Network fabrics may not be the end-all

Feature-rich network fabrics have been all the rage, but one blogger says the technology is only for creating more bandwidth. Other features should be left to edge software.

TRILL is just one example of how networking pros have gone data center network fabric crazy. Data center fabrics aim to enable better management of network traffic in a virtual environment, allowing engineers to manage multiple physical and virtual network components as one. So who wouldn't love a fabric?

OpenFlow developer and Nicira co-founder, Martin Casado isn't necessarily a fan. In his Fast Packet blog “With edge software overlays, is network fabric just for raw bandwidth?” Casado admits that network fabrics free up bandwidth, but says “in a world of edge software overlays, it's possible that network fabrics don't necessarily need to be so feature rich.” Instead, he says network fabrics should offer “dumb -- but unified – bandwidth,” in addition to support of packet replication hardware, multi-cast management and QoS to avoid congestion. Other features like VLAN isolation and support for mobility should be left to edge software.

Read more about what Casado and co-writer Andrew Lambeth have to say about network fabric.

Next up, will OpenFlow controllers really change the way we run networking?

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