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MaBo - MRT and BGP in OCaml


Developed since 2011 for the needs of the French Internet Resilience Observatory, MaBo is a MRT (RFC6396) and BGP (RFC4271) OCaml module, and a standalone command.

MaBo is able to seamlessly parse raw MRT dumps, as well as compressed (gzip & bz2) ones. It supports most of the BGP messages and attributes found in RIPE RIS MRT dumps.


Building MaBo

MaBo can be easily built on different operating systems. Three different methods are described below.


You need to install the following packages using apt, then build the mabo binary using make.

# apt-get install make oasis libbz2-ocaml-dev libzip-ocaml-dev libyojson-ocaml-dev gcc
$ make

OCaml Package Manager (opam)

On other operating systems and distribution, you can install opam, then type the following command line. Depending on your installation, you might also need to install the OCaml compiler, as well as bz2 and gzip headers.

$ opam pin add mabo . --yes

Building MaBo with opam was sucessfully tested on Debian, CentOS, Arch Linux, FreeBSD 10 and Mac OS X with Homebrew.


For convenience, the Dockerfile takes care of everything, and build the mabo binary. The following command lines show how to build the Docker image and launch the mabo prefixes sub-command on a local MRT dump.

$ docker build -t anssi/mabo .
$ docker run --rm -v latest-bview.gz:/bview.gz anssi/mabo:1.0 prefixes /bview.gz


MaBo has three sub-commands:

$ ./mabo 
usage: ./mabo {dump,prefixes,follow} ...

Process MRT dumps

  dump                   Dump the content a MRT file
  prefixes               List AS & prefixes in a MRT file
  follow                 Follow a list of IP prefixes in MRT files

Get some MRT files

To run the following command examples, you will need two MRT dumps available on the RIS RIPE website. Copying and pasting the following commands in a terminal will grab the lastest-bview.gz and lastest-update.gz dumps and store them at your current location.

$ wget http://data.ris.ripe.net/rrc01/latest-bview.gz
$ wget http://data.ris.ripe.net/rrc01/latest-update.gz

mabo dump

The dump sub-command parses a single MRT file, and print the data in MaBo JSON format. Each line corresponds either to a MRT TABLE_DUMP_V2 entry, or a BGP UPDATE message. The --legacy argument will print the data like bgpdump.

$ ./mabo dump latest-bview.gz | head -n1 | json_pp
   "type" : "table_dump_v2",
   "timestamp" : 1431590400,
   "prefix" : "",
   "entries" : [
         "originated_timestamp" : 1431110387,
         "as_path" : "39202 174 15169",
         "peer_as" : 39202,
         "peer_ip" : ""
         "originated_timestamp" : 1430127204,
         "as_path" : "29636 39326 15169",
         "peer_as" : 29636,
         "peer_ip" : ""
         "originated_timestamp" : 1431363203,
         "as_path" : "29611 174 15169",
         "peer_as" : 29611,
         "peer_ip" : "2001:7f8:4::73ab:1"

When fast processing is needed, the Python script src/mabo_dump_mp.py can be used take advantage of multi-cores. It is a simple wrapper around the dump sub-command that dispatch the processing to different mabo processes. A bview MRT dump can then be processed in less than 30 seconds. Here is an example command using 6 processes.

$ python ./src/mabo_dump_mp.py -j 6 -b ./mabo latest-bview.gz

mabo prefixes

The prefixes sub-command parses a single MRT file, and dump a list of AS and IP prefixes. The --asn-list argument can be used to restrict the output to a specific list of AS numbers.

$ echo 202214 > asn-list.txt
$ ./mabo prefixes --asn-list asn-list.txt latest-bview.gz | tee | cut -d" " -f2 > prefixes.txt
202214 2a01:a6a0::/32

The cut command is here to generate a prefixes.txt file as expected by the mabo follow command described bellow.

mabo follow

The follow sub-command parses multiple MRT files, whose filenames use the RIS naming convention. Its first mandatory argument is a file containing IP prefixes. It will follow UPDATE and WITHDRAW messages, and output the number of monitored prefixes seen at a given timestamp.

$ ./mabo follow prefixes.txt latest-bview.gz latest-update.gz 
1454227204 1
1454227204 2
1454227204 3
1454227207 4
1454227207 4

Compilation warnings

Depending on your environment, you might encounter the following compilation warnings, that can be ignored.

Deprecated modules

Depending on your OCaml compiler, you might get the following error. It is due to a change in OCaml 4.02 that aims to provide immutable strings.

Warning 3: deprecated: String.create
Use Bytes.create instead

C bindings

According to the OCaml documentation, the C bindings warning should be ignored:

[..] some C compilers give bogus warnings about unused variables caml__dummy_xxx at
each use of CAMLparam and CAMLlocal. You should ignore them.