Towards a Next Generation Data Center Architecture: Scalability and Commoditization

PRESTO Workshop at SIGCOMM |

Published by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.

Applications hosted in today’s data centers suffer from internal fragmentation of resources, rigidity, and bandwidth constraints imposed by the architecture of the network connecting the data center’s servers. Conventional architectures statically map web services to Ethernet VLANs, each constrained in size to a few hundred servers owing to control plane overheads. The IP routers used to span traffic across VLANs and the load balancers used to spray requests within a VLAN across servers are realized via expensive customized hardware and proprietary software. Bisection bandwidth is low, severly constraining distributed computation. Further, the conventional architecture concentrates traffic in a few pieces of hardware that must be frequently upgraded and replaced to keep pace with demand – an approach that directly contradicts the prevailing philosophy in the rest of the data center, which is to scale out (adding more cheap components) rather than scale up (adding more power and complexity to a small number of expensive components). Commodity switching hardware is now becoming available with programmable control interfaces and with very high port speeds at very low port cost, making this the right time to redesign the data center networking infrastructure. In this paper, we describe Monsoon, a new network architecture, which scales and commoditizes data center networking. Monsoon realizes a simple mesh-like architecture using programmable commodity layer-2 switches and servers. In order to scale to 100,000 servers or more, Monsoon makes modifications to the control plane (e.g., source routing) and to the data plane (e.g., hot-spot free multipath routing via Valiant Load Balancing). It disaggregates the function of load balancing into a group of regular servers, with the result that load balancing server hardware can be distributed amongst racks in the data center leading to greater agility and less fragmentation. The architecture creates a huge, flexible switching domain, supporting any server/any service and unfragmented server capacity at low cost.