Not All Virtual Route Reflectors Are Created Equal

Next Generation Communications Blog

Not All Virtual Route Reflectors Are Created Equal

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Border gateway protocol (BGP) route reflectors have played an important role for decades, since they help remove the need for a full internal BGP mesh within an autonomous system.

Currently, most route reflectors run either on a router that is dedicated to route reflection, or on routers that also perform other IP routing and service functions. Both scenarios have downsides.

Dedicated BGP route reflectors are a waste because route reflection functions require minimal data plane resources. Routers that juggle route reflection with other duties, on the other hand, may not have sufficient resources to support scalable route reflection.

Network virtualization offers a solution. A virtual route reflector, or “vRR” for short, can remove reliance on dedicated hardware and be adjusted up or down as needed through allocation of more or less resources to vRR virtual machines.

As a recent Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting, Virtual route reflector delivers high performance, by Anthony Peres, Marketing Director, IP Routing portfolio, Alcatel-Lucent has noted, however, not all vRR solutions are created equal.

“Virtualizing an RR function is more than just compiling a software image to run on a virtualized x86 server,” noted the authors. “To meet the same level of stability and robustness that is offered today, virtualized network function implementations require a proven and stable software base optimized to operate within an x86 virtualized environment.”

A good vRR will take advantage of the multi-core support and significantly larger memory capacity of x86 servers. This can deliver a significant boost in performance and scalability for vRR.

“An implementation that supports parallel Symmetric Multi Processing helps unleash the power and performance of multi-core processing,” noted the blog. “This multi-threaded software approach offers concurrent scheduling and executes different processes on different processor cores. It significantly reduces route learning and route reflection times (route convergence times).”

The usefulness of vRR is not in question. But like many things, the devil is in the details.

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