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Remote Compute


Contrail Networking supports remote compute, a method of managing a Contrail deployment across many small distributed data centers efficiently and cost effectively.

Remote Compute Overview

Remote compute enables the deployment of Contrail Networking in many small distributed data centers, up to hundreds or even thousands, for telecommunications point-of-presence (PoPs) or central offices (COs). Each small data center has only a small number of computes, typically 5-20 in a rack, running a few applications such as video caching, traffic optimization, and virtual Broadband Network Gateway (vBNG). It is not cost effective to deploy a full Contrail controller cluster of nodes of control, configuration, analytics, database, and the like, in each distributed PoP on dedicated servers. Additionally, manually managing hundreds or thousands of clusters is not feasible operationally.

Remote Compute Features

Remote compute is implemented by means of a subcluster that manages compute nodes at remote sites to receive configurations and exchange routes.

The key concepts of Contrail remote compute include:

  • Remote compute employs a subcluster to manage remote compute nodes away from the primary data center.

  • The Contrail control cluster is deployed in large centralized data centers, where it can remotely manage compute nodes in small distributed small data centers.

  • A lightweight version of the controller is created, limited to the control node, and the config node, analytics, and analytics database are shared across several control nodes.

  • Many lightweight controllers are co-located on a small number of servers to optimize efficiency and cost.

  • The control nodes peer with the remote compute nodes by means of XMPP and peer with local gateways by means of MP-eBGP.

Remote Compute Operations

A subcluster object is created for each remote site, with a list of links to local compute nodes that are represented as vrouter objects, and a list of links to local control nodes that are represented as BGP router objects, with an ASN as property.

The subclusters are identified in the provision script. The vrouter and bgp-router provision scripts take each subcluster as an optional argument to link or delink with the subcluster object.

It is recommended to spawn the control nodes of the remote cluster in the primary cluster, and they are IGBP-meshed among themselves within that subcluster. The control nodes BGP-peer with their respective SDN gateway, over which route exchange occurs with the primary control nodes.

Compute nodes in the remote site are provisioned to connect to their respective control nodes to receive configuration and exchange routes. Data communication among workloads between these clusters occurs through the provider backbone and their respective SDN gateways. The compute nodes and the control nodes push analytics data to analytics nodes hosted on the primary cluster.

Subcluster Properties

The Contrail Web UI shows a list of subcluster objects, each with a list of associated vrouters and BGP routers that are local in that remote site and the ASN property.

General properties of subclusters include:

  • A subcluster control node never directly peers with another subcluster control node or with primary control nodes.

  • A subcluster control node has to be created, and is referred to, in virtual-router and bgp-router objects.

  • A subcluster object and the control nodes under it should have the same ASN.

  • The ASN cannot be modified in a subcluster object.


Multinode service chaining across subclusters is not supported.

Provisioning a Remote Compute Cluster

Contrail Networking enables you to provision remote compute using an instances.yaml file. Installing Contrail Cluster using Contrail Command and instances.yml shows a bare minimum configuration. The YAML file described in this section builds upon that minimum configuration and uses Figure 1 as an example data center network topology.

Figure 1: Example Multi-Cluster Topology
Example Multi-Cluster Topology

In this topology, there is one main data center (pop0) and two remote data centers (pop1 and pop2.) pop0 contains two subclusters: one for pop1, and the other for pop2. Each subcluster has two control nodes. The control nodes within a subcluster, for example and, communicate with each other through iBGP.

Communication between the control nodes within a subcluster and the remote data center is through the SDN Gateway; there is no direct connection. For example, the remote compute in pop1 (IP address communicates with the control nodes (IP addresses and in subcluster 1 through the SDN Gateway.

To configure remote compute in the YAML file:

  1. First, create the remote locations or subclusters. In this example, we create data centers 2 and 3 (with the names pop1 and pop2, respectively), and define unique ASN numbers for each. Subcluster names must also be unique.
  2. Create the control nodes for pop1 and pop2 and assign an IP address and role. These IP addresses are the local IP address. In this example, there are two control nodes for each sub-cluster.
  3. Now, create the remote compute nodes for pop1 and pop2 and assign an IP address and role. In this example, there are two remote compute nodes for each data center. The 10.60.0.x addresses are the management IP addresses for the control service.

The entire YAML file is contained below.

Example instance.yaml with sub-cluster configuration


Replace <contrail_version> with the correct contrail_container_tag value for your Contrail Networking release. The respective contrail_container_tag values are listed in README Access to Contrail Registry  .