Speeding up bgpq4 with IRRd in a container

Vincent Bernat

When building route filters with bgpq4 or bgpq3, the speed of rr.ntt.net or whois.radb.net can be a bottleneck. Updating many filters may take several tens of minutes, depending on the load:

$ time bgpq4 -h whois.radb.net AS-HURRICANE | wc -l
909869
1.96s user 0.15s system 2% cpu 1:17.64 total
$ time bgpq4 -h rr.ntt.net AS-HURRICANE | wc -l
927865
1.86s user 0.08s system 12% cpu 14.098 total

A possible solution is to run your own IRRd instance in your network, mirroring the main routing registries. A close alternative is to bundle IRRd with all the data in a ready-to-use Docker image. This also has the advantage of easy integration into a Docker-based CI/CD pipeline.

$ git clone https://github.com/vincentbernat/irrd-legacy.git -b blade/master
$ cd irrd-legacy
$ docker build . -t irrd-snapshot:latest
[…]
Successfully built 58c3e83a1d18
Successfully tagged irrd-snapshot:latest
$ docker container run --rm --detach --publish=43:43 irrd-snapshot
4879cfe7413075a0c217089dcac91ed356424c6b88808d8fcb01dc00eafcc8c7
$ time bgpq4 -h localhost AS-HURRICANE | wc -l
904137
1.72s user 0.11s system 96% cpu 1.881 total

The Dockerfile contains three stages:

  1. building IRRd,1
  2. retrieving various IRR databases, and
  3. assembling the final container with the result of the two previous stages.

The second stage fetches the databases used by rr.ntt.net: NTTCOM, RADB, RIPE, ALTDB, BELL, LEVEL3, RGNET, APNIC, JPIRR, ARIN, BBOI, TC, AFRINIC, ARIN-WHOIS, and REGISTROBR. However, it misses RPKI.2 Feel free to adapt!

The image can be scheduled to be rebuilt daily or weekly, depending on your needs. The repository includes a .gitlab-ci.yaml file automating the build and triggering the compilation of all filters by your CI/CD upon success.


  1. Instead of using the latest version of IRRd, the image relies on an older version that does not require a PostgreSQL instance and uses flat files instead. ↩︎

  2. Unlike the others, the RPKI database is built from the published RPKI ROAs. They can be retrieved with rpki-client and transformed into RPSL objects to be imported in IRRd↩︎

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