Towards a Next Generation Data Center Architecture: Scalability and Commoditization

Albert Greenberg, Parantap Lahiri, David A. Maltz, Parveen Patel, and Sudipta Sengupta


Applications hosted in today’s data centers suffer from internal

fragmentation of resources, rigidity, and bandwidth constraints imposed

by the architecture of the network connecting the data center’s

servers. Conventional architectures statically map web services

to Ethernet VLANs, each constrained in size to a few hundred

servers owing to control plane overheads. The IP routers used

to span traffic across VLANs and the load balancers used to spray

requests within a VLAN across servers are realized via expensive

customized hardware and proprietary software. Bisection bandwidth

is low, severly constraining distributed computation. Further, the

conventional architecture concentrates traffic in a few pieces of

hardware that must be frequently upgraded and replaced to keep

pace with demand - an approach that directly contradicts the prevailing

philosophy in the rest of the data center, which is to scale

out (adding more cheap components) rather than scale up (adding

more power and complexity to a small number of expensive components).

Commodity switching hardware is now becoming available

with programmable control interfaces and with very high port speeds

at very low port cost, making this the right time to redesign the data

center networking infrastructure. In this paper, we describe Monsoon,

a new network architecture, which scales and commoditizes

data center networking. Monsoon realizes a simple mesh-like architecture

using programmable commodity layer-2 switches and

servers. In order to scale to 100,000 servers or more, Monsoon

makes modifications to the control plane (e.g., source routing) and

to the data plane (e.g., hot-spot free multipath routing via Valiant

Load Balancing). It disaggregates the function of load balancing

into a group of regular servers, with the result that load balancing

server hardware can be distributed amongst racks in the data

center leading to greater agility and less fragmentation. The architecture

creates a huge, flexible switching domain, supporting any

server/any service and unfragmented server capacity at low cost.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inPRESTO Workshop at SIGCOMM
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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