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How to Configure Flexible Algorithms in IS-IS for Segment Routing Traffic Engineering

SUMMARY A flexible algorithm allows IGPs alone to compute constraint based paths over the network thereby providing simple traffic engineering without using a network controller. This is a light weight solution for networks that have not implemented a controller with full fledged segment routing but still want to reap the benefits of segment routing in their network.

What's Next

For more information on configuring flexible algorithms, see the IS-IS User Guide

Understanding IS-IS Flexible Algorithm for Segment Routing

Starting in Junos OS Release 19.4R1, you can thin slice a network by defining flexible algorithms that compute paths using different parameters and link constraints based on your requirements. For example, you can define a flexible algorithm that computes a path to minimize IGP metric and define another flexible algorithm to compute a path based on traffic engineering metric to divide the network into separate planes. This feature allows networks without a controller to configure traffic engineering using segment routing without actually implementing a network controller. You can use the prefix SIDs to steer packets along the constraint-based paths. You can configure the prefix SIDs for flexible algorithm through policy configurations.

IGP protocols use a link metric to calculate a best path. However, the best IGP path might not always be the best path for certain types of traffic. Therefore, the IGP computed best path based on the shortest IGP metric is often replaced with traffic engineered path due to the traffic requirements that are not reflected by the IGP metric. Typically RSVP-TE or SR TE is used for computing the path based on additional metrics and constraints to overcome this limitation. Junos installs such paths in the forwarding tables in addition to or as a replacement for the original path computed by the IGPs.

Benefits of Configuring Flexible Algorithm

  • A lightweight version of segment routing traffic engineering that can be used in the core of the network.

  • Allows you to configure traffic engineering using segment routing even without installing a network controller.

  • Utilize equal-cost multipath (ECMP) and TI-LFA per-slice without configuring BGP-LS or static path.

  • Compute TI-LFA backup path using the same flexible algorithm definition and constraints computation.

  • Take advantage of segment routing traffic engineering using only IS-IS without configuring RSVP or LDP.

  • Ability to provision constrained primary path based on a single label.

What is Flexible Algorithm Definition (FAD)?

A flexible algorithm allows IGP to calculate additional best paths based on specified constraints thereby providing simple traffic engineering without using a network controller. This is a lightweight solution for networks that have not implemented a controller with full fledged segment routing but still want to reap the benefits of segment routing in their network. Every operator can define separate constraints or colors depending on their requirements.

To define a flexible algorithm, include flex-algorithm id statement at the [edit routing-options] hierarchy level. The flexible algorithm definition (FAD) is assigned with an identifier ranging from 128 through 255. This flexible algorithm can be defined on one or more routers in a network. A flexible algorithm computes a best path based on the following parameters:

  • Calculation type—SPF or strict SPF are the two available calculation type options. You can specify one of these calculation types in your FAD. Select the SPF calculation type if you want to influence the SPF computation on your device based on a certain local policy such as traffic engineering shortcuts. If you select strict SPF then the local policy cannot influence the SPF path selection.

  • Metric type- IGP metric or TE metric are the available metric type options. You can specify one of these metric types in your FAD depending on your network requirement. If you do not want to use the IGP metric for a specific link you can configure a TE metric that IS-IS can use for calculating the route.

  • Priority- You can assign a priority to your FADs as per your requirement and IS-IS prioritizes a particular FAD advertisement over another FAD based on your assigned priority.

    Note:

    For FADs with link-constraints to work, all relevant links should advertise the admin-colors in IS-IS, which means either RSVP is enabled on the interfaces or set protocols isis traffic-engineering advertise always is configured.

  • Set of Link constraints- You can configure admin-groups for many protocols at the [edit protocols mpls admin-groups] hierarchy level to color an individual link. These admin-groups can then be defined as include any, include-all or exclude at the [edit routing-options flex-algorithm definition admin-groups] hierarchy level.

We recommend configuring flexible algorithm on only a few routers to provide redundancy and to avoid conflicts. Flexible algorithm definition is advertised in IGP as FAD sub-TLVs. In very large networks, we do not recommend configuring more than 8 flexible algorithm definitions as each flexible algorithm will compute its own path and might cause performance issues beyond that.

The default FAD has the following parameters:

  • calculation type: spf

  • metric type: igp-metric

  • priority: 0

  • Link constraints: none

Note:

Modifying the flexible algorithm definition in a live network or on the fly could cause traffic disruptions until all the nodes converge on the new paths.

Participation in a Flexible Algorithm

You can configure specific routers to participate in a particular flexible algorithm as per your requirement. Paths computed based on a flexible algorithm definition is used by various applications each potentially using its own specific data plane for forwarding the data over such paths. The participating device must explicitly advertise its participation in a particular flexible algorithm to every application in the segment routing flexible algorithm sub TLV for IS-IS. You can configure a node to participate in a certain flexible algorithm provided it can support the constraints specified in that FAD.

To configure participation in a flexible algorithm include the flex-algorithm statement at the [edit protocols isis source-packet- routing] hierarchy level. The same device can advertise a FAD and also participate in a flexible algorithm.

Network Topology Configured with Flexible Algorithm Definitions

Figure 1 shows the sample topology, there are 8 routers R0, R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, and R7. Four flexible algorithms, 128, 129, 130, and 135 are defined and configured with admin-groups as listed in the following table:

Flex Algorithm Definition (FAD)

Color

128

Include any Red

129

Include any Green

130

Include any Green and Blue

135

Exclude Red

Figure 1: Flexible Algorithm TopologyFlexible Algorithm Topology

Figure 2 shows how FAD 128 routes traffic on any interface that is configured with admin group red.

Figure 2: Traffic Flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 128Traffic Flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 128

Figure 3 shows how FAD 129 routes traffic on any interface that is configured with admin group green.

Figure 3: Traffic Flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 129Traffic Flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 129

Figure 4 shows how FAD 130 routes traffic on any interface that is configured with admin group green and blue.

Figure 4: Traffic flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 130Traffic flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 130

Figure 5 shows how FAD 135 routes traffic on any interface that is not configured with admin group red.

Figure 5: Traffic Flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 135Traffic Flow for Flexible Algorithm Definition 135

Flexible Algorithm RIBs

For every flexible algorithm that a router participates in the corresponding flexible algorithm routes are installed in the corresponding flexible algorithm RIB groups also known as routing tables. By default, labeled IS-IS flexible algorithm routes are installed in the inet.color, inet(6)color.0 and mpls.0 RIBs.

BGP Community and Flexible Algorithms

A flexible algorithm can have an associated BGP color community to resolve routes of other services such as VPN service. By default, the associated BGP color community is the same as the flexible algorithm ID. The flexible algorithm ingress routes that are installed in the inet(6)color.0 tables will have this color community in the route. However, you can configure a different BGP color community at the [edit routing-options flex-algorithm id color desired color community value] hierarchy level.

Note:

Changing the BGP color community for a flexible algorithm might result in traffic disruption. If you modify a BGP color community for a flexible algorithm then all routes pertaining to that flexible algorithm are removed from the RIB and added again with new colors.

Supported and Unsupported Features

Junos OS supports flexible algorithms in the following scenarios:

  • Support for configuring and advertising prefix SIDs for different flexible algorithms.

  • Partially supports Internet Draft draft-ietf-lsr-flex-algo-05.txt IGP Flexible Algorithm

Junos OS does not support the following features in conjunction with flexible algorithms:

  • Link delay metric is not supported

  • Flexible algorithm is applicable only for default unicast topology, IS-IS multi-topology is not supported.

  • IS-IS shortcuts and other IS-IS traffic engineering configuration options are not applicable for flexible algorithm computation

  • Inter-level (IS_IS) leaking of flexible algorithm prefix SIDs is not supported.

  • Prefix and SID conflict resolution is not supported.

  • Remote loop free alternate functionality is not supported because TI-LFA is the preferred FRR computation

  • Extended Admin-Groups (EAG) are not supported because they are not supported in IS-IS.

Configuring Flexible Algorithm for Segment Routing Traffic Engineering

Before you begin configuring the flexible algorithm for IS-IS, make sure you:

  1. Configure the device interfaces to enable IP transport.

  2. Configure IS-IS protocol to enable dynamic routing protocol to exchange routing information.

  3. Configure BGP protocol.

  4. Configure segment routing.

To configure flexible algorithm for IS-IS:

  1. Define flexible algorithm on routers that you have identified in your network. Assign a name for the flexible algorithm definition (FAD) ranging from 128 through 255.
    Note:

    We recommend configuring flexible algorithm on only a few routers to provide redundancy and to avoid conflicts.

    Specify the parameters of the definition. IS-IS calculates the path based on these specified parameters of the FAD.

    1. Map a BGP color community to the defined FAD. By default each flexible algorithm is associated with a value equal to the flex algorithm.

      VPN can be made to resolve paths over the configured BGP color community.

      Note:

      Changing the BGP color community for a flexible algorithm might result in traffic disruption. If you modify a BGP color community for a flexible algorithm then all routes pertaining to that flexible algorithm are removed from the RIB and added again with new colors.

    2. Specify the calculation type based on which the IS-IS protocol calculates the path.
    3. Specify the metric type based on which IS-IS calculates the path.
    4. Assign a priority level to the advertisement of the FAD based on your requirement. Specify a priority ranging from 0 through 255.
      Note:

      Modifying the flexible algorithm definition could cause traffic disruptions until all the nodes converge on the new paths.

    5. If you have enabled RSVP traffic engineering, you can configure admin-groups for many protocols to color an individual link.
    6. Define the admin groups as per your requirement.
      Note:

      For FADs with link-constraints to work, all relevant links should advertise the admin-colors in IS-IS. You must either enable RSVP on the interfaces or if you have not configured RSVP for traffic engineering, make sure you configure set traffic-engineering advertise always at the [edit protocols isis] hierarchy level.

  2. Identify the participating routers and configure participation on those routers. The same device can advertise a FAD and also participate in a flexible algorithm.
  3. Advertise prefix segments through policy configuration.
  4. To verify if your flexible algorithm configuration is working correctly use the show isis flex-algorithm command.