On this particular sentence - it is incorrect to compare VPLS and VXLAN.
One is a set of control plane mechanisms for discovery and tunnel setup
and data plane encapsulations and multipoint reachability model, while
the other is just a data plane encapsulation. VXLAN is equivalent to a
(point to point) pseudowire used as a data plane component in VPLS.
this would mean a shift from VPLS to VXLAN.
VXLAN is a tunnel over a routed IP network. The path to reach the tunnel
endpoint will define how VXLAN encapsulated payload is traversing over
your network. If tunnel endpoint is reachable via explicitly routed LSP,
the payload will follow that path. VXLAN by itself does nothing to
influence the underlay path.
2) Traffic engineering - we don't have a lot of requirement for this, but do
have a small number of customers who buy A and B circuits, and require them
to be routed across different paths on our network. This is easy with MPLS
using explicit LSPs, but we've not yet worked out how to achieve the same
thing in VXLAN.
Yes, there are such deployments. The number of such deployments is
So, my question to the community is - have any of you used VXLAN as a wide-area
layer 2 transport technology?
Any pros or cons? Gotchas? Scare stories?
Recommendations? Am I trying to shoot myself in the foot?
VXLAN is a tunnelling mechanism. You seem to be looking for a end to end
solution, for which VXLAN is a (rather small) component. You need to
start from the requirements. What is the underlay technology being used?
How much of traffic engineering functionality will be required, and how
the particular underlay technology can implement it? What about ECMP
support and requirements for its use - flow mapping to VXLAN tunnel is
the same problem as flow mapping to any other tunnel in underlay ECMP
environment. To build all of this is one thing, but to operate is quite
the other - what about OAM requirements? VXLAN has no OAM support, and
will not get one. If your operations systems rely on MPLS based OAM for
service layer (eg, an MPLS based PW) - that will not be available. How
the tunnels will be set up - is there a need to do discovery, or will
all of it be orchestrated?
Two main limiting factors in VXLAN applicability are lack of payload
type indicator - the tunnel can carry only a single type of payload
(ethernet in the canonic definition, no possibility to use single tunnel
for multiple user payload types without additional encapsulation), and
no ability to indicate that the payload is not a user payload but some
other special type like OAM (pseudowire control word would be an example
of such indicator). This leaves VXLAN as a solution of limited
applicability for anything else than original intended one - ethernet
tunnel over IP underlay. For other uses VXLAN is of limited
applicability, there may be (and in fact are) vendor specific extensions
but there is no point in talking about interoperability then. This
problem space is well understood and there are successors to VXLAN -
Geneve is getting into good shape (there are vendor specific early
implementations but it is too early to talk about interoperability at
this time), plus different vendors have their own tunnel encapsulation
mechanisms (VXLAN-GPE being a more visible one, however it is not going
to be standardized soon).
The other interesting part to solve is the control plane. BGP based one
will likely be the most practical option here. Combined with ability to
tunnel multiple payload types this gives you a single control plane for
L3VPN and point to point and multipoint L2VPN built on the same underlay
with the single tunnelling mechanism. Your operations team will thank
you violently for doing this.