Data Center Fabrics Update

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The initial Data Center Fabric Architectures webinar describing fabric architectures from numerous vendors is augmented with annual update sessions. The update sessions document the progress and changes to product lines and architectures the vendors made in the last 6-18 months.


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In 2017 we didn't run a dedicated live update session, but included the information on new hardware and software functionality in merged videos released in autumn 2017, the only exception being an update on Cumulus Linux with Dinesh Dutt.

Previous update sessions

2016 update sessions included:

  • Redesigned Requirements section (May 12th 2016)
  • Redesigned Fabric Architectures sections (June 1st 2016)
  • New hardware and software features from Arista and Cumulus Linux (June 22nd 2016)
  • New hardware and software features from Brocade and Cisco (September 19th 2016)
  • New hardware and software features from Dell, HP and Juniper (autumn 2016)

May 2015 update session included:

  • New 100GE switches from Arista and VXLAN support in Arista EOS;
  • VDX 6940 switches from Brocade and new Network OS features including Fabric Virtual Gateway;
  • Cisco Nexus 9000-series switches and new Nexus OS features including VM tracker and VXLAN support;
  • New switches from Dell Force10 and their VXLAN and OpenFlow support;
  • HP Data Center switches and OpenFlow support;
  • Overview of Juniper QFX10000 switch

May 2014 update session included:

  • New Spline switches from Arista and new Arista EOS features;
  • A whole new look on Brocade VCS fabric, including L2 and L3 forwarding, logical chassis and virtual fabrics, STP and LACP integration, and VMware NSX VXLAN gateway;
  • New Cisco Nexus switches, an overview of Dynamic Fabric Automation, and description of anycast HSRP and routing protocol peering over vPC+
  • A completely overhauled Dell Force10 section;
  • An overview of data center protocols in various HP data center switches;
  • Rewritten description of Juniper's Virtual Chassis and enhancements introduced in Virtual Chassis Fabric.

May 2013 update session included a special guest star - Dan Backman, solution architect @ Plexxi - who described Plexxi's approach to scale-out data center fabrics. The update session also covered numerous Arista EOS software enhancements, Cisco Nexus 6000 and Juniper EX 9200.

November 2012 update session described Arista 7150, Brocade VDX 8770 and layer-3 forwarding in VCS fabric, Nexus 7004, Nexus 3548 and major additions to NX-OS software, micro-QFabric and Junos 12.2 release, and new software features of Dell Force10.

May 2012 update session described the changes the above-mentioned vendors introduced in the six months since the initial webinar and added few more criteria:

  • Optimal layer-3 forwarding across the fabric;
  • Layer-3 path isolation support (be it MPLS/VPN or multiple VRF-like routing tables);
  • IPv6 support;
  • Table sizes (IPv4 table, IPv6 table, MAC table, ARP table, ND table).

Data Center Fabric Architectures webinar focused on fabric architectures and classified them based on control and data plane position within the fabric. It also described product offerings from Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, Arista Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Force10 Networks, HP, Juniper and NEC as of November 2011.

The Authors

Dinesh DuttDinesh Dutt has been in the networking industry for the past 20 years, most of it at Cisco Systems. Most recently, he was the Chief Scientist at Cumulus Networks, working on simplifying configuration and operations with inventions such as BGP Unnumbered and NetQ. Before Cumulus, he was a Fellow at Cisco Systems. He has been involved in enterprise and data center networking technologies, including the design of many of the ASICs that powered Cisco's mega-switches such as Cat6K and the Nexus family of switches. He also has experience in storage networking from his days at Andiamo Systems and in the design of FCoE. He is a co-author of TRILL and VxLAN and has filed for over 40 patents.

Ivan PepelnjakIvan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354 Emeritus, is an independent network architect, book author, blogger and regular speaker at industry events like Interop, RIPE and regional NOG meetings. He has been designing and implementing large-scale service provider and enterprise networks since 1990, and is currently using his expertise to help multinational enterprises and large cloud- and service providers design next-generation data center and cloud infrastructure using Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) approaches and technologies.

Ivan is the author of several books covering data center technologies, highly praised webinars, and dozens of data center and cloud-related technical articles published on his blog.

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