[UPDATE Feb 13, 2013]
After gaining some more years of experience, playing more with BGP also from SP perspective, I would recommend to be careful with this feature. It can help in your enterprise environment, where you have access to BGP routers and can clean the dampened prefixes. If you have your Service Provider involved in routing your prefixes, I would prefer that the SP does not enable this feature. Imagine that because of some flaps your provider dampen all your prefixes. Or negotiate your SLA in such way that the provider can support if the BGP dampening feature is active and you need support.
One of the issues that can affect BGP table stability is link flapping. Imagine that if a link to a network is flapping very often, BGP process has to remove the route to that network from the BGP table and implicit from the routing table and then we the link is available again to re-introduce the prefix in these tables. All this means some BGP operations that consume CPU and memory of the machine.
A way to improve the BGP table stability is to use route dampening. This BGP feature monitor the prefixes in the BGP table and when a route to some prefixes flaps more than BGP dampening is set to allow, it will take out the prefixes from the BGP table. In the following tutorial I will show you a way to configure BGP dampening with some explanations.
For this tutorial we will use the same topology like in the post “Cisco: BGP path selection for outgoing traffic” where we have already a working BGP environment. I took out the configuration for BGP path selection, so we have a simple BGP config running. If you do not have the topology, you can download it here and the initial configuration files here.
Please see the tutorial below: