Ethernet Fabric (VDX, CNA)

Retired-Super Contributor
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎05-12-2010

What is an Ethernet Fabric?

Compared to classic hierarchical Ethernet, Ethernet fabrics provide higher levels of performance, utilization, availability, and simplicity. They have the following characteristics:

  • Flatter.  Ethernet fabrics are self-aggregating, enabling a flatter network.
  • Intelligent.  Switches in the fabric know about each other and all connected devices.
  • Scalable.  All paths are available for high performance and high reliability.
  • Efficient.  Traffic automatically travels along the shortest path.
  • Simple.  The fabric is managed as a single logical entity.

So who needs more performance, better bandwidth utilization, an always up network, and simplicity?  Yes, everyone does.  But, if we have gotten this far with classic hierarchical Ethernet networks, why can’t we just continue using it? There is a primary reason classic hierarchical Ethernet will be replaced with Ethernet fabrics.  To borrow a well used phrase, “It’s the Applications, Stupid!!”.  And in particular, the removal of the static relationship between an application and the server courtsey of virtual servers and their highly mobile virtual machines, the new container for applications.

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