Datacenter Ethernet

Innovative solutions for evolving datacenters

Aricent has a comprehensive set of frameworks and services for cloud computing and datacenter networks as they evolve through 10G, 40G, 100G and beyond. Our data center Ethernet services and software frameworks can be used to build and manage converged datacenters, deliver web services and enable storage networks to communicate over a single Ethernet network. This allows datacenters to scale up, add more computing capacity, increase storage and upgrade the network fabric. Our comprehensive software frameworks are based on extensions to Ethernet that have been proposed by IEEE in order to provide the lossless, guaranteed, low-latency services that are critical for datacenters.

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Aricent’s Intelligent Switching Solution

Aricent’s standards-compliant ISS software framework enables telecom equipment manufacturers to develop a wide range of intelligent Datacenter Ethernet switching applications that have been tried, tested and deployed in commercial datacenter products around the world.

Aricent’s Datacenter Ethernet Offerings:

Datacenter Bridging Capability Exchange

Datacenter Bridging Capability Exchange (DCBX) eliminates the need to configure a large number of switches in the network. Aricent’s DCBX software is a portable implementation of the DCBX protocol specified in the 802.1Qaz that allows devices enabled for datacenter bridging to discover and exchange information about their administratively configured capabilities. Datacenter bridging software is an important feature in Aricent’s ISS software framework for datacenter network switches, and is also available as an independent licensable protocol stack.

The software is implemented in a modular and portable manner, which enables easy integration with a variety of devices based on different combinations of processors and operating systems. Additionally, the software is implemented with clearly defined interfaces to other components such as LLDP, ETS, EPCN, PFC and QoS, and also includes an abstraction layer to support multiple operating systems.

Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links

As datacenters become more dense with ever-increasing numbers of devices, switches and connections, distance-vector-based spanning tree mechanisms are no longer sufficient to deliver the required network convergence times and scalability. Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) has emerged as a viable alternative to this problem. TRILL combines the flexibility and cost benefits of Layer 2 Ethernet switching with the scalability and rapid convergence capability of link state routing algorithms.

Aricent’s TRILL software is a portable implementation of the mechanisms specified in the IETF RFCs for TRILL and Routing Bridges. It is a key feature of Aricent’s ISS software framework for datacenter network switches and is also available as an independent licensable protocol stack.

Fiber Channel Over Ethernet Initialization Protocol Snooping

Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) Initialization Protocol (FIP) snooping is a means for Ethernet bridges and switches to install access control lists (ACLs) to provide secure FCoE interconnect over an Ethernet network. FIP snooping uses dynamic access control lists to enforce fiber channel rules and allows access to only those servers that have logged into the fiber channel network.

Aricent’s FIP snooping is a portable implementation of FIP snooping that’s based on the T11/08-264v3 specification.

N_Port ID Virtualization Proxy

The N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) specification is defined for storage nodes to present multiple N_Port_IDs, over a single physical port, to fiber channel switches. This allows multiple fiber channel initiators to occupy a single physical port. NPIV proxy allows FCoE-enabled switches to extend a similar functionality between fiber channel switches and FCoE-enabled servers or storage nodes.

Aricent’s NPIV proxy is a portable implementation of the NPIV proxy functionality.

Priority Flow Control

Priority Flow Control (PFC) enhances the traditional Ethernet flow control mechanism to implement flow control in a differentiated manner for frames bearing different priority tags—so the network can provide differentiated treatment for critical applications like storage. This eliminates delay and loss of frames due to network congestion and is vital for sensitive applications, which assume a lossless transmission medium. A portable implementation of PFC as specified in the IEEE 802.1Qbb standard is an integral feature in Aricent’s ISS software framework for datacenter network switches.

Congestion Notification

Congestion Notification (CN) provides congestion management for fiber channel and storage applications that don’t have built-in congestion control mechanisms. It provides the mechanism for a switch or the receiver of a traffic flow to give feedback to the traffic source—reducing its transmission rate and eliminating congestion. A portable implementation of CN as specified in the IEEE 802.1Qau standard is a feature of our ISS software framework for datacenter network switches.

Enhanced Transmission Selection

Simplistic 802.1p-defined priority queuing can no longer provide the differentiated treatment that’s needed for converged datacenters. So our Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS) extends the priority-based Ethernet frame classification to support a flexible drop-free scheduler that prioritizes traffic based on bandwidth groups. This helps maximize link utilization by removing bandwidth constraints for sensitive and critical applications that were built for near-zero delay and lossless transmission mediums. A portable implementation of ETS as specified in the IEEE 802.1Qaz standard is part of our ISS software framework for datacenter network switches.

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