 703 886 1681
Email: ronald.p.bonica@mci.com

Luyuan Fang
200 Laurel Avenue, Room C2-3B35
Middletown, NJ 07748
Phone: 732-420-1921
Email: luyuanfang@att.com

Luca Martini
Cisco Systems, Inc.
9155 East Nichols Avenue, Suite 400
Englewood, CO, 80112
e-mail: lmartini@cisco.com

Pedro Marques
Juniper Networks
1194 N. Mathilda Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Email: roque@juniper.net

Robert Raszuk
Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Dr
San Jose, CA 95134
Email: rraszuk@cisco.com

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