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SPAIN: COTS Data-Center Ethernet for Multipathing over Arbitrary Topologies

Date and Time
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Computer Science 402
Jeff Mogul, HP Labs
Jennifer Rexford
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, or changes to the network switches, which could obviate the commodity pricing of these parts.

In this talk, I will describe SPAIN ("Smart Path Assignment In Networks"). SPAIN provides multipath forwarding using inexpensive, commodity off-the-shelf COTS) Ethernet switches, over arbitrary topologies. SPAIN pre-computes a set of paths that exploit the redundancy in a given network topology, then merges these paths into a set of trees; each tree is mapped as a separate VLAN onto the physical Ethernet. SPAIN requires only minor end-host software modifications, including a simple algorithm that chooses between pre-installed paths to efficiently spread load over the network. We demonstrate SPAIN's ability to improve bisection bandwidth over both simulated and experimental data-center networks.

Joint work with Jayaram Mudigonda and Praveen Yalagandula, and with Mohammad Al-Fares (UCSD)

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