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I2RS Large Flow Use Case
draft-krishnan-i2rs-large-flow-use-case-00

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This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Expired".
Authors Ramki Krishnan , Anoop Ghanwani , Sriganesh Kini , Dave McDysan
Last updated 2013-10-13
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draft-krishnan-i2rs-large-flow-use-case-00
I2RS Working Group                                          R. Krishnan
Internet Draft                                   Brocade Communications
Category: Informational                                     A. Ghanwani
                                                                   Dell
                                                                S. Kini
                                                               Ericsson
                                                             D. Mcdysan
                                                                Verizon

Expires: April 2014                                    October 13, 2013

                         I2RS Large Flow Use Case

                draft-krishnan-i2rs-large-flow-use-case-00

Abstract

   Demands on networking bandwidth are growing exponentially due to
   applications such as large file transfers and those with rich media.
   Link Aggregation Group (LAG) and Equal Cost Multipath (ECMP) are
   extensively deployed in networks to scale the bandwidth. However,
   the flow based load balancing techniques used today make inefficient
   use of the bandwidth in the presence of long lived large flows. This
   draft presents a use-case to improve the efficiency under such
   conditions and aims to drive requirements for the I2RS WG.

Status of this Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on April, 2014.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 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
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) 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.

Conventions used in this document

   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 [RFC 2119].

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................3
      1.1. Acronyms..................................................4
      1.2. Terminology...............................................4
   2. Large Flow Recognition and Signaling...........................5
      2.1. Network-based Recognition of Large Flows..................5
      2.2. Application-based Signaling of Large Flows................5
   3. Flow Rebalancing...............................................5
      3.1. Local Rebalancing.........................................5
      3.2. Global Rebalancing........................................6
         3.2.1. IP Networks..........................................6
         3.2.2. MPLS Networks........................................7
   4. Operational Considerations.....................................7
   5. IANA Considerations............................................7
   6. Security Considerations........................................8
   7. Acknowledgements...............................................8
   8. References.....................................................8
      8.1. Normative References......................................8
      8.2. Informative References....................................8
   Authors' Addresses................................................8

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1. Introduction

   Networks extensively deploy LAG and ECMP for bandwidth scaling.
   Network traffic can be predominantly categorized into two traffic
   types: long-lived large flows and other flows (which include long-
   lived small flows, short-lived small/large flows) [OPSAWG-large-
   flow]. Stateless hash-based techniques [ITCOM, RFC 2991, RFC 2992,
   and RFC 6790] are often used to distribute both long-lived large
   flows and other flows over the components in a LAG/ECMP. However the
   traffic may not be evenly distributed over the component links due
   to the traffic pattern.

   This draft describes long-lived large flow load balancing techniques
   for achieving the best network bandwidth utilization with LAG/ECMP
   and the corresponding I2RS requirements.  Some of these techniques
   have been described in detail in [OPSAWG-large-flow].  We describe
   methods that can be used locally within a single router, as well as
   methods that can be applied across multiple network elements, where
   the network is under the control of single administrative entity.
   We refer to the former as local load balancing and the latter as
   global load balancing.  A combination of local and global load
   balancing helps in achieving the best network bandwidth utilization
   and latency for a given network topology.

   From a router standpoint, long-lived large flows are typically
   identified using one or more fields from the packet header from the
   following list:

     .  Layer 2: source MAC address, destination MAC address, VLAN ID.

     .  IP header: IP Protocol, IP source address, IP destination
        address, flow label (IPv6 only), TCP/UDP source port, TCP/UDP
        destination port.

     .  MPLS Labels.

   For tunneling protocols like GRE, VXLAN, NVGRE, STT, etc., flow
   identification is possible based on inner and/or outer headers. The
   above list is not exhaustive.

   In the remainder of this document, consistent with [OPSAWG-large-
   flow], we use the term "large flow" to refer to "long-lived large
   flows," and we use the term "small flow" to refer to any of the
   three other types of flows identified above.

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   At a high-level, the technique involves recognizing large flows and
   rebalancing them to achieve optimal load balancing.  Large flows may
   be recognized within a router, or using the aid of an external
   management entity such as an IPFIX [RFC 7011] collector or a sFlow
   [sFlow-v5] collector.  Once a large flow has been recognized, it
   must be signaled to a management entity that makes the rebalancing
   decision.  Finally, the rebalancing decision is communicated to the
   routers to program the forwarding plane.  In subsequent sections, we
   describe the requirements with recognition and rebalancing as they
   pertain to I2RS.

1.1. Acronyms

   ECMP: Equal Cost Multi-path

   GRE: Generic Routing Encapsulation

   LAG: Link Aggregation Group

   LSR: Label Switch Router

   MPLS: Multiprotocol Label Switching

   NVGRE: Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation

   PBR: Policy Based Routing

   QoS: Quality of Service

   STT: Stateless Transport Tunneling

   VXLAN: Virtual Extensible LAN

1.2. Terminology

   Large flow(s): long-lived large flow(s)

   Small flow(s): long-lived small flow(s) and short-lived small/large
   flow(s)

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2. Large Flow Recognition and Signaling

2.1. Network-based Recognition of Large Flows

   The first step is recognizing large flows. There are two ways for
   recognizing large flows as described in [OPSAWG-large-flow].

   The first method is automatic hardware-based recognition in which
   the large flows are identified in hardware.  Once a large flow is
   recognized, it needs to be communicated to a management entity (such
   as an SDN controller) that is capable of making rebalancing
   decisions.  This communication is out of scope for I2RS and can be
   handled using protocols such as IPFIX [RFC 7011].

   The next method is where sFlow or IPFIX packet sampling can be used
   to convey packet samples to an external entity such as sFlow or
   IPFIX collector. The external entity recognizes large flows and this
   entity signals the large flows to another management entity that is
   capable of making rebalancing decisions (such as an SDN controller).
   Once again, this communication is out of scope of the I2RS.

2.2. Application-based Signaling of Large Flows

   Instead of having the network recognize large flows, the large flow
   can be signaled by an application that is known to instantiate large
   flows, e.g. a backup operation, and may perhaps indicate other
   parameters such as the latency desired.  Such flows would once again
   need to be signaled to the management entity capable of routing or
   rebalancing decisions.  This communication is also outside the scope
   of I2RS.

3. Flow Rebalancing

3.1. Local Rebalancing

   In the case of local rebalancing, the utilization of the component
   links that are part of the LAG or ECMP are monitored and the flows
   are redistributed among the member links to ensure optimal load
   balancing across all of the component links.  Typically, this
   involves redirecting large flows to individual ECMP or LAG
   components, and potentially adjusting the weights used to distribute
   small flows across these components, using mechanisms specified in
   [OPSAWG-large-flow].

   This approach works regardless of whether the underlying network is
   IP or MPLS.

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   To achieve this, there are two requirements for I2RS:

     .  For redirecting large flows to a specific member, a PBR entry
        is required with a key that identifies the flow and a
        corresponding nexthop that identifies the specific LAG or ECMP
        component.

     .  For adjusting the weights used to distribute traffic across
        components of the LAG or ECMP, a mechanism is needed that
        identifies ECMP entries and is able to associate weights that
        can be programmed for each of the components. To do this in a
        scalable fashion, it would be useful to have the notion of an
        ECMP group that is used by multiple routes.

   At the RIB level, the nexthop information is typically specified as
   an outgoing IP interface.  However, in an L2/L3 switch, the IP
   interface may be a VLAN, and in turn there are several "bridge
   ports" that are members of the VLAN.

   Typically, the route entry is resolved to a specific port before the
   forwarding table is programmed. If the bridge port is a LAG, there
   will be member ports associated with that LAG.  Typically, the
   resolution down to an individual port is done via means not
   specified in any standard.

   From the standpoint of I2RS, the ability to address individual ports
   in a router is desirable.  This requires the I2RS topology to be
   aware of LAG members, and the ability of routers to accept route or
   PBR entries that map to a specific member port within a LAG.

3.2. Global Rebalancing

3.2.1. IP Networks

   For IP networks, this involves programming a globally optimal path
   for the large flow.  The globally optimal path is programmed in the
   IP network using hop-by-hop PBR rules.

   For IP networks, this involves creating a globally optimal path
   [HEDERA-dynamic-flow-scheduling] using a network management entity
   which hosts an I2RS client. The globally optimal path is programmed
   in the IP network using hop-by-hop PBR rules. The weights of the
   ECMP table for different nexthops should be adjusted to factor the
   long-lived large flows - this is explained below with an example.

   As an example, consider a 4 way ECMP at node n1 with IP nexthops
   n11, n12, n13, n14 using links l1, l2, l3, l4 each of capacity 10

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   Gbps.  Say, a long-lived large flow of average bandwidth 2 Gbps is
   admitted to one of the links l3.  The ECMP nexthop table needs to be
   adjusted to approximately account for the long-lived large flow so
   that the other flows do not overload link l3 which is already used
   by the large flow.  The ECMP nexthop table will be programmed as
   w1*n11, w2*n12, w3*n13, w4*n14 where w1=w2=w4=1 and w3=0.8; this
   needs to be done for all the routes using the same set of nexthops.

   Now, if there are other set of nexthops from node n1 using link l3,
   they should also be adjusted. Say, there is another set of IP ECMP
   nexthops n13, n14, n15, n16 using links l3, l4, l5, l6. The ECMP
   nexthop table will be programmed as w1*n13, w2*n14, w3*n15, w4*n16
   where w2=w3=w4=1 and w1=0.8; this needs to be done for all the
   routes using the same set of nexthops. In practice, there could be
   multiple large flows on a single link and the ECMP nexthop table
   must be adjusted to factor all of these flows.

   As mentioned in Section 3.1. , it would be useful to have a way of
   addressing an ECMP group, so that all routes sharing an ECMP group
   are addressed together.

3.2.2. MPLS Networks

   There are several ways to address global load rebalancing in MPLS
   networks.  For example:

     .  Have multiple LSPs between ingress and egress routers.  In
        this case, having a PBR entry at the edge LSR that forwards the
        large flow to specific LSP known to have the necessary
        bandwidth is needed.

     .  Program a new LSP for a given large flow.

   Here the requirements for I2RS would be providing the ability to
   program PBR entries at the edge LSR, and the programming new LSPs in
   the network.

4. Operational Considerations

   Operational considerations would be similar to those specified in
   [OPSAWG-large-flow].

5. IANA Considerations

   None.

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6. Security Considerations

   This draft specifies a use case for I2RS and does not introduce any
   new security requirements beyond those already under consideration
   for I2RS.

7. Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to sincerely acknowledge Dan Romascanu for
   his help with understanding the relationship between the Interfaces
   MIB and LAG. The authors would also like to thank Prasad Jogalekar,
   Mukhtiar Shaikh and Muhammad Durrani for the discussions on the
   topic of global load balancing.

8. References

8.1. Normative References

8.2. Informative References

   [OPSAWG-large-flow] Krishnan, R. et al., "Mechanisms for Optimal
   LAG/ECMP Component Link Utilization in Networks," February 2014.

   [HEDERA-dynamic-flow-scheduling] Al-Fares, M. et al., "Hedera:
   Dynamic Flow Scheduling for Data Center Networks", December 2009

   [sFlow-v5] Phaal, P. and M. Lavine, "sFlow version 5," July 2004.

   [RFC 7011] Claise, B., "Specification of the IP Flow Information
   Export (IPFIX) Protocol for the Exchange of Flow Information,",
   September 2013

   [RFC 2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
   Requirement Levels,", March 1997

Authors' Addresses

   Ram Krishnan
   Brocade Communications
   ramk@brocade.com

   Anoop Ghanwani
   Dell
   anoop@alumni.duke.edu

   Sriganesh Kini
   Ericsson

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   sriganesh.kini@ericsson.com

   Dave Mcdysan
   Verizon
   dave.mcdysan@verizon.com

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