SPAIN: Design and Algorithms for Constructing Large Data-Center Ethernets From Commodity Switches

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Operators of data centers want a scalable network fabric that supports high bisection bandwidth and host mobility, but which costs very little to purchase and administer. Ethernet almost solves the problem - it is cheap and supports high link bandwidths - but traditional Ethernet does not scale, because its spanning-tree topology forces traffic onto a single tree. Many researchers have described "Scalable Ethernet" designs to solve the scaling problem, by enabling the use of multiple paths through the network. However, most such designs require specific wiring topologies, which can create deployment problems, which could obviate the commodity pricing of these parts. This paper describes SPAIN ("Smart Path Assignment In Networks"). SPAIN provides multipath forwarding using inexpensive, commodity off-the-shelf (COTS) switches, over arbitrary topologies.