Data Centers

Understanding Data Center Traffic Characteristics

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Executive Summary

As data centers become more and more central in Internet communications, both research and operations communities have begun to explore how to better design and manage them. This paper presents a preliminary empirical study of end-to-end traffic patterns in data center networks that can inform and help evaluate research and operational approaches. The paper analyzes SNMP logs collected at 19 data centers to examine temporal and spatial variations in link loads and losses. The paper finds that while links in the core are heavily utilized the ones closer to the edge observe a greater degree of loss. The paper then studies packet traces collected at a small number of switches in one data center and find evidence of ON-OFF traffic behavior.

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