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We're currently using Quagga with Debian Linux to run a full table BGP router. The set-up has been dead simple up to now, but we've come to a point where I have to reconfigure the router quite a bit, and want to tighten things up.

I've never really understood Quagga, and always found its documentation to be lacking. It appears to be mimicking Cisco, of which I only have basic understanding.

BIRD has caught my eye recently. The couple of articles / presentations I found promote it as lightweight and more responsive under stress compared to Quagga. And it actually seems to have very decent documentation.

So I'd like to know:

  • Who's running BIRD right now, and in what kind of set-up?
  • How is it stability-wise? I've read about it running in a couple of sites in production.
  • Let's say I don't care at all for a Cisco-feel to configuration. How is configuration, maintainance, monitoring, etc. of BIRD in general?
  • And any other notable experiences you may have with it.
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  • It seems like a few internet exchanges are running bird as route servers in their production network see here for a few examples
  • I am part of dn42(networking playground of sorts) and so far I had no problems with bird at all(unlike quagga, which burned me a few times, so it's safe to say it should work on an public production environment too.)
  • If you like editing your configuration with an proper editor or want to generate the configuration from some datasource or so(which I do), then bird is for you. If you prefer to edit your configuration via an command line interface, then not so much.
  • BIRD requires you to run a seperate daemon for IPv4 and IPv6(unlike quagga), but that's no big loss IMHO, as running IPv4 and IPv6 over the same peering is a PITA in quagga anyway.
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Most of the feedback that I've encountered about BIRD has been in an IX capacity. Meaning that the tests and experiences have been quite specific. Yet, if it has proved stable in such use cases, then you can rest assured that it should be production ready for you as an "end user" so to speak.

Here are two presentations from a recent UKNOF that you should find relevant:

You might want to also consider OpenBGP as an option, of which I can personally attest to the production quality of. It's setup is also primarily config file based, which I always consider a bonus because it makes for easy driving with Configuration Management and versioning. Likewise it doesn't contain any faux-Cisco nasties. However it does require an OpenBSD install, which you might consider outside you comfort range for OSs.

Either way, take a breath of fresh air and ditch Quagga :)

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The second presentation refers to another presentation which was held at NANOG in February. That is also available online at: nanog.org/meetings/nanog48/abstracts.php?pt=MTUxMyZuYW5vZzQ4 –  Shtééf Jun 22 '10 at 9:25

I use bird on a couple of Anycast nodes and the stability and ease of configuration has been excellent.

On our regular routers we use Vyatta and I wish they'd replace the bgp daemon there with bird. :-)

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