VTEP Peer Discovery and Authentication – Cisco Network Virtualization

VTEP Peer Discovery and Authentication

Prior to MP-BGP EVPN, VXLAN didn’t have a control-protocol-based VTEP peer-discovery mechanism or a method for authenticating VTEP peers. These limitations present major security risks in real-world VXLAN deployments because they allow easy insertion of a rogue VTEP into a VNI segment to send or receive VXLAN traffic.

With the MP-BGP EVPN control plane, a VTEP device first needs to establish BGP neighbor adjacency with other VTEPs or with Internal BGP (iBGP) route reflectors. In addition to the BGP updates for end-host NLRI, VTEPs exchange the following information about themselves through BGP:

  • Layer 3 VNI
  • VTEP address
  • Router MAC address

As soon as a VTEP receives BGP EVPN route updates from a remote VTEP BGP neighbor, it adds the VTEP address from that route advertisement to the VTEP peer list. This VTEP peer list is then used as an allowed list of valid VTEP peers. VTEPs that are not on this allowed list are considered invalid or unauthorized sources. VXLAN encapsulated traffic from these invalid VTEPs will be discarded by other VTEPs.

Along with the VTEP address that promotes VTEP peer learning, BGP EVPN routes carry VTEP router MAC addresses. Each VTEP has a router MAC address. Once a VTEP’s router MAC address is distributed via MP-BGP and learned by other VTEPs, the other VTEPs use it as an attribute of the VTEP peer to encapsulate inter-VXLAN routed packets to that VTEP peer. The router MAC address is programmed as the inner destination MAC address for routed VXLAN.

For additional security, the existing BGP Message Digest 5 (MD5) authentication can be conveniently applied to the BGP neighbor sessions so that switches can’t become BGP neighbors to exchange MP-BGP EVPN routes until they successfully authenticate each other with a preconfigured MD5 Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES) key.

Distributed Anycast Gateway in MP-BGP EVPN

In MP-BGP EVPN, any VTEP in a VNI can be the distributed anycast gateway for end hosts in its IP subnet by supporting the same virtual gateway IP address and the virtual gateway MAC address, as illustrated in Figure 7-14. With the anycast gateway function in EVPN, end hosts in a VNI can always use their local VTEPs for this VNI as their default gateway to send traffic to outside of their IP subnet. This capability enables optimal forwarding for northbound traffic from end hosts in the VXLAN overlay network. A distributed anycast gateway also offers the benefit of seamless host mobility in the VXLAN overlay network. Because the gateway IP and virtual MAC address are identically provisioned on all VTEPs within a VNI, when an end host moves from one VTEP to another VTEP, it doesn’t need to send another ARP request to relearn the gateway MAC address.


Figure 7-14 Distributed Anycast Gateway in MP-BGP EVPN

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