Networking

A Scalability Study of Enterprise Network Architectures

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Executive Summary

The largest enterprise networks already contain hundreds of thousands of hosts. Enterprise networks are composed of Ethernet subnets interconnected by IP routers. These routers require expensive configuration and maintenance. If the Ethernet subnets are made more scalable, the high cost of the IP routers can be eliminated. Unfortunately, it has been widely acknowledged that Ethernet does not scale well because it relies on broadcast, which wastes bandwidth, and a cycle-free topology, which poorly distributes load and forwarding state. There are many recent proposals to replace Ethernet, each with its own set of architectural mechanisms. These mechanisms include eliminating broadcasts, using source routing, and restricting routing paths.

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