Data Centers

PortLand: A Scalable Fault-Tolerant Layer 2 Data Center Network Fabric

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Executive Summary

This paper considers the requirements for a scalable, easily manageable, fault-tolerant, and efficient data center net-work fabric. Trends in multi-core processors, end-host virtualization, and commodities of scale are pointing to future single-site data centers with millions of virtual end points. Existing layer 2 and layer 3 network protocols face some combination of limitations in such a setting: lack of scalability, difficult management, inflexible communication, or limited support for virtual machine migration. To some ex-tent, these limitations may be inherent for Ethernet/IP style protocols when trying to support arbitrary topologies. The author observes that data center networks are often managed as a single logical network fabric with a known baseline topology and growth model.

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