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Today's data centers are shared among multiple tenants running a wide range of applications. These applications require a network with a scalable and robust layer-2 network management solution that enables load-balancing and QoS provisioning. Ensemble routing was proposed to achieve management scalability and robustness by using Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) and operating on the granularity of flow ensembles, i.e. group of flows. The key challenge of intra-data-center traffic engineering with ensemble routing is the combinatorial optimization of VLAN assignment, i.e., optimally assigning flow ensembles to VLANs to achieve load balancing and low network costs. Based on the Markov approximation framework, the authors solve the VLAN assignment problem with a general objective function and arbitrary network topologies by designing approximation algorithms with close-to-optimal performance guarantees.
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