VRF is its full form is about Labeling (via MPLS) your traffic at layer 3 ( similar concept to Vlans at layer 2). In VRF , traffic is isolated from source to destination through the MPLS cloud which uses MPBGP in the service provider Cloud environment. RD and RTs (Route Distinguishers and Route Targets) are incorporated for overlapping Route segregation and using Common services.
VRF-lite is normally VRF without MPLS and MPBGP (We can call VRF Lite a subset of VRF). VRF lite can be called a way of virtualizing network elements and various Security zones inside Data Center or Office LAN environment. This can be used if enterprise has networks of overlapping IP addresses or some segments are required to traverse through network Firewall. VRF-lite configuration doesn’t need the route-target and can be done by static or dynamic routing under its vrf instance.
VRF vs VRF LITE
Below table compares both the VRF and VRF Lite and shares their differences :
|MBGP VPNv4 or MPLS required for running full VRF.
|VRF-lite is a subset of the MPLS VPN functionality. It supports only the VRF related functionality (no MBGP VPNv4 or MPLS required).
|VRF is VRF with MPLS and MPBGP
|VRF-lite is normally VRF without MPLS and MPBGP
|Full VRF is useful in Service Provider WAN environment where multiple customers are required to be routes across overlapping IP address space. Commonly limited to PE (Provider edge) equipment.
|VRF lite is generally used in enterprise and Data Center environment.
|May require Route target as part of configuration in service provider domain.
|Doesn’t need Route target as part of configuration
|VRF detail is shared between devices running VRF
|VRFs are locally significant and detail is not shared between devices running VRF lite
|Highly scalable solution
|Is a super-set of VRF-lite
|Is a super-set of VRF MPLS
|Scope – Useful in Service Provider environment for segregating Customer Routing Table on the WAN (MPLS) side.
|Scope – Useful in Customer Data Center environment for segregating Customer Security Zones in routing tables on the LAN side of IT setup.
Download the difference table: vrf vs vrf lite