Information About VRRP
VRRP allows for transparent failover at the first-hop IP router, by configuring a group of routers to share a virtual IP address. VRRP selects a primary router in that group to handle all packets for the virtual IP address. The remaining routers are in standby and take over if that the primary router fails.
A LAN client can determine which router should be the first hop to a particular remote destination by using a dynamic process or static configuration. Examples of dynamic router discovery are as follows:
Proxy ARP—The client uses Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to get the destination it wants to reach, and a router will respond to the ARP request with its own MAC address.
Routing protocol—The client listens to dynamic routing protocol updates (for example, from Routing Information Protocol [RIP]) and forms its own routing table.
ICMP Router Discovery Protocol (IRDP) client—The client runs an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) router discovery client.
The disadvantage to dynamic discovery protocols is that they incur some configuration and processing overhead on the LAN client. Also, if a router fails, the process of switching to another router can be slow.
An alternative to dynamic discovery protocols is to statically configure a default router on the client. Although this approach simplifies client configuration and processing, it creates a single point of failure. If the default gateway fails, the LAN client is limited to communicating only on the local IP network segment and is cut off from the rest of the network.
VRRP can solve the static configuration problem by enabling a group of routers (a VRRP group) to share a single virtual IP address. You can then configure the LAN clients with the virtual IP address as their default gateway.
The following figure shows a basic VLAN topology. In this example, Routers A, B, and C form a VRRP group. The IP address of the group is the same address that was configured for the Ethernet interface of Router A (10.0.0.1).
Because the virtual IP address uses the IP address of the physical Ethernet interface of Router A, Router A is the primary (also known as the IP address owner). As the primary, Router A owns the virtual IP address of the VRRP group router and forwards packets that are sent to this IP address. Clients 1 through 3 are configured with the default gateway IP address of 10.0.0.1.
Routers B and C function as backups. If the primary fails, the backup router with the highest priority becomes the primary and takes over the virtual IP address to provide uninterrupted service for the LAN hosts. When router A recovers, it becomes the router primary again. For more information, see the “VRRP Router Priority and Preemption” section.
Packets that are received on a routed port that is destined for the VRRP virtual IP address terminate on the local router, regardless of whether that router is the primary VRRP router or a backup VRRP router. This includes ping and telnet traffic. Packets received on a Layer 2 (VLAN) interface destined for the VRRP virtual IP address will terminate on the primary router.
The benefits of VRRP are as follows:
Redundance—Enables you to configure multiple routers as the default gateway router, which reduces the possibility of a single point of failure in a network.
Load Sharing—Allows traffic to and from LAN clients to be shared by multiple routers. The traffic load is shared more equitably among available routers.
Multiple VRRP groups—Supports up to 255 VRRP groups on a router physical interface if the platform supports multiple MAC addresses. Multiple VRRP groups enable you to implement redundancy and load sharing in your LAN topology.
Multiple IP Addresses—Allows you to manage multiple IP addresses, including secondary IP addresses. If you have multiple subnets that are configured on an Ethernet interface, you can configure VRRP on each subnet.
Preemption—Enables you to preempt a backup router that has taken over for a failing primary with a higher priority backup router that has become available.
Advertisement Protocol—Uses a dedicated Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) standard multicast address (22.214.171.124) for VRRP advertisements. This addressing scheme minimizes the number of routers that must service the multicasts and allows test equipment to accurately identify VRRP packets on a segment. IANA has assigned the IP protocol number 112 to VRRP.
The benefits of VRRPv3 are as follows:
Interoperability in multivendor environments.
Support for the IPv4 and IPv6 address families.
Multiple VRRP Groups
You can configure up to 255 VRRP groups on a physical interface. The actual number of VRRP groups that a router interface can support depends on the following factors:
Router processing capability
Router memory capability
In a topology where multiple VRRP groups are configured on a router interface, the interface can act as a primary for one VRRP group and as a backup for one or more other VRRP groups.
The following figure shows a LAN topology in which VRRP is configured so that Routers A and B share the traffic to and from clients 1 through 4. Routers A and B act as backups to each other if either router fails.
This topology contains two virtual IP addresses for two VRRP groups that overlap. For VRRP group 1, Router A is the owner of IP address 10.0.0.1 and is the primary. Router B is the backup to router A. Clients 1 and 2 are configured with the default gateway IP address of 10.0.0.1.
For VRRP group 2, Router B is the owner of IP address 10.0.0.2 and is the primary. Router A is the backup to router B. Clients 3 and 4 are configured with the default gateway IP address of 10.0.0.2.
VRRP Router Priority and Preemption
An important aspect of the VRRP redundancy scheme is the VRRP router priority because the priority determines the role that each VRRP router plays and what happens if the primary router fails.
If a VRRP router owns the virtual IP address and the IP address of the physical interface, this router functions as the primary. The priority of the primary is 255.
Priority also determines if a VRRP router functions as a backup router and the order of ascendancy to becoming a primary if the primary fails.
For example, if router A, the primary in a LAN topology fails, VRRP must determine if backups B or C should take over. If you configure router B with priority 101 and router C with the default priority of 100, VRRP selects router B to become the primary because it has the higher priority. If you configure routers B and C with the default priority of 100, VRRP selects the backup with the higher IP address to become the primary.
VRRP uses preemption to determine what happens after a VRRP backup router becomes the primary. With preemption enabled by default, VRRP switches to a backup if that backup comes online with a priority higher than the new primary. For example, if Router A is the primary and fails, VRRP selects Router B (next in order of priority). If Router C comes online with a higher priority than Router B, VRRP selects Router C as the new primary, even though Router B has not failed.
If you disable preemption, VRRP will only switch if the original primary recovers or the new primary fails.
The VRRP primary sends VRRP advertisements to other VRRP routers in the same group. The advertisements communicate the priority and state of the primary. Cisco NX-OS encapsulates the VRRP advertisements in IP packets and sends them to the IP multicast address assigned to the VRRP group. Cisco NX-OS sends the advertisements once every second by default, but you can configure a different advertisement interval.
VRRP supports the following authentication mechanisms:
Plain text authentication
VRRP rejects packets in any of the following cases:
The authentication schemes differ on the router and in the incoming packet.
Text authentication strings differ on the router and in the incoming packet.
VRRP version 3 (VRRPv3) enables a group of switches to form a single virtual switch in order to provide redundancy and reduce the possibility of a single point of failure in a network. The LAN clients can then be configured with the virtual switch as their default gateway. The virtual switch, representing a group of switches, is also known as a VRRPv3 group.
VRRP supports Virtual Routing and Forwarding instances (VRFs). By default, Cisco NX-OS places you in the default VRF unless you specifically configure another VRF.
If you change the VRF membership of an interface, Cisco NX-OS removes all Layer 3 configuration, including VRRP.
For more information, see Configuring Layer 3 Virtualization.