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Hedgehog Open Network Fabric is build on top of Kubernetes and uses Kubernetes API to manage its resources. It means that all user-facing APIs are Kubernetes Custom Resources (CRDs) and so you can use standard Kubernetes tools to manage Fabric resources.

Hedgehog Fabric consists of the following components:

  • Fabricator - special tool that allows to install and configure Fabric as well as run virtual labs
  • Control Node - one or more Kubernetes nodes in a single clusters running Fabric software
    • Das Boot - set of services providing switch boot and installation
    • Fabric Controller - main control plane component that manages Fabric resources
  • Fabric Kubectl plugin (Fabric CLI) - plugin for kubectl that allows to manage Fabric resources in an easy way
  • Fabric Agent - runs on every switch and manages switch configuration

Fabric API

All infrastructure is represented as a set of Fabric resource (Kubernetes CRDs) and named Wiring Diagram. It allows to define switches, servers, control nodes, external systems and connections between them in a single place and then use it to deploy and manage the whole infrastructure. On top of it Fabric provides a set of APIs to manage the VPCs and connections between them and between VPCs and External systems.

Wiring Diagram API

Wiring Diagram consists of the following resources:

  • "Devices": describes any device in the Fabric
    • Switch: configuration of the switch, like port group speeds, port breakouts, switch IP/ASN, etc.
    • Server: any physical server attached to the Fabric including control nodes
  • Connection: any logical connection for devices
    • usually it's a connection between two or more ports on two different devices
    • incl. MCLAG Peer Link, Unbundled/MCLAG server connections, Fabric connection between spine and leaf etc.
  • VLANNamespace -> non-overlapping VLAN ranges for attaching servers
  • IPv4Namespace -> non-overlapping IPv4 ranges for VPC subnets

User-facing API

    • VPC: Virtual Private Cloud, similar to the public cloud VPC it provides an isolated private network for the resources with support for multiple subnets each with user-provided VLANs and on-demand DHCP
    • VPCAttachment: represents a specific VPC subnet assignment to the Connection object which means exact server port to a VPC binding
    • VPCPeering: enables VPC to VPC connectivity (could be Local where VPCs are used or Remote peering on the border/mixed leafs)
  • External API
    • External: definition of the "external system" to peer with (could be one or multiple devices such as edge/provider routers)
    • ExternalAttachment: configuration for a specific switch (using Connection object) describing how it connects to an external system
    • ExternalPeering: enables VPC to External connectivity by exposing specific VPC subnets to the external system and allowing inbound routes from it


Installer builder and VLAB.

  • Installer builder based on a preset (currently vlab for virtual & lab for physical)
  • Main input - wiring diagram
  • All input artifacts coming from OCI registry
  • Always full airgap (everything running from private registry)
  • Flatcar Linux for control node, generated ignition.json
  • Automatic k3s installation and private registry setup
  • All components and their dependencies running in K8s
  • Integrated Virtual Lab (VLAB) management
  • Future:
  • In-cluster (control) Operator to manage all components
  • Upgrades handling for everything starting control node OS
  • Installation progress, status and retries
  • Disaster recovery and backups

Das Boot

Switch boot and installation.

  • Seeder
  • Actual switch provisioning
  • ONIE on a switch discovers control node using LLDP
  • It loads and runs our multi-stage installer
    • Network configuration & identity setup
    • Performs device registration
    • Hedgehog identity partition gets created on the switch
    • Downloads SONiC installer and runs it
    • Downloads Agent and it's config and installs to the switch
  • Registration Controller
  • Device identity and registration
  • Actual SONiC installers
  • Misc: rsyslog/ntp


Control plane and switch agent.

  • Currently Fabric is basically single controller manager running in K8s
  • It includes controllers for different CRDs and needs
  • For example, auto assigning VNIs to VPC or generating Agent config
  • Additionally, it's running admission webhook for our CRD APIs
  • Agent is watching for the corresponding Agent CRD in K8s API
  • It applies the changes and saves new config locally
  • It reports back some status and information back to API
  • Can perform reinstall and reboot of SONiC

Last update: February 8, 2024
Created: October 26, 2023