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Understanding BGP UPDATE IO Thread


BGP route processing usually has several pipeline stages such as receiving update, parsing update, creating route, resolving next-hop, applying a BGP peer group's export policy, forming per peer updates and sending updates to peers. BGP Update IO threads are responsible for the tail end of this BGP pipeline, involving generating per peer updates for individual BGP group(s) and sending them to the peer(s). One update thread might serve one or more BGP groups. BGP Update IO threads construct updates for groups in parallel and independent of other groups that are being serviced by other update threads. This might offer significant convergence improvement in a write-heavy workload, that involves advertising to many peers spread across many groups. BGP Update IO threads are also responsible for writing to and reading from the BGP peers’ TCP sockets which was previously provided by BGPIO threads (hence the suffix IO in BGP Update IO).

BGP Update IO threads can be configured independent of RIB sharding feature but are mandatory to use with RIB sharding, in order to achieve better prefix packing efficiency in outbound BGP update message. BGP sharding splits the RIB into several sub RIBs that are served by separate RPD threads. Hence, prefixes that could have gone into a single outbound update end up in different shards. To be able to construct BGP updates with prefixes with the same outgoing attribute that might belong to different RPD shard threads, all shard threads send compact advertisement information for prefixes to be advertised to an Update thread serving that BGP peer group. This allows the update thread, serving this BGP peer group, to pack prefixes with the same attributes, potentially belonging to different shards in the same outbound update message. This minimizes the number of updates to be advertised and thus helps improve convergence. Update IO thread manages local caches of peer, group, prefix, TSI and RIB containers.

BGP update thread is disabled by default. If you configure update-threading on a routing engine, RPD creates update threads. By default, the number of update threads created is the same as the number of CPU cores on the routing engine. Update threading is only supported on a 64 bit routing protocol process (rpd). Optionally, you can specify the number-of-threads you want to create by using set update-threading <number-of-threads> statement at the [edit system processes routing bgp] hierarchy level. The range is currently 1 through 128.

Update IO standalone mode

In certain cases, it is beneficial to run BGP Update IO threads independent of shards. We recommend this mode for write heavy use cases and especially the cases with address families that are not sharded.