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Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol

Introduction

The Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) allows the management and assignment of “virtual” IP addresses to hosts that share at least one common network and operate with the same virtual routed ID. On BISDN Linux this feature is provided by keepalived and comprehensive documentation on all the available configuration options within keepalived can be found in the official docs.

VRRP configuration overview

The keepalived configuration file can be found in the /etc/keepalived/ directory. The /etc/keepalived/samples/ subdirectory contains a lot of examples on how different scenarios can be configured, but please be aware that your switch platform may not be able to run all of these scenarios out-of-the-box since not all of the needed software is installed, or even available. To get started with keepalived, the following section provides a simple scenario in which a IPv4 address is shared between two switches/routers. This example could be used as base to configure a redundant router as gateway on spine switches in a typical leaf-spine network architecture.

VRRP IPv4 - shared virtual IP example

To get started, please open the /etc/keepalived/keepalived.conf file and replace the example content in it with a configuration similar to this:

vrrp_instance VIP_1 {
    state MASTER
    interface $INTERFACE
    priority $PRIORITY
    virtual_router_id $VIRTUAL_ROUTER_ID
    authentication {
        auth_type PASS
        auth_pass password
    }
    virtual_ipaddress {
        $VIRTUAL_IP
    }
}

In this example keepalived.conf, you need to replace $INTERFACE with the name of the interface on which the $VIRTUAL_IP should be configured. To define which of the switches/routers should have the $VIRTUAL_IP by default, you need to set a router specific $PRIORITY on each router, where the one with the highest priority will get the IP as long as it is available. To be able to use multiple instance of VRRP within a layer-2 domain, you should also make sure to set a unique VIRTUAL_ROUTER_ID for each vrrp_instance. Finally you need to replace $VIRTUAL_IP with the IPv4 address that you want to use as the shared virtual IP on the $INTERACE configured earlier. Although the above mentioned configuration already is a fully functional keepalived.conf, it is not sufficient for running VRRP between multiple routers. In addition to the configuration for VRRP in keepalived.conf, you need to make sure that all routers are able to communicate with each other and exchange VRRP announcements. To do this, you can simply pick a unique IPv4 address out of the same network your shared virtual IPv4 address is out of for each of the routers and assign it to the same interface you used for $INTERACE. An example setup could assign the following IPv4 addresses:

router-1:
  port54: 10.0.0.2/24

router-2:
  port54: 10.0.0.3/24

As shared virtual IPv4 address you could use 10.0.0.1/32 (please be aware to NOT specifically set the /32 netmask in the keepalived.conf since this will be added automatically).

Assuming that you want to configure the virtual IP on the loopback interface (lo), 123 is a free virtual router id and 10.0.0.1/32 can be used as virtual ip, a working keepalived.conf could look like this (please be aware, that if you choose priority 100 for both routers, the address assignment will be based on startup order):

vrrp_instance VIP_1 {
    state MASTER
    interface lo
    priority 100
    virtual_router_id 123
    authentication {
        auth_type PASS
        auth_pass password
    }
    virtual_ipaddress {
        10.0.0.1
    }
}

To find out more about how to configure IPv4 addresses in BISDN Linux, please refer to the section in getting started. We recommend to not use frr zebra in combination with keepalived, since both service are not configured to wait for each other during startup, which might lead to race conditions in the configuration of interfaces (making those service depend on each other sounds like an easy solution here, but since their purpose is very different in each configuration and frr has it’s very own internal service startup management, we think those two should stay independent).

To start your new configuration, just run systemctl start keepalived and if you want to enable VRRP even after reboot, you should run systemctl enable keealived.