Project Proposals/Overlay Network Engine

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Overlay Network Engine (ONE)

Project Contact Name and Email

Florin Coras, LF-ID: florin.coras

Vina Ermagan, LF-ID: ermagan

Repository Name

Repository name will be: one



Overlay Network Engine (ONE) is a project proposal for VPP to enable programmable dynamic Software Defined overlays. ONE uses an extended LISP-based map-assisted control plane to dynamically lookup overlay-to-underlay address mappings, as well as forwarding policies, on demand and as packets arrive. This includes policies such as connectivity, encryption, traffic engineering and virtual topologies, access control, and service chaining. The looked up mappings and forwarding policies are cached locally for a TTL period until they time out. The mapping and forwarding policy information is then used to encapsulate overlay packets towards their associated destinations or next hops.

ONE can use and operate a variety of encapsulation formats for the overlay including GRE, VXLAN-GPE (Generic Protocol Extension) [1], which is effectively merging VXLAN and LISP [2] encapsulations in a single format that supports multi-protocol payloads, etc. The control plane can be used to fetch the encapsulation capabilities of a destination as part of its mapping and forwarding policies.

An external open SDN controller will be used as the mapping system to store and provide the mapping and forwarding policies.

ONE can use IPsec based encryption to secure the overlay if needed. Cryptographic parameters, can be provisioned on demand.

Data Plane Operations

ONE core data plane operations include:

  • Determining the location of the destination overlay endpoints (by using control plane lookups), encapsulating data packets to the right destination location, and forwarding these packets onto the underlay network.
  • De-capsulating encapsulated packets and forwarding the packets towards their associated destinations in the overlay.

To enable dynamic encapsulation a local map cache is used that maps flows in the overlay to the location(s) (IP address in the underlay network) of the next hop, or the destination endpoint, depending on the mapping/forwarding policy defined in the mapping system. The map cache would support generic mappings such that the programmable overlay services can be used by a variety of packets and protocols (e.g. L2, L3, NSH [3]) [4]. Multi-homing and load balancing as well as segmentation based on a VNI/IID will be supported.

The map cache is populated on demand using the LISP[4] map-request/map-reply protocol.

Control Plane Operations

ONE will use an extended LISP-based control plane to dynamically lookup the mapping and forwarding policy for overlay destinations, resulting in the location of the next hop associated with the flow in question. This mapping information is then cached in the map cache for future use. Changes/updates to the cached mappings may be pushed to VPP by the mapping system.


Project scope includes implementation of nodes that enable dynamic encapsulation and de-capsulation of data packets using different encapsulation formats, the map cache, and the LISP control plane for retrieval and update of the mapping and forwarding policies. The scope also includes integration with other components within VPP such as IPSec for encryption and NSH.

In more detail the scope will include:

  • Implementation of plugins/graph nodes to allow dynamic lookup and retrieval of mappings of network traffic to encapsulations for next hops (various encaps are supported and mapping system can determine the encap to use.) Various network traffic can be mapped, including L2, L3, NSH,...
  • Implementation of plugins/graph nodes to store/cache the retrieved mappings locally
  • Implementation of plugins/graph nodes to carry out/apply the mappings for existing flows (match and encap)
  • Implementation of plugins/graph nodes to allow integration with other components including IPSec for encryption and NSH for service chaining
  • Exporting APIs over NETCONF - using Honeycomb or other means defined by
  • Supporting tools, testing

We have initial code base that we plan to contribute when the project is created.

Initial Committers

Vendor Neutral

This projects is vendor neutral and implements/uses open technologies and protocols such as GPE [1], LISP [2], IPSec, NSH [3].

Meets Board Policy (including IPR, being within Board defined Scope etc)

Meets board policy as expressed in Technical Community Charter and IP Policy


  • Request for Project proposal consideration
    • Email: [1]
    • Date: Mon Mar 7 23:37:06 UTC 2016