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Posted April 9, 2004
BGP for the Enterprise and Service Providers
BGP Design and Implementation (ISBN: 1587051095, Cisco Press) is a new and welcome addition to Cisco Presss growing BGP library. Unlike previous BGP works, this book assumes that the reader already has a solid understanding of BGP theory and mechanics, and is geared for those people interested in real world BGP design, implementation, and management in enterprise and service provider networks. The book covers the following four major categories: advanced BGP, BGP in Enterprise Networks, BGP in Service Provider Networks, and BGP Multiprotocol Extensions. As the title suggests, BGP Design and Implementation goes into the depths of what to consider when implementing or managing a large BGP network. It is not for the casual reader as it's filled with large-scale design theory, and unless you're actually working with BGP at this level, it will be mostly an academic exercise and can drag on at times. Other foundational BGP theory books such as Halabi's Internet Routing Architectures will be a better fit for the CCNP/CCIE student. On the other hand, if the reader does or is contemplating using BGP at the enterprise or service provider level, this is an excellent resource to read and keep as a reference. The real value of this book is in the practical configuration designs that the authors propose based off of their experiences. For example, the explanation of BGP memory and CPU tuning based on small packet handling efficiency is not only surprisingly informative, but Zhang and Bartell solidify their theory by providing benchmark results. Not to be misunderstood, there is plenty of 'theory' in this book, but it normally prefaces a case study that ties the practical to the theoretical. The service provider section of the book proves to be interesting, going into examples of how providers more commonly use route reflectors, or how transit and peering connectivity is controlled. The section on BGP extensions regarding MPLS VPNs, multicast, and IPv6 is of additional value to the service provider engineer as it explains how BGP can help expand these concepts into a broader scale, spreading across disparate networks and protocols. If you have the proper expectations before reading the book, there really aren't that many drawbacks to the book itself. There aren't a lot of straight IOS config examples, but rather much of the conversation stays at the design level, which if you're the type of person that prefers to actually see the CLI commands, this can be frustrating at times. It's also questionable as to how valuable the third section of the book (service provider networks) would be to actual experienced service providers, but from an enterprise customer perspective, it's very informative. To the casual reader and someone not very familiar with BGP, this book will most likely prove to be much too boring and technically challenging. Perhaps a subtitle of 'Enterprise and Service Provider Networks' would've better clarified the scope of the book. Overall though, it is an excellent resource for people serious about BGP, and it's even more helpful to those actually working with BGP as it provides useful, practical design and tuning models.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2004
I recently read the book titled ¿BGP Design and Implementation¿ by Randy Zhang and Micah Bartell. ISBN: 1587051095. In my opinion, this title is a magnificent compliment to two other great titles from Cisco Press, ¿Internet Routing Architectures¿, by Sam Halabi, ISBN: 157870233X and we mustn¿t forget the other great title ¿Cisco BGP-4 Command and Configuration Handbook¿ by William Parkhurst, ISBN: 158705017X. Each title has it¿s own strengths, but ¿BGP Design and Implementation¿ is a great hybrid of the two former titles on BGP. This book covers information that is either extremely hard to find, privileged information or it just hadn¿t been documented yet. This book gives you the knobs to turn, to tune BGP into everything it can be. I think the book is laid out very well. The authors do a great job of laying down foundational information on the subjects that are discussed in later chapters. The book starts off and goes 0 to 60 in about two chapters. Advanced topics and issues are discussed first, so the reader is not left in the dust when the more complex topics and details are covered. There are some great tip pertaining to BGP convergence tuning. The chapter is very well documented with several supporting examples. Some of the sections give great detail and are easily understood, but there are no command examples of how to implement the information. For example, TCP tuning is well documented, but there is no information on how to change the Maximum Segment Size on a router. Another great section pertains to how to leverage a feature in OSPF so that OSPF is aware of BGP. Unfortunately, the feature appears to be limited to a special IOS release. So certain sections would require the reader to either know how to implement the information or to look up the related commands to implement the information. The use of confederations, Route Reflectors and VPN/MPLS are well documented and studied in this book. The Authors have done a wonderful job of explaining the challenges of using Route Reflectors and Confederations and even how to migrate the two. These topics are very complex in nature, yet the books explanations and supporting diagrams are easy to follow, turning a complex issue into a manageable one. This book is best suited for Intermediate to Expert Networking professionals. Because of it¿s heavy information on ISP related features, I¿d say that Networking Professionals in the ISP space would get the most bang out of this book, not to count out the Enterprise folks though. This book has a wealth of information that can help the Enterprise professionals take a BGP implementation to the next level or perhaps fine tune the protocol to get maximum performance.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2004
Advanced Topic, Excellent Book
BGP Design and Implementation (ISBN: 1-58705-109-5, Cisco Press) is a must-have for anyone who works with BGP on a regular basis. Whereas other books explain BGP operation, this book goes to the next step in explaining design issues for both enterprise and service provider networks. This is an advanced book, and assumes a fundamental understanding of BGP operation. This is evidenced by the first chapter alone, titled Advanced BGP Introduction. If you are looking for a book that goes beyond explaining BGP routing and dives into the intricacies and real-world concerns of using BGP, then this is the book to buy. In the first part of the book, Randy Zhang (Ph.D., CCIE) and Micah Bartell (CCIE) offer general tips on tuning BGP performance and BGP policies, including how to determine memory requirements, convergence tuning, and queuing performance. Next, in part II, Zhang and Bartell explain design recommendations for BGP enterprise networks. There are plenty of configuration examples and diagrams to illustrate such advanced concepts as multihoming, route filtering, and load-balancing. As anyone who works with BGP in the enterprise knows, configuring load-balancing and route filtering can be a complex task; BGP Design and Implementation clarifies the issues and makes configuration easy. This section concludes with a relevant case study that, unlike most case studies on BGP that fall short of representing real networks, actually portrays situations that one may encounter in a live network. In part III, the authors address common issues in service provider networks. Specifically, route reflectors and confederations are compared in regards to their usage among service providers. These technologies are used to address scalability issues, a common concern for anyone who manages a large service provider network. Because of the varied migration methods in working with route reflectors and confederations, the authors provide four different case studies. As an added bonus, there is a case study in how to prevent denial-of-service attacks against service provider networks. With nine pages of configuration examples at the end of this chapter, this is the most detailed example of preventing DoS attacks that I have ever seen. In part IV, Zhang and Bartell detail the BGP multiprotocol extensions and how they are being used for MPLS VPNs, multicasting, and IPv6. In appendix A, MBGP extensions for CLNS is covered. Throughout the book are countless configuration examples to aid in understanding the advanced BGP topics. There are few books parallel to the detail provided in this book. Until now, network engineers in service provider and enterprise networks had to rely on experience alone to teach them how to properly deploy BGP. Now, Zhang and Bartell have condensed years of experience and expertise into a single source. Both Zhang and Bartell work for Cisco Systems; Zhang works with Cisco strategic service provider and enterprise customers, while Bartell is a member of the ISP Experts team. It is definitely written for an advanced audience who are already familiar with the workings of BGP, but for those who work with BGP on a regular basis, this is an invaluable resource.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2004
Great new resource for BGP!
BGP Design and Implementation (Zhang, Bartell Cisco Press, 2004, ISBN 1-58705-109-5) is a valuable addition to the literature on BGP. The book really shines by providing content that is not available in any other volume that I am aware of. This book provides an advanced look at BGP and is not for someone without prior knowledge of BGP. This book is aimed more at an engineer with a Service Provider, a large enterprise with a complex BGP network, or an individual pursuing the CCIE certification. The first section of the book provides a high level overview of BGP and then immediately delves into a good discussion of IOS Switching (though in my opinion the definitive work on this subject is the great Cisco Press book Inside Cisco IOS Software Architecture by Bollapragada, Murphy and White). A fairly detailed case study of BGP memory usage is then presented as well as some memory optimization techniques using peer groups. The next chapter provides an excellent collection of BGP performance tuning techniques specifically around optimizing the BGP convergence time. While a lot of this information can be gleaned from multiple documents on Cisco¿s web site, the book presents the information in a logical flow that greatly enhances the reader¿s overall comprehension. Chapter 4 discusses the various policy control methods available in BGP and provides the first of many case studies that discuss real world BGP scenarios. These case studies, which appear throughout the rest of the book, are especially valuable as they provide excellent guidance on topics such as merging AS¿s, deploying BGP core networks, deployment/migration of confederations and route reflectors, and Inter-AS VPNs with MPLS. I recommend having a copy of William Parkhurst¿s Cisco BGP-4 Command and Configuration Handbook (Cisco Press, 2001) around as you go through the case studies as the authors describe the concepts and then proceed to provide an example or case study without a lot of handholding on the IOS configuration, and Parkhurst¿s book can fill in some gaps. Part II of the book is focused on the needs of enterprise BGP networks. Much of this material is in Sam Halabi¿s Internet Routing Architectures book, though this volume provides a fresh look at enterprise issues such as multihoming, load balancing and inbound/outbound filtering, and the case studies are more complete than the content in Halabi¿s book. The book also provides some great information on alternative BGP architectures for really large enterprises which may be bumping up against the scalability limitations of their IGP¿s or have a need for multiple autonomous administrative domains within their networks. Part III covers Service Provider (SP) networks. I found this section especially valuable as most of the available books are written for enterprise network administrators so it is usually difficult for admins at service providers to get this material except from their peers, at ISPCon or Cisco Networkers. There is very in-depth coverage of Route Reflectors and Confederations, the relative merits of each, and deployment and migration case studies. These case studies should be very helpful for some preparing for the CCIE lab exam that can include some difficult scenarios on these topics. The chapter on SP architecture is a little light, but it does cover the major issues and provide some best practices for the SP network admin, but not really for the network architect. Part IV has chapters on BGP as it relates to MPLS VPN, Interdomain Multicast, and IPV6. This information is also not widely available without rooting through the RFCs and this book provides a good overview so that you can read (and understand) the RFCs. Overall, this book is an outstanding follow up book for someone learning BGP (after they first digest Halabi¿s classic!) and wanting to advance their knowledge, or a more experienced engineer who wants to broaden their understanding or learn one of the topicsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.