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The authors present PAST, a novel network architecture for data center Ethernet networks that implements a Per-Address Spanning Tree routing algorithm. PAST preserves Ethernet's self-configuration and mobility support while increasing its scalability and usable bandwidth. PAST is explicitly designed to accommodate unmodified commodity hosts and Ethernet switch chips. Surprisingly, they find that PAST can achieve performance comparable to or greater than Equal-Cost MultiPath (ECMP) forwarding, which is currently limited to layer-3 IP networks, without any multipath hardware support. In other words, the hardware and firmware changes proposed by emerging standards like TRILL are not required for high-performance, scalable Ethernet networks.
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