Deploying F5 Distributed Cloud (XC) Services in Cisco ACI - Layer Three Attached Deployment

Introduction

F5 Distributed Cloud (XC) Services are SaaS-based security, networking, and application management services that can be deployed across multi-cloud, on-premises, and edge locations.  This article will show you how you can deploy F5 Distributed Cloud Customer Edge (CE) site in Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) so that you can securely connect your application in Hybrid Multi-Cloud environment.

XC Layer Three Attached CE in Cisco ACI

A F5 Distributed Cloud Customer Edge (CE) site can be deployed with Layer Three Attached in Cisco ACI environment using Cisco ACI L3Out.  As a reminder, Layer Three Attached is one of the deployment models to get traffic to/from a F5 Distributed Cloud CE site, where the CE can be a single node or a three nodes cluster.  Static routing and BGP are both supported in the Layer Three Attached deployment model.  When a Layer Three Attached CE site is deployed in Cisco ACI environment using Cisco ACI L3Out, routes can be exchanged between them via static routing or BGP.  In this article, we will focus on BGP peering between Layer Three Attached CE site and Cisco ACI Fabric. 

XC BGP Configuration

BGP configuration on XC is simple and it only takes a couple steps to complete:

1) Go to "Multi-Cloud Network Connect" -> "Networking" -> "BGPs".
*Note: XC homepage is role based, and to be able to configure BGP, "Advanced User" is required.

2) "Add BGP" to fill out the site specific info, such as which CE Site to run BGP, its BGP AS number etc., and "Add Peers" to include its BGP peers’ info.
*Note: XC supports direct connection for BGP peering IP reachability only.

XC Layer Three Attached CE in ACI Example

In this section, we will use an example to show you how to successfully bring up BGP peering between a F5 XC Layer Three Attached CE site and a Cisco ACI Fabric so that you can securely connect your application in Hybrid Multi-Cloud environment.

Topology

 

In our example, CE is a three nodes cluster (Master-0, Master-1 and Master-2) that has a VIP 10.10.122.122/32 with workloads, 10.131.111.66 and 10.131.111.77, in the cloud (AWS):

The CE connects to the ACI Fabric via a virtual port channel (vPC) that spans across two ACI boarder leaf switches.  CE and ACI Fabric are eBGP peers via an ACI L3Out SVI for routes exchange.  CE is eBGP peered to both ACI boarder leaf switches, so that in case one of them is down (expectedly or unexpectedly), CE can still continue to exchange routes with the ACI boarder leaf switch that remains up and VIP reachability will not be affected.

XC BGP Configuration

First, let us look at the XC BGP configuration ("Multi-Cloud Network Connect" -> "Networking" -> "BGPs"):

We "Add BGP" of "jy-site2-cluster" with site specific BGP info along with a total of six eBGP peers (each CE node has two eBGP peers; one to each ACI boarder leaf switch):



We "Add Item" to specify each of the six eBPG peers’ info:

Example reference - ACI BGP configuration:

XC BGP Peering Status

There are a couple of ways to check the BGP peering status on the F5 Distributed Cloud Console:

Option 1

Go to "Multi-Cloud Network Connect" -> "Networking" -> "BGPs" -> "Show Status" from the selected CE site to bring up the "Status Objects" page.  The "Status Objects" page provides a summary of the BGP status from each of the CE nodes.  In our example, all three CE nodes from "jy-site2-cluster" are cleared with "0 Failed Conditions" (Green):

We can simply click on a CE node UID to further look into the BGP status from the selected CE node with all of its BGP peers.  Here, we clicked on the UID of CE node Master-2 (172.18.128.14) and we can see it has two eBGP peers: 172.18.128.11 (ACI boarder leaf switch 1) and 172.18.128.12 (ACI boarder leaf switch 2), and both of them are Up:

Here is the BGP status from the other two CE nodes - Master-0 (172.18.128.6) and Master-1 (172.18.128.10):

For reference, here is an example of a CE node with "Failed Conditions" (Red) due to one of its BGP peers is down:

Option 2

Go to "Multi-Cloud Network Connect" -> "Overview" -> "Sites" -> "Tools" -> "Show BGP peers" to bring up the BGP peers status info from all CE nodes from the selected site.  Here, we can see the same BGP status of CE node master-2 (172.18.128.14) which has two eBGP peers: 172.18.128.11 (ACI boarder leaf switch 1) and 172.18.128.12 (ACI boarder leaf switch 2), and both of them are Up:

Here is the output of the other two CE nodes - Master-0 (172.18.128.6) and Master-1 (172.18.128.10):

Example reference - ACI BGP peering status:

XC BGP Routes Status

To check the BGP routes, both received and advertised routes, go to "Multi-Cloud Network Connect" -> "Overview" -> "Sites" -> "Tools" -> "Show BGP routes" from the selected CE sites:

In our example, we see all three CE nodes (Master-0, Master-1 and Master-2) advertised (exported) 10.10.122.122/32 to both of its BPG peers: 172.18.128.11 (ACI boarder leaf switch 1) and 172.18.128.12 (ACI boarder leaf switch 2), while received (imported) 172.18.188.0/24 from them:

Now, if we check the ACI Fabric, we should see both 172.18.128.11 (ACI boarder leaf switch 1) and 172.18.128.12 (ACI boarder leaf switch 2) advertised 172.18.188.0/24 to all three CE nodes, while received 10.10.122.122/32 from all three of them (note "|" for multipath in the output):

XC Routes Status

To view the routing table of a CE node (or all CE nodes at once), we can simply select "Show routes":

Based on the BGP routing table in our example (shown earlier), we should see each CE node has two Equal Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) installed in the routing table for 172.18.188.0/24: one to 172.18.128.11 (ACI boarder leaf switch 1) and one to 172.18.128.12 (ACI boarder leaf switch 2) as the next-hop, and we do (note "ECMP" for multipath in the output):

Now, if we check the ACI Fabric, each of the ACI boarder leaf switch should have three ECMP installed in the routing table for 10.10.122.122: one to each CE node (172.18.128.6, 172.18.128.10 and 172.18.128.14) as the next-hop, and we do:

Validation

We can now securely connect our application in Hybrid Multi-Cloud environment:

     

*Note: After F5 XC is deployed, we also use F5 XC DNS as our primary nameserver:


To check the requests on the F5 Distributed Cloud Console, go to "Multi-Cloud Network Connect" -> "Sites" -> "Requests" from the selected CE site:

Summary

A F5 Distributed Cloud Customer Edge (CE) site can be deployed with Layer Three Attached deployment model in Cisco ACI environment.  Both static routing and BGP are supported in the Layer Three Attached deployment model and can be easily configured on F5 Distributed Cloud Console with just a few clicks.  With F5 Distributed Cloud Customer Edge (CE) site deployment, you can securely connect your application in Hybrid Multi-Cloud environment quickly and efficiently. 

References

Updated Feb 21, 2024
Version 4.0

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