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Graceful BGP Session Shutdown

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 8326.
Authors Pierre Francois , Bruno Decraene , Cristel Pelsser , Keyur Patel , Clarence Filsfils
Last updated 2020-01-21 (Latest revision 2017-12-14)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Proposed Standard
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state Submitted to IESG for Publication
Document shepherd Chris Morrow
Shepherd write-up Show Last changed 2017-09-25
IESG IESG state Became RFC 8326 (Proposed Standard)
Action Holders
Consensus boilerplate Yes
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD Warren "Ace" Kumari
Send notices to Christopher Morrow <>
IANA IANA review state IANA OK - Actions Needed
IANA action state RFC-Ed-Ack
Network Working Group                                   P. Francois, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                    Individual Contributor
Intended status: Standards Track                        B. Decraene, Ed.
Expires: June 17, 2018                                            Orange
                                                              C. Pelsser
                                                   Strasbourg University
                                                                K. Patel
                                                            Arrcus, Inc.
                                                             C. Filsfils
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                       December 14, 2017

                     Graceful BGP session shutdown


   This draft standardizes a new well-known BGP community
   GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN to signal the graceful shutdown of paths.  This
   draft also describes operational procedures which use this community
   to reduce the amount of traffic lost when BGP peering sessions are
   about to be shut down deliberately, e.g. for planned maintenance.

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

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on June 17, 2018.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents

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   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Packet loss upon manual EBGP session shutdown . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  EBGP graceful shutdown procedure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Pre-configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Operations at maintenance time  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.3.  BGP implementation support for graceful shutdown  . . . .   5
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   8.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     8.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     8.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Appendix A.  Alternative techniques with limited applicability  .   7
     A.1.  Multi Exit Discriminator tweaking . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     A.2.  IGP distance Poisoning  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Appendix B.  Configuration Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     B.1.  Cisco IOS XR  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     B.2.  BIRD  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     B.3.  OpenBGPD  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Appendix C.  Beyond EBGP graceful shutdown  . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     C.1.  IBGP graceful shutdown  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     C.2.  EBGP session establishment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10

1.  Introduction

   Routing changes in BGP can be caused by planned maintenance
   operations.  This document defines a well-known community [RFC1997],
   called GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN, for the purpose of reducing the management
   overhead of gracefully shutting down BGP sessions.  The well-known
   community allows implementers to provide an automated graceful
   shutdown mechanism that does not require any router reconfiguration
   at maintenance time.

   This document discusses operational procedures to be applied in order
   to reduce or eliminate loss of packets during a maintenance
   operation.  Loss comes from transient lack of reachability during BGP

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   convergence which follows the shutdown of an EBGP peering session
   between two Autonomous System Border Routers (ASBR).

   This document presents procedures for the cases where the forwarding
   plane is impacted by the maintenance, hence when the use of Graceful
   Restart does not apply.

   The procedures described in this document can be applied to reduce or
   avoid packet loss for outbound and inbound traffic flows initially
   forwarded along the peering link to be shut down.  These procedures
   trigger, in both Autonomous Sytems (AS), rerouting to alternate paths
   if they exist within the AS, while allowing the use of the old path
   until alternate ones are learned.  This ensures that routers always
   have a valid route available during the convergence process.

   The goal of the document is to meet the requirements described in
   [RFC6198] at best, without changing the BGP protocol.

   Other maintenance cases, such as the shutdown of an IBGP session or
   the establishement of an EBGP session, are out of scope of this
   document.  For information, they are briefly discussed in Appendix C.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   [BCP14] [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  Terminology

   graceful shutdown initiator: a router on which the session shutdown
   is performed for the maintenance.

   graceful shutdown receiver: a router that has a BGP session, to be
   shutdown, with the graceful shutdown initiator.

3.  Packet loss upon manual EBGP session shutdown

   Packets can be lost during the BGP convergence following a manual
   shutdown of an EBGP session for two reasons.

   First, some routers can have no path toward an affected prefix, and
   drop traffic destined to this prefix.  This is because alternate
   paths can be hidden by nodes of an AS.  This happens when [RFC7911]
   is not used and the paths are not selected as best by the ASBR that
   receive them on an EBGP session, or by Route Reflectors that do not
   propagate them further in the IBGP topology because they do not
   select them as best.

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   Second, the FIB can be inconsistent between routers within the AS,
   and packets toward affected prefixes can loop and be dropped unless
   encapsulation is used within the AS.

   This document only addresses the first reason.

4.  EBGP graceful shutdown procedure

   This section describes configurations and actions to be performed for
   the graceful shutdown of EBGP peering links.

   The goal of this procedure is to retain the paths to be shutdown
   between the peers, but with a lower LOCAL_PREF value, allowing the
   paths to remain in use while alternate paths are selected and
   propagated, rather than simply withdrawing the paths.  The LOCAL_PREF
   value SHOULD be lower than any of the alternative paths.  The
   RECOMMENDED value is 0.

   Note that some alternative techniques with limited applicability are
   discussed for information in Appendix A.

4.1.  Pre-configuration

   On each ASBR supporting the graceful shutdown receiver procedure, an
   inbound BGP route policy is applied on all EBGP sessions of the ASBR,

   o  matches the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN community.

   o  sets the LOCAL_PREF attribute of the paths tagged with the
      GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN community to a low value.

   For information purpose, example of configurations are provided in
   Appendix B.

4.2.  Operations at maintenance time

   On the graceful shutdown initiator, at maintenance time, the

   o  applies an outbound BGP route policy on the EBGP session to be
      shutdown.  This policy tags the paths propagated over the session
      with the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN community.  This will trigger the BGP
      implementation to re-advertise all active routes previously
      advertised, and tag them with the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN community.

   o  applies an inbound BGP route policy on the EBGP session to be
      shutdown.  This policy tags the paths received over the session

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      with the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN community and sets LOCAL_PREF to a low

   o  wait for route readvertisement over the EBGP session, and BGP
      routing convergence on both ASBRs.

   o  shutdown the EBGP session, optionally using [RFC8203] to
      communicate the reason of the shutdown.

   In the case of a shutdown of the whole router, in addition to the
   graceful shutdown of all EBGP sessions, there is a need to gracefully
   shutdown the routes originated by this router (e.g, BGP aggregates
   redistributed from other protocols, including static routes).  This
   can be performed by tagging these routes with the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN
   community and setting LOCAL_PREF to a low value.

4.3.  BGP implementation support for graceful shutdown

   BGP Implementers SHOULD provide configuration knobs that utilize the
   GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN community to drain BGP neighbors in preparation of
   impending neighbor shutdown.  Implementation details are outside the
   scope of this document.

5.  IANA Considerations

   The IANA has assigned the community value 0xFFFF0000 to the planned-
   shut community in the "BGP Well-known Communities" registry.  IANA is
   requested to change the name planned-shut to GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN and
   set this document as the reference.

6.  Security Considerations

   By providing the graceful shutdown service to a neighboring AS, an
   ISP provides means to this neighbor and possibly its downstream ASes
   to lower the LOCAL_PREF value assigned to the paths received from
   this neighbor.

   The neighbor could abuse the technique and do inbound traffic
   engineering by declaring some prefixes as undergoing a maintenance so
   as to switch traffic to another peering link.

   If this behavior is not tolerated by the ISP, it SHOULD monitor the
   use of the graceful shutdown community.

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7.  Acknowledgments

   The authors wish to thank Olivier Bonaventure, Pradosh Mohapatra, Job
   Snijders, John Heasley, and Christopher Morrow for their useful

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [RFC1997]  Chandra, R., Traina, P., and T. Li, "BGP Communities
              Attribute", RFC 1997, DOI 10.17487/RFC1997, August 1996,

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC6198]  Decraene, B., Francois, P., Pelsser, C., Ahmad, Z.,
              Elizondo Armengol, A., and T. Takeda, "Requirements for
              the Graceful Shutdown of BGP Sessions", RFC 6198,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6198, April 2011,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

8.2.  Informative References

              Marques, P., Fernando, R., Chen, E., Mohapatra, P., and H.
              Gredler, "Advertisement of the best external route in
              BGP", draft-ietf-idr-best-external-05 (work in progress),
              January 2012.

   [RFC7911]  Walton, D., Retana, A., Chen, E., and J. Scudder,
              "Advertisement of Multiple Paths in BGP", RFC 7911,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7911, July 2016,

   [RFC8203]  Snijders, J., Heitz, J., and J. Scudder, "BGP
              Administrative Shutdown Communication", RFC 8203,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8203, July 2017,

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Appendix A.  Alternative techniques with limited applicability

   A few alternative techniques have been considered to provide graceful
   shutdown capabilities but have been rejected due to their limited
   applicability.  This section describes them for possible reference.

A.1.  Multi Exit Discriminator tweaking

   The MED attribute of the paths to be avoided can be increased so as
   to force the routers in the neighboring AS to select other paths.

   The solution only works if the alternate paths are as good as the
   initial ones with respect to the LOCAL_PREF value and the AS Path
   Length value.  In the other cases, increasing the MED value will not
   have an impact on the decision process of the routers in the
   neighboring AS.

A.2.  IGP distance Poisoning

   The distance to the BGP NEXT_HOP corresponding to the maintained
   session can be increased in the IGP so that the old paths will be
   less preferred during the application of the IGP distance tie-break
   rule.  However, this solution only works for the paths whose
   alternates are as good as the old paths with respect to their
   LOCAL_PREF value, their AS Path length, and their MED value.

   Also, this poisoning cannot be applied when BGP NEXT_HOP self is used
   as there is no BGP NEXT_HOP specific to the maintained session to
   poison in the IGP.

Appendix B.  Configuration Examples

   This appendix is non-normative.

   Example routing policy configurations to honor the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN
   well-known BGP community.

B.1.  Cisco IOS XR

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   community-set comm-graceful-shutdown
   route-policy AS64497-ebgp-inbound
     ! normally this policy would contain much more
     if community matches-any comm-graceful-shutdown then
       set local-preference 0
   router bgp 64496
    neighbor 2001:db8:1:2::1
     remote-as 64497
     address-family ipv6 unicast
      route-policy AS64497-ebgp-inbound in


B.2.  BIRD

   function honor_graceful_shutdown() {
       if (65535, 0) ~ bgp_community then {
           bgp_local_pref = 0;
   filter AS64497_ebgp_inbound
           # normally this policy would contain much more
   protocol bgp peer_64497_1 {
       neighbor 2001:db8:1:2::1 as 64497;
       local as 64496;
       import keep filtered;
       import filter AS64497_ebgp_inbound;

B.3.  OpenBGPD

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   AS 64496
   neighbor 2001:db8:1:2::1 {
           remote-as 64497
   # normally this policy would contain much more
   match from any community GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN set { localpref 0 }

Appendix C.  Beyond EBGP graceful shutdown

C.1.  IBGP graceful shutdown

   For the shutdown of an IBGP session, provided the IBGP topology is
   viable after the maintenance of the session, i.e, if all BGP speakers
   of the AS have an IBGP signaling path for all prefixes advertised on
   this graceful shutdown IBGP session, then the shutdown of an IBGP
   session does not lead to transient unreachability.  As a consequence,
   no specific graceful shutdown action is required.

C.2.  EBGP session establishment

   We identify two potential causes for transient packet losses upon the
   establishment of an EBGP session.  The first one is local to the
   startup initiator, the second one is due to the BGP convergence
   following the injection of new best paths within the IBGP topology.

C.2.1.  Unreachability local to the ASBR

   An ASBR that selects as best a path received over a newly established
   EBGP session may transiently drop traffic.  This can typically happen
   when the NEXT_HOP attribute differs from the IP address of the EBGP
   peer, and the receiving ASBR has not yet resolved the MAC address
   associated with the IP address of that "third party" NEXT_HOP.

   A BGP speaker implementation MAY avoid such losses by ensuring that
   "third party" NEXT_HOPs are resolved before installing paths using
   these in the RIB.

   Alternatively, the operator (script) MAY ping third party NEXT_HOPs
   that are expected to be used before establishing the session.  By
   proceeding like this, the MAC addresses associated with these third
   party NEXT_HOPs are resolved by the startup initiator.

C.2.2.  IBGP convergence

   During the establishment of an EBGP session, in some corner cases a
   router may have no path toward an affected prefix, leading to loss of

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   A typical example for such transient unreachability for a given
   prefix is the following:

   Let's consider three Route Reflectors (RR): RR1, RR2, RR3.  There is
   a full mesh of IBGP sessions between them.

      1.  RR1 is initially advertising the current best path to the
      members of its IBGP RR full-mesh.  It propagated that path within
      its RR full-mesh.  RR2 knows only that path toward the prefix.

      2.  RR3 receives a new best path originated by the startup
      initiator, being one of its RR clients.  RR3 selects it as best,
      and propagates an UPDATE within its RR full-mesh, i.e., to RR1 and

      3.  RR1 receives that path, reruns its decision process, and picks
      this new path as best.  As a result, RR1 withdraws its previously
      announced best-path on the IBGP sessions of its RR full-mesh.

      4.  If, for any reason, RR3 processes the withdraw generated in
      step 3, before processing the update generated in step 2, RR3
      transiently suffers from unreachability for the affected prefix.

   The use of [RFC7911] or [I-D.ietf-idr-best-external] among the RR of
   the IBGP full-mesh can solve these corner cases by ensuring that
   within an AS, the advertisement of a new route is not translated into
   the withdraw of a former route.

   Indeed, "best-external" ensures that an ASBR does not withdraw a
   previously advertised (EBGP) path when it receives an additional,
   preferred path over an IBGP session.  Also, "best-intra-cluster"
   ensures that a RR does not withdraw a previously advertised (IBGP)
   path to its non clients (e.g. other RRs in a mesh of RR) when it
   receives a new, preferred path over an IBGP session.

Authors' Addresses

   Pierre Francois (editor)
   Individual Contributor


   Bruno Decraene (editor)


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   Cristel Pelsser
   Strasbourg University


   Keyur Patel
   Arrcus, Inc.


   Clarence Filsfils
   Cisco Systems


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