[bess] Comments on draft-sajassi-bess-evpn-mvpn-seamless-interop

Eric C Rosen <erosen@juniper.net> Thu, 09 November 2017 17:42 UTC

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From: Eric C Rosen <erosen@juniper.net>
To: Bess WG <bess@ietf.org>
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Subject: [bess] Comments on draft-sajassi-bess-evpn-mvpn-seamless-interop
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I have a number of comments on 
draft-sajassi-bess-evpn-mvpn-seamless-interop.

1. It seems that the proposal does not do correct ethernet emulation.  
Intra-subnet multicast only sometimes preserves MAC SA and IP TTL, 
sometimes not, depending upon the topology.  TTL handling for 
inter-subnet multicast seems inconsistent as well, depending upon the 
topology.  The proposal exposes the operator's internal network 
structure to the user, and will cause "LAN-only" applications to break.  
These concerns are acknowledged, then quickly dismissed based on wishful 
thinking.  (In my experience, wishful thinking doesn't work out very 
well in routing.)

2. In order to do inter-subnet multicast in EVPN, the proposal requires 
L3VPN/MVPN configuration on ALL the EVPN PEs.  This is required even 
when there is no need for MVPN/EVPN interworking. This is portrayed as a 
"low provisioning" solution!

3. The draft claims that the exact same control plane should be used for 
EVPN and MVPN, despite the fact that MVPN's control plane is unaware of 
certain information that is very important in EVPN (e.g., EVIs, 
TagIDs).  (This is largely responsible for point 1 above.) This is 
claimed to be a way of providing a "uniform solution".  As we examine 
the problems that arise, perhaps this will be seen as more a case of 
"pounding square pegs into round holes".  When interworking between two 
domains, generally one gets a more flexible and robust scheme by 
maintaining clean interfaces and having well-defined points of 
attachment, not by entangling the internal protocols of one domain with 
the internal protocols of the other.

4. The draft proposes to use the same tunnels for MVPN and EVPN, i.e., 
to have tunnels that traverse both the MVPN and the EVPN domains.  
Various "requirements" are stated that seem to require this solution.  
Somewhere along the line it was realized that this requirement cannot be 
met if MVPN and EVPN do not use the same tunnel types.  So for this very 
common scenario, a completely different solution is proposed, that (a) 
tries to keep the EVPN control plane out of the MVPN domain, and vice 
versa, and (b) uses different tunnels in the two domains.  Perhaps the 
"requirements" that suggest using a single cross-domain tunnel are not 
really requirements!  And why would we want different solutions for 
different deployment scenarios?  Yes, the solution needs to handle all 
the use cases, but we don't want to look at the use cases one at a time 
and design a different solution for each one.

While the authors have realized that one cannot have cross-domain 
tunnels when EVPN uses VxLAN and MVPN uses MPLS, they do not seem to 
have acknowledged the multitude of other scenarios in which cross-domain 
tunnels cannot be used.  For instance, MVPN may be using mLDP, while 
EVPN is using IR.  Or MVPN may be using RSVP-TE P2MP while EVPN is using 
AR.  Etc., etc.  I suspect that "different tunnel types" will be the 
common case, especially when trying to interwork existing MVPN and EVPN 
deployments.

The inability to use EVPN-specific tunnels also causes a number of 
specific problems when attempting to interwork with MVPN; these will be 
examined below.


5. A number of the draft's stated "requirements" seem to be entirely bogus.

a. In some cases, the "requirements" for optimality in one or another 
respect (e.g., routing, replication) are really only considerations that 
an operator should be able to trade off against other considerations.  
The real requirement is to be able to create a deployment scenario in 
which such optimality is achievable.  Other deployment scenarios, that 
optimize for other considerations, should not be prohibited.

b. Many of the "requirements" are applied very selectively, e.g., the 
"requirement" for MVPN and EVPN to use the same set of multicast 
tunnels, and the requirement for there to be no "gateways".


6. The gateway-based proposal for interworking MVPN and EVPN when they 
use different tunnel types is severely underspecified.

One possible approach to this would be to have a single MVPN domain that 
includes the EVPN PEs, and to use MVPN tunnel segmentation at the 
boundary. While that is a complicated solution, at least it is known to 
work. However, that does not seem to be what is being proposed.

Another approach would be to set up two independent MVPN domains and 
carefully assign RTs to ensure that routes are not leaked from one 
domain to another.  One would also have to ensure that the boundary 
points send the proper set of routes into the "other" domain.  (This 
includes the unicast routes as well as the multicast routes.)  And one 
would have to include a whole bunch of applicability restrictions, such 
as "don't use the same RR to hold routes of both domains".  I think 
that's what's being proposed, but there isn't enough discussion of RT 
and RD management to be sure, and there isn't much discussion of what 
information the boundary points send into each domain.

7. The proposal requires that EVPN export a host route to MVPN for each 
EVPN-attached multicast source.  It's a good thing that there is no 
requirement like "do not burden existing MVPN deployments with a whole 
bunch of additional host routes".  Wait a minute, maybe there is such a 
requirement.

In fact, whether the host routes are necessary to achieve optimal 
routing depends on the topology.  And this is a case where an operator 
might well want to sacrifice some routing optimality to reduce the 
routing burden on the MVPN nodes.

8. The proposal simply does not work when MVPN receivers are interested 
in multicast flows from EVPN sources that are attached to all-active 
multi-homed ethernet segments.

This issue is worth examining in detail.

Suppose EVPN-PE1 and EVPN-PE2 are both attached to the same ethernet 
segment, using all-active multi-homing.  Suppose there is a multicast 
source S on that segment.  In such a case, (S,G1) traffic might arrive 
at PE1, while (S,G2) traffic might arrive at PE2. (Which PE gets a 
particular flow from S depends on LAG hashing algorithms over which we 
have no control.)  Now suppose that an MVPN PE, say PE3, needs to 
receive (S,G1) traffic.

MVPN requires PE3 to select the "Upstream PE" for the (S,G1) traffic.  
PE3 does this by looking at the VRF Route Import EC on its best route to S.

In order to receive the (S,G1) traffic, PE3 must select PE1, rather than 
PE2, as the Upstream PE.  However, there is absolutely nothing in the 
MVPN specs or in this document to ensure that PE3 selects PE1 rather 
than PE2. Generally, an MVPN node will select PE2 if it is closer to PE2.

Perhaps the authors are under the impression that MVPN Source Active A-D 
routes can be used to solve this problem.  That is not so. Vanilla MVPN 
nodes do not generally base their selection of the Upstream PE for (S,G) 
on the SA A-D routes.

Let me explain a little about the way SA A-D routes are used.  There are 
two different MVPN "modes" that affect the use of SA A-D routes.

In one mode (sometimes known as 'rpt-spt' mode, and described in Section 
13 of RFC 6514), an SA A-D route for (S,G) is originated by a PE when 
that PE receives a C-multicast route for (S,G).

In another mode (sometimes known as 'spt-only' mode, and described in 
Section 14 of RFC 6514), an SA A-D route for (S,G) is originated by a PE 
when that PE receives a PIM Register message for (S,G), or when that PE 
receives an MSDP SA message for (S,G).  Note that in this mode, the PE 
originating the SA A-D route is not necessarily the best (or even a 
good) ingress PE for the flow.

- In both modes, if an egress PE receives a PIM Join (S,G) from a CE, 
its choice of ingress PE is never impacted by the SA A-D routes.  Note 
that CEs send PIM Join(S,G) messages for both ASM and SSM groups.

- In spt-only mode, the SA A-D routes are used to discover sources, but 
not to select the ingress PE. (The selected ingress PE is not 
necessarily the one originating the SA A-D route.)

- The choice of ingress PE is impacted by the SA A-D routes for (S,G) 
only when (a) rpt-spt mode is being used, (b) the egress PE has received 
a PIM Join (*,G) from a CE, and (c) the egress PE has not received a PIM 
Join (S,G) from a CE.  This is typically just a transient state, as the 
CE will generally emit a PIM Join(S,G) as soon as it sees any (S,G) traffic.

Bottom line: if a source is on an EVPN all-active multi-homed segment, 
MVPN receivers have no way to select the proper ingress PE.  If the 
segment is n-way-homed, the MVPN PEs have just a 1/n chance of getting 
the traffic.

Of course, this problem could be eliminated if EVPN and MVPN didn't have 
to use the same tunnels.  In that case, if an MVPN node selects the 
wrong ingress PE, the selected PE could obtain the traffic from the real 
ingress PE, and then relay it to the MVPN node.  This might result in 
sub-optimal routing, but that's better than a black hole!

Perhaps the gateway-based solution needs to be used whenever there is 
all-active multi-homing? ;-)

One could imagine modifying the MVPN installed based so that the SA A-D 
routes play more of a role in selecting the Upstream PE. However, I 
believe the requirement is to allow MVPN/EVPN interworking without 
modifying the existing MVPN nodes.

9. In the case where all the multicast sources for a given group are 
attached via EVPN, there is a very simple procedure for providing 
Join(*,G) functionality.  This procedure makes use of EVPN-specific 
knowledge.  Since the MVPN protocols cannot take advantage of the 
EVPN-specific knowledge, a more complicated procedure is needed when 
only MVPN protocols are used.  This is explained further in the in-line 
comments.

10. Most of the problems above are the result of (a) trying to use the 
exact same control plane for both MVPN and EVPN, and (b) treating the 
case where both domains use the same tunnel type as the design center.  
It would be better to keep clean interfaces between EVPN and MVPN, with 
clearly defined points of attachment.  The proposal in 
draft-lin-bess-evpn-irb-mcast does this, and thus does not run into the 
above problems.  That proposal also shows how the "optimal routing" 
requirements can be met, and how they can be traded off against other 
considerations. (In fairness, it must be acknowledged that both 
proposals are still works in progress.  It's also worth noting that the 
two proposals have a lot in common.)

A number of additional comments can be found in-line in the attachment.  
(I realize that some of them are repetitive, sorry.) Look for lines 
beginning "****".  The above comments are also repeated at the front of 
the attachment.