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Cloud data centers host diverse applications, mixing workloads that require small predictable latency with others requiring large sustained throughput. In this environment, today's state-of-the-art TCP protocol falls short. The authors present measurements of a 6000 server production cluster and reveal impairments that lead to high application latencies, rooted in TCP's demands on the limited buffer space available in data center switches. For example, bandwidth hungry "Background" flows build up queues at the switches, and thus impact the performance of latency sensitive "Foreground" traffic.
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