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

Hedgehog Fabric consists of the following components:

  • Fabricator - special tool to install and configure Fabric, or to run virtual labs
  • Control Node - one or more Kubernetes nodes in a single cluster 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) - kubectl plugin 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. With this representation, Fabric defines switches, servers, control nodes, external systems and connections between them in a single place and then uses these definitions to deploy and manage the whole infrastructure. On top of the Wiring Diagram, Fabric provides a set of APIs to manage the VPCs and the 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, containing for example: port group speeds, port breakouts, switch IP/ASN
    • 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
    • for example: MCLAG Peer Link, Unbundled/MCLAG server connections, Fabric connection between spine and leaf
  • 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 leaves)
  • 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: provides VPC with 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 and 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 Kubernetes
  • 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
    • Loads and runs Hedgehog's multi-stage installer
      • Network configuration and identity setup
      • Performs device registration
      • Hedgehog identity partition gets created on the switch
      • Downloads SONiC installer and runs it
      • Downloads Agent and its config and installs to the switch
  • Registration Controller
    • Device identity and registration
  • Actual SONiC installers
  • Miscellaneous: rsyslog/ntp


Control plane and switch agent.

  • Currently Fabric is basically a single controller manager running in Kubernetes
    • It includes controllers for different CRDs and needs
    • For example, auto assigning VNIs to VPCs or generating the Agent configuration
    • Additionally, it's running the admission webhook for Hedgehog's CRD APIs
  • The Agent is watching for the corresponding Agent CRD in Kubernetes API
    • It applies the changes and saves the new configuration locally
    • It reports some status and information back to the API
    • It can perform reinstallation and reboot of SONiC

Last update: May 6, 2024
Created: October 26, 2023