Breaking Down VXLAN Vs VRF Lite

Breaking Down VXLAN Vs VRF Lite

Data centers and cloud networks now depend heavily on network virtualization. For these networks, VXLAN is a common option. Modern networks require low latency, speed, and scalability in addition to safe segment separation. Virtualization in data centers has increased the demands on physical network infrastructure, making traditional networks unable to match application requirements. 

⭐ VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN)📶

VXLAN is intended to offer more extensibility and flexibility while still offering the same Ethernet Level 2 services as VLAN. VXLAN offers a multitenant, flexible solution over a shared physical infrastructure in a large multitenant environment. It uses UDP together with IP to traverse the physical network.

By extending Layer 2 segments across shared network infrastructure, VXLAN allows tenant workloads to be split among several physical pods in the datacenter.

VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN)
Fig 1.1- VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN)

With the usage of the VXLAN network identifier (VNID), a 24-bit segment ID, up to 16 million VXLAN segments can coexist in a single administrative domain.

Based on their Layer 3 header, VXLAN packets traverse the underlying network, using all accessible pathways through Layer 3 routing, link aggregation protocols, and equal-cost multipath (ECMP) routing.

⭐Related : 

⭐ VRF Lite 🔄

A feature in the MPLS environment called VRF-lite allows a service provider to offer several VPNs with the possibility of IP address overlap. By linking one or more Layer 3 interfaces to each VRF, VRF-lite creates virtual packet-forwarding tables by using input interfaces to differentiate routes for various VPNs. 

A Layer 3 interface cannot be a part of more than one VRF at once. Interfaces in a VRF can be either logical or physical, such Ethernet ports or VLAN SVIs.

VRF Lite
Fig 1.2- VRF Lite

Switches allow multiple VPN routing/forwarding instances in customer edge devices thanks to the VRF-lite capability. Multi-VRF CE, or multi-VRF Customer Edge Device, is another name for VRF-lite. Using a single interface, a service provider may offer many VPNs with overlapping IP addresses thanks to VRF-lite.

⭐Related : Do you know about VRF lite in MPLS networks ?

Let's check the below difference between these two protocols 

Fig 1.3- VXLAN vs VRF Lite

VXLAN is generally used at Layer 2.5 for network virtualization, allowing the establishment of separated virtual networks, whereas VRF Lite is used at Layer 3 for routing isolation, giving different routing contexts on a common router. 

The decision between these solutions is determined by your network and segmentation needs. VXLAN and VRF Lite may also be utilized in more complicated network topologies, with VXLAN enabling network virtualization and VRF Lite providing routing isolation inside such virtualized networks.