About virtual routing and forwarding

Virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) devices combined with IP rules provide the ability to create virtual routing and forwarding domains. VRF reduces the number of permissions needed by CNF, and provides increased visibility of the network topology of secondary networks. VRF is used to provide multi-tenancy functionality, for example, where each tenant has its own unique routing tables and requires different default gateways.

Processes can bind a socket to the VRF device. Packets through the binded socket use the routing table associated with the VRF device. An important feature of VRF is that it impacts only OSI model layer 3 traffic and above so L2 tools, such as LLDP, are not affected. This allows higher priority IP rules such as policy based routing to take precedence over the VRF device rules directing specific traffic.

Benefits of secondary networks for pods for telecommunications operators

In telecommunications use cases, each CNF can potentially be connected to multiple different networks sharing the same address space. These secondary networks can potentially conflict with the cluster’s main network CIDR. Using the CNI VRF plugin, network functions can be connected to different customers' infrastructure using the same IP address, keeping different customers isolated. IP addresses are overlapped with OpenShift Container Platform IP space. The CNI VRF plugin also reduces the number of permissions needed by CNF and increases the visibility of network topologies of secondary networks.