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Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

Recently Arista released a white paper surrounding the idea that having deeper buffers running within the network can help to alleviate the incast congestion patterns that can present when a large number of many-to-one connections are happening within a network. Also known as the TCP incast problem. They pointedly targeted Hadoop clusters, as the incast problem can rear its ugly head when utilizing the Hadoop Cluster for  MapReduce functions. The study used an example of 20 servers hanging off of a single ToR switch that has 40Gbps of uplink capacity within a Leaf/Spine network, presenting a 5:1 oversubscription ratio. This type of oversubscription was just seen in the recent release of the Facebook network that is used within their data centers. So its safe to assume that these types of oversubscription ratios are seen in the wild. I know I’ve run my fair share o... (more)

PlexxiPulse—Facebook’s New Network

The internet has been buzzing about Facebook’s redesigned datacenter architecture. Facebook, which is used by more than 1.35 billion people, recently restructured their infrastructure to increase flexibility and agility to rapidly adjust to application requirements. Our own Marten Terpstra shared his take on the redesigned infrastructure this week on the Plexxi blog—it’s definitely worth a read. Below we share some of the articles that covered Facebook’s new datacenter architecture, as well as other happenings in the networking space this week. In this week’s PlexxiTube of the w... (more)

SDN and Organizational Grease

Depending on who you ask, the primary objective of SDN is to improve management and operations. By centralizing control, things like provisioning and troubleshooting can be streamlined, reducing the time and effort it takes to perform tasks. From that central point of control, a number of interfaces exist that make automation more effective, or at least more accessible. But there is more to operational efficiency than the commands and keystrokes required to get something done. Friction in any ecosystem is greatest at the boundaries between elements. When two things must work toge... (more)

Wizards are also for, well, wizards

I always enjoy reading the IPspace blog and as Ivan has stated about our blog, I don’t always agree with his opinion, but they are informative and cover just about everything networking. So this may come as a surprise, but in response to his “Do we have too many knobs” post from about a week ago I have one simple response: “Amen”. Networking is unnecessarily complicated. We have written several blogs on this topic and related items. I used to run the sustaining organization for all data products at my previous company and when you do the analysis of the customer reported issues ... (more)

Is the Facebook DC Architecture right for you?

A few weeks ago Facebook announced their new datacenter architecture in a post on their network engineering blog. Facebook is one of the few large web scale companies that is fairly open about their network architecture and designs and it gives many others the opportunity to see how a network can be scaled, even though the scale is well beyond what most will need in the foreseeable future, if not forever. In the post, Alexey walks through some of the thought process behind the architecture, which is ultimately the most important part of any architecture and design. Too often we ... (more)