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Configuring EVPN and VXLAN

 

Contrail supports Ethernet VPNs (EVPN) and Virtual Extensible Local Area Networks (VXLAN).

EVPN is a flexible solution that uses Layer 2 overlays to interconnect multiple edges (virtual machines) within a data center. Traditionally, the data center is built as a flat Layer 2 network with issues such as flooding, limitations in redundancy and provisioning, and high volumes of MAC address learning, which cause churn during node failures. EVPNs are designed to address these issues without disturbing flat MAC connectivity.

In EVPNs, MAC address learning is driven by the control plane, rather than by the data plane, which helps control learned MAC addresses across virtual forwarders, thus avoiding flooding. The forwarders advertise locally learned MAC addresses to the controllers. The controllers use MP-BGP to communicate with peers. The peering of controllers using BGP for EVPN results in better and faster convergence.

With EVPN, MAC learning is confined to the virtual networks to which the virtual machine belongs, thus isolating traffic between multiple virtual networks. In this manner, virtual networks can share the same MAC addresses without any traffic crossover.

Unicast in EVPNs

Unicast forwarding is based on MAC addresses where traffic can terminate on a local endpoint or is encapsulated to reach the remote endpoint. Encapsulation can be MPLS/UDP, MPLS/GRE, or VXLAN.

BUM Traffic in EVPN

Multicast and broadcast traffic is flooded in a virtual network. The replication tree is built by the control plane, based on the advertisements of end nodes (virtual machines) sent by forwarders. Each virtual network has one distribution tree, a method that avoids maintaining multicast states at fabric nodes, so the nodes are unaffected by multicast. The replication happens at the edge forwarders. Per-group subscription is not provided. Broadcast, unknown unicast, and multicast (BUM) traffic is handled the same way, and gets flooded in the virtual network to which the virtual machine belongs.

VXLAN

VXLAN is an overlay technology that encapsulates MAC frames into a UDP header at Layer 2. Communication is established between two virtual tunnel endpoints (VTEPs). VTEPs encapsulate the virtual machine traffic into a VXLAN header, as well as strip off the encapsulation. Virtual machines can only communicate with each other when they belong to the same VXLAN segment. A 24-bit virtual network identifier (VNID) uniquely identifies the VXLAN segment. This enables having the same MAC frames across multiple VXLAN segments without traffic crossover. Multicast in VXLAN is implemented as Layer 3 multicast, in which endpoints subscribe to groups.

Design Details of EVPN and VXLAN

In Contrail Release 1.03 and later, EVPN is enabled by default. The supported forwarding modes include:

  • Fallback bridging—IPv4 traffic lookup is performed using the IP FIB. All non-IPv4 traffic is directed to a MAC FIB.

  • Layer 2-only— All traffic is forwarded using a MAC FIB lookup.

You can configure the forwarding mode individually on each virtual network.

EVPN is used to share MAC addresses across different control planes in both forwarding models. The result of a MAC address lookup is a next hop, which, similar to IP forwarding, points to a local virtual machine or a tunnel to reach the virtual machine on a remote server. The tunnel encapsulation methods supported for EVPN are MPLSoGRE, MPLSoUDP, and VXLAN. The encapsulation method selected is based on a user-configured priority.

In VXLAN, the VNID is assigned uniquely for every virtual network carried in the VXLAN header. The VNID uniquely identifies a virtual network. When the VXLAN header is received from the fabric at a remote server, the VNID lookup provides the VRF of the virtual machine. This VRF is used for the MAC lookup from the inner header, which then provides the destination virtual machine.

Non-IP multicast traffic uses the same multicast tree as for IP multicast (255.255.255.255). The multicast is matched against the all-broadcast prefix in the bridging table (FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF). VXLAN is not supported for IP/non-IP multicast traffic.

The following table summarizes the traffic and encapsulation types supported for EVPN.

 

Encapsulation

MPLS-GRE

MPLS-UDP

VXLAN

Traffic Type

IP unicast

Yes

Yes

No

IP-BUM

Yes

Yes

No

non IP unicast

Yes

Yes

Yes

non IP-BUM

Yes

Yes

No

Configuring the VXLAN Identifier Mode

You can configure the global VXLAN identifier mode to select an auto-generated VNID or a user-generated VXLAN ID, either through the Contrail Web UI or by modifying a python file.

To configure the global VXLAN identifier mode:

  1. From the Contrail Web UI, select Configure > Infrastucture > Global Config.

    The Global Config options and values are displayed in the Global Config window.

    Figure 1: Global Config Window for VXLAN ID
    Global Config Window for VXLAN ID
  2. Click the edit icon .

    The Edit Global Config window is displayed as shown in Figure 2.

    Figure 2: Edit Global Config Window for VXLAN Identifier Mode
    Edit Global Config Window
for VXLAN Identifier Mode
  3. Select one of the following:

    • Auto Configured— The VXLAN identifier is automatically assigned for the virtual network.

    • User Configured– You must provide the VXLAN identifier for the virtual network.

    Note

    When User Configured is selected, if you do not provide an identifier, then VXLAN encapsulation is not used and the mode falls back to MPLS.

Alternatively, you can set the VXLAN identifier mode by using Python to modify the /opt/contrail/utils/encap.py file as follows:

python encap.py <add | update | delete > <username > < password > < tenant_name > < config_node_ip >

Configuring Forwarding

In Contrail, the default forwarding mode is enabled for fallback bridging (IP FIB and MAC FIB). The mode can be changed, either through the Contrail Web UI or by using python provisioning commands.

To change the forwarding mode:

  1. From the Contrail Web UI, select Configure > Networking > Networks.
  2. Select the virtual network that you want to change the forwarding mode for.
  3. Click the gear icon and select Edit.

    The Edit Network window is displayed as shown in Figure 3.

    Figure 3: Edit Network Window
    Edit Network Window

    Under the Advanced Options select the forwarding mode from the following choices:

    • Select Default to enable the default forwarding mode.

    • Select L2 and L3 to enable IP and MAC FIB (fallback bridging).

    • Select L2 Only to enable only MAC FIB.

    • Select L3 Only to enable only IP.

Note

The full list of forwarding modes are only displayed if you change entries in the /usr/src/contrail/contrail-web-core/config/config.global.js file. For example:

  1. To make the L2 selection available locate the following:
  2. Change the entry to the following:
  3. To make the other selections available, modify the corresponding entries.
  4. Save the file and quit the editor.
  5. Restart the Contrail Web user interface process (webui).

Alternatively, you can use the following python provisioning command to change the forwarding mode:

python provisioning_forwarding_mode --project_fq_name 'defaultdomain: admin' --vn_name vn1 --forwarding_mode < l2_l3| l2 >

Options:

l2_l3 = Enable IP FIB and MAC FIB (fallback bridging)

l2 = Enable MAC FIB only (Layer 2 only)

Configuring the VXLAN Identifier

The VXLAN identifier can be set only if the VXLAN network identifier mode has been set to User Configured. You can then set the VXLAN ID by either using the Contrail Web UI or by using Python commands.

To configure the global VXLAN identifier:

  1. From the Contrail Web UI, select Configure > Networking > Networks.
  2. Select the virtual network that you want to change the forwarding mode for.
  3. Click the gear icon and select Edit.

    The Edit Network window is displayed. Select the Advanced Options as shown in Figure 4.

    Figure 4: Edit Network Window for VXLAN Identifier
    Edit Network Window for
VXLAN Identifier
  4. Type the VXLAN identifier.
  5. Click Save.

Alternatively, you can use the following Python provisioning command to configure the VXLAN identifier:

python provisioning_forwarding_mode --project_fq_name 'defaultdomain: admin' --vn_name vn1 --forwarding_mode < vxlan_id >

Configuring Encapsulation Methods

The default encapsulation mode for EVPN is MPLS over UDP. All packets on the fabric are encapsulated with the label allocated for the virtual machine interface. The label encoding and decoding is the same as for IP forwarding. Additional encapsulation methods supported for EVPN include MPLS over GRE and VXLAN. MPLS over UDP is different from MPLS over GRE only in the method of tunnel header encapsulation.

VXLAN has its own header and uses a VNID label to carry the traffic over the fabric. A VNID is assigned with every virtual network and is shared by all virtual machines in the virtual network. The VNID is mapped to the VRF of the virtual network to which it belongs.

The priority order in which to apply encapsulation methods is determined by the sequence of methods set either from the Contrail Web UI or in the encap.py file.

To configure the global VXLAN identifier mode:

  • From the Contrail Web UI, select Configure > Infrastucture > Global Config.

  • The Global Config options are displayed.

  • Click the edit icon .

The Edit Global Config window is displayed as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Edit Global Config Window for Encapsulation Priority Order
Edit Global Config
Window for Encapsulation Priority Order

Under Encapsulation Priority Order select one of the following:

  • MPLS over UDP

  • MPLS over GRE

  • VxLAN

Click the + plus symbol to the right of the first priority to add a second priority or third priority.

Use the following procedure to change the default encapsulation method to VXLAN by editing the encap.py file.

Note

VXLAN is only supported for EVPN unicast. It is not supported for IP traffic or multicast traffic. VXLAN priority and presence in the encap.py file or configured in the Web UI is ignored for traffic not supported by VXLAN.

To set the priority of encapsulation methods to VXLAN:

  1. Modify the encap.py file found in the /opt/contrail/utils/ directory.

    The default encapsulation line is:

    encap_obj=EncapsulationPrioritiesType(encapsulation=['MPLSoUDP','M PLSoGRE'])

    Modify the line to:

    encap_obj=EncapsulationPrioritiesType(encapsulation=['VXLAN', 'MPLSoUDP','MPLSoGRE'])

  2. After the status is modified, execute the following script:

    python encap_set.py <add|update|delete> <username> <password> <tenant_name> <config_node_ip>

    The configuration is applied globally for all virtual networks.