Scalable and Agile Data Center Networking via Software Defined Network and Hybrid Control

Data center networks today begin to confront the scalability problem, especially for the multi-tenant data centers sharing the flat address space for different users. Classical Ethernet protocols have fundamental limitations at scale, due to broadcast flooding and the inefficient Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). Software Defined Network (SDN)/OpenFlow provides enough agility to leverage network forwarding plane to be more efficient, however, it suffers from considerable control plane overhead and the risk of single-point-of-failure in the control plane. In this paper, we present CNA (Cloud Network Architecture), a scalable and agile data center network architecture, which achieves flat layer-2 network virtualization and agile user-defined network topology in a cost-effective way. The innovations cover through both data plane and control plane. For the data plane, benefiting from Internet experience, CNA adopts core-edge separation architecture to cost-effectively support overlay and SDN/OpenFlow, with virtual VLAN support. For the control plane, a novel hybrid control model is proposed to greatly mitigate control plane overhead and enhance the reliability. Through evaluation, CNA is proven to achieve fast data plane forwarding with very low control overhead.

By: Yue Zhang, Kai Zheng, Chengchen Hu, Kai Chen, Hang Liu, Athanasios V. Vasilakos

Published in: RC25195 in 2011


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