Inter-Domain Routing P. Lapukhov
Internet-Draft Facebook
Intended status: Standards Track E. Aries, Ed.
Expires: August 6, 2016 P. Marques
Juniper Networks
E. Nkposong Inc
February 3, 2016

Use of BGP for Opaque Signaling


Border Gateway Protocol with multi-protocol extensions (MP-BGP) enables the use of the protocol for dissemination of virtually any information. This document proposes a new Address Family/Subsequent Address Family along with new optional transitive attribute to be used for distribution of opaque data. This functionality is intended to be used by applications other than BGP for exchange of their own data on top of BGP mesh. The structure of such data MAY to be interpreted by the regular BGP speakers, rather the goal is to use BGP purely as a convenient and scalable communication system.

Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on August 6, 2016.

Copyright Notice

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Implementation of Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 [RFC4760] gives the ability to pass arbitrary data in BGP protocol messages. This capability has been leveraged by many for dissemination of non-routing related information over BGP (e.g. "Dissemination of Flow Specification Rules" [RFC5575] as well as "North-Bound Distribution of Link-State and TE Information using BGP" [I-D.ietf-idr-ls-distribution]). However, there has been no channel defined explicitly to disseminate data with arbitrary payload. The intended use case is for applications other than BGP to leverage the protocol machinery for distribution (broadcasting) of their own state in the network domain. Publishers and consumers will use BGP UPDATE messages to submit and receive opaque data. It is up to the BGP implementation to provide a custom API for message producers or consumers if needed.

One application of this extension could be auto-discovery of various services in the data-center network that uses BGP as the routing protocol of choice ([I-D.ietf-rtgwg-bgp-routing-large-dc]).

Another application is building and testing new routing protocols or BGP extensions within existing BGP implementation. The new protocol/extension may influence routing either by directly communicating to the RIB/FIB of the router it runs on, or by overriding BGP paths via BGP route injection. An example of such BGP extension could be [WISER]

2. BGP Opaque Data AFI

This document introduces a new AFI known as a "BGP Opaque Data AFI" with the actual value to be assigned by IANA. The purpose of this AFI is to exchange opaque information within a BGP network.

3. BGP Key-Value SAFI

This document introduces a new SAFI known as "BGP Key-Value SAFI" with the actual value to be assigned by IANA. The purpose of this SAFI is exchange of opaque information structured as a Key-Value binding.

4. Capability Advertisement

A BGP speaker that wishes to exchange Opaque Data MUST use the Multiprotocol Extensions Capability Code, as defined in [RFC4760], to advertise the corresponding AFI/SAFI pair.

5. Disseminating Key-Value bindings

This document proposes to implement a distributed, eventually consistent Key-Value store on top of existing BGP protocol mechanics. The "Key" portion is to be encoded as the NLRI part of MP_REACH_NLRI attribute and "Value" encoded using a new optional transitive attribute.

Multiple publishers can advertise the same key (NLRI) bound to different values. It is also possible for the advertised binding to have the same Key-Value pairs but differ in some other BGP attributes. In that case, BGP would follow the best-path selection logic to prevent duplicate information in the network. A consumer will receive the value created by the publisher "closest" in terms of BGP best-path selection logic, based on the policies that exist in the routing domain. This document does not propose any method of achieving global consensus for all published values for a given key.

5.1. Publishing a Key-Value binding

The encoding scheme proposed below follows the semantics of a Key-Value bindings. The "Key" is stored in the NLRI section of the MP_REACH_NLRI attribute, as shown on Figure 1.

| Address Family Identifier (2 octets)                    |
| Subsequent Address Family Identifier (1 octet)          |
| Length of Next Hop Address (1 octet), must be zero      |
| Reserved (1 octet), must be zero                        |
| Opaque Key Length (1 octet)                             |
| Opaque Key Data (variable)                              |

Figure 1: MP_REACH_NLRI Layout

The "Value" portion of a published binding is to be encoded in a new optional transitive attribute as shown on Figure 2:

0                   1                   2                   3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
|     Type      |0 0 0 0| Opaque Value Length   |               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+               |
~                                                               ~
|                   Opaque Value Data (variable)                |

Figure 2: OPAQUE_VALUE attribute layout

  • Type: Identifies the new OPAQUE_VALUE attribute, with the value to be allocated by IANA.
  • Opaque Value Length: Two octets encoding the total length of the attribute in octets, including the Type and Length fields. The length is encoded as an unsigned binary integer. The four most significant bits of this field MUST be set to zero, due to the limit imposed by maximum BGP message size. Note that the minimum length is 3, indicating that no Opaque Value Data field is present. Such binding, in presence of non-zero length key is still valid, as it informs the consumers that the key "exists".
  • Opaque Value Data: A field containing zero or more octets. This portion SHOULD NOT be interpreted by BGP implementations.

Even when the OPAQUE_VALUE optional transitive attribute is not present in BGP advertisement, the BGP implementation MUST still retain Opaque Key (NLRI) in its LocRIB and propagate it further as usual. This case is to be interpreted as an announcement of the key existence.

5.2. Removing a Key-Value binding

The removal procedure follows the regular MP-BGP route withdrawal, using the MP_UNREACH_NLRI attribute. This section defines the attribute structure for the new AFI/SAFI.

The message shown on Figure 3 instructs the receiving BGP speaker to delete the N bindings corresponding to Key 1, Key 2 ... Key N if the keys have been previously learned from the withdrawing speaker. If any of the Keys is not found in the LocRIB or has not been previously received from the withdrawing BGP peer, such key removal request MUST be ignored.

| Address Family Identifier (2 octets)                    |
| Subsequent Address Family Identifier (1 octet)          |
| Opaque Key 1 Length (1 octet)                           |
| Opaque Key 1 Data (variable)                            |
~                                                         ~
| Opaque Key N Length (1 octet)                           |
| Opaque Key N Data (variable)                            |

Figure 3: MP_UNREACH_NLRI attribute layout

5.3. Propagating multiple values for the same key

It is possible to propagate multiple values associated with the same key using the Add-Path extension defined in [I-D.ietf-idr-add-paths]. However, this document recommends that instead unique key values be used for this purpose. It is up to the consumers and publishers of the opaque data to settle on single unique value using some kind of consensum protocol.

6. Message filtering

Limiting the scope of opaque information flooding is an important operational concern. BGP already has the mechanisms needed to control this process, and these mechanisms are briefly reviewed below.

6.1. Automated filtering

One can leverage mechanics presented in [RFC4684] and use the route-target extended community attribute to identify "channels" where key-value bindings are published. The consumers would signal their interest in particular "channel" by advertising the corresponding router-target membership. The publications then need to contain the router-target extended community attribute to constrain information propagation.

6.2. Filtering via policy

Ad-doc message filtering could be implemented using BGP standard (see [RFC4271]) or extended community attributes (see [RFC4360]). The semantic of these attributes is to determined by the policy and publishers/consumers. Filtering could be done locally on receiving speaker, or on remote speaker, by using outbound route filtering feature defined in [RFC5291].

7. IANA Considerations

For the purpose of this work, IANA would be asked to allocate values for the new AFI and SAFI, as well as a value for the new optional transitive attribute.

8. Manageability Considerations


9. Security Considerations

This document does not introduce any changes in terms of BGP security.

10. Acknowledgements


11. References

11.1. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.
[RFC4271] Rekhter, Y., Li, T. and S. Hares, "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC 4271, DOI 10.17487/RFC4271, January 2006.

11.2. Informative References

[RFC4360] Sangli, S., Tappan, D. and Y. Rekhter, "BGP Extended Communities Attribute", RFC 4360, DOI 10.17487/RFC4360, February 2006.
[RFC4684] Marques, P., Bonica, R., Fang, L., Martini, L., Raszuk, R., Patel, K. and J. Guichard, "Constrained Route Distribution for Border Gateway Protocol/MultiProtocol Label Switching (BGP/MPLS) Internet Protocol (IP) Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)", RFC 4684, DOI 10.17487/RFC4684, November 2006.
[RFC4760] Bates, T., Chandra, R., Katz, D. and Y. Rekhter, "Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4", RFC 4760, DOI 10.17487/RFC4760, January 2007.
[RFC5291] Chen, E. and Y. Rekhter, "Outbound Route Filtering Capability for BGP-4", RFC 5291, DOI 10.17487/RFC5291, August 2008.
[RFC5575] Marques, P., Sheth, N., Raszuk, R., Greene, B., Mauch, J. and D. McPherson, "Dissemination of Flow Specification Rules", RFC 5575, DOI 10.17487/RFC5575, August 2009.
[I-D.ietf-idr-add-paths] Walton, D., Retana, A., Chen, E. and J. Scudder, "Advertisement of Multiple Paths in BGP", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-idr-add-paths-13, December 2015.
[I-D.ietf-idr-ls-distribution] Gredler, H., Medved, J., Previdi, S., Farrel, A. and S. Ray, "North-Bound Distribution of Link-State and TE Information using BGP", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-idr-ls-distribution-13, October 2015.
[I-D.ietf-rtgwg-bgp-routing-large-dc] Lapukhov, P., Premji, A. and J. Mitchell, "Use of BGP for routing in large-scale data centers", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-rtgwg-bgp-routing-large-dc-07, August 2015.
[WISER] Mahajan, R., Wetherall, D. and T. Anderson, "Mutually Controlled Routing with Independent ISPs", 2007.

Authors' Addresses

Petr Lapukhov Facebook 1 Hacker Way Menlo Park, CA 94025 US EMail:
Ebben Aries (editor) Juniper Networks 1133 Innovation Way Sunnyvale, CA 94089 US EMail:
Pedro Marques Juniper Networks 1194 N. Mathilda Ave Sunnyvale, CA 94089 US EMail:
Edet Nkposong Inc The Landmark @ One Market, ST 300 San Francisco, CA 94105 US EMail: