Stanford Networking Seminar

12:15PM, Thursday February 26, 2009
Gates 104

A Scalable Data Center Network Architecture

Amin Vahdat
UC San Diego

About the talk:
Today's data centers may contain tens of thousands of computers with significant aggregate bandwidth requirements. The network architecture typically consists of a tree of routing and switching elements, relying on aggregation to higher-speed links and progressively more specialized equipment moving up the network hierarchy. Unfortunately, even when deploying the highest-end IP switches/routers, resulting topologies may still oversubscribe the aggregate bandwidth available at the edge of the networkf, while still incurring tremendous cost. Non-uniform bandwidth among data center nodes complicates application design and limits overall system performance.
This talk shows how to leverage same-speed Ethernet switches to support the full aggregate bandwidth of clusters consisting of tens of thousands of elements. Similar to how clusters of commodity computers have largely replaced more specialized SMPs and MPPs, we argue that appropriately architected and interconnected commodity switches can deliver more performance at less cost than available from today's higher-end solutions. Our approach requires no modifications to the end host network interface, operating system, or applications; critically, it is fully backward compatible with Ethernet, IP, and TCP.

About the speaker:
Amin Vahdat is a Professor and holds the Science Applications International Corporation Chair in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California San Diego. He is also the Director of UCSD's Center for Networked Systems. Vahdat's research focuses broadly on computer systems, including distributed systems, networks, and operating systems. He received his PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 1998 under the supervision of Thomas Anderson after spending the last year and a half as a Research Associate at the University of Washington. Before joining UCSD in 2004, he was on the faculty at Duke University from 1999-2003. He received the NSF CAREER award in 2000, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 2003, and the Duke University David and Janet Vaughn Teaching Award in 2003.