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November 2010 Vol. 1, No. 1

Virtual cluster switching: Finding management in a flat network

Networking managers are taking varied paths toward architecting high performance networks. For some, the answer lies in a flat Layer 2 design, which can be difficult to manage.  That's where virtual cluster switching comes into play. Using virtual chassis technology, networking teams can manage multiple switches as one. The UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) is the very definition of a high-performance computing data center. The lab maps the human brain and continually adds scanned data to the nearly petabyte-sized imaging database, which is constantly accessed by about 1,000 researchers trying to understand and cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. Hundreds of researchers are active at any given time, working with datasets from 20 MB to hundreds of gigabytes. ike many enterprises that rely on high-performance computing, LONI implemented a non-blocked, flat Layer-2 network with all the racks of servers directly connected. But David Hasson, LONI director of information technology, found that he needed more ...

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