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How To Build a 100,000-Port Ethernet Switch

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the stretching-the-fabric dept.

Networking 174

BobB-nw writes "University of California at San Diego researchers Tuesday are presenting a paper (PDF) describing software that they say could make data center networks massively scalable. The researchers say their PortLand software will enable Layer 2 data center network fabrics scalable to 100,000 ports and beyond; they have a prototype running at the school's Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Jacobs School of Engineering. 'With PortLand, we came up with a set of algorithms and protocols that combine the best of layer 2 and layer 3 network fabrics,' said Amin Vahdat, a computer science professor at UC San Diego. 'Today, the largest data centers contain over 100,000 servers. Ideally, we would like to have the flexibility to run any application on any server while minimizing the amount of required network configuration and state... We are working toward a network that administrators can think of as one massive 100,000-port switch seamlessly serving over one million virtual endpoints.'"

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Cable management... (4, Insightful)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115601)

I hope they have invented something better than ordinary Ethernet cables to wire that ting with.

Re:Cable management... (2, Funny)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115635)

No, it's wireless silly billy!

Re:Cable management... (5, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115647)

No, it's wireless silly billy!

Good god, that means it's as reliable as my sex life. Like with REAL people, rather than me just ummm... actually... no, that's fine. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

This is bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29115877)

Slashdot only allows a user with your karma to post 20 times per day (more or less, depending on moderation). You've already shared your thoughts with us that many times. Take a breather, and come back and see us in 24 hours or so. If you think this is unfair, please email posting@slashdot.org with your username "niggers". Let us know how many comments you think you've posted in the last 24 hours.

Re:Cable management... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116391)

Sex, masturbation and porn are still rather taboo in Western culture - so if you refer to them in the right slightly coy way, it is considered amusing. Haha.

Re:Cable management... (3, Insightful)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116705)

Optical Switching with "no latency" via 10Gb/sec Multimode fiber up to 2 kilometers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_switching [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimode_fiber [wikipedia.org]

Low heat, low power, can use cheaper diode lasers, and no EMI or RFI issues on the fiber.

I was hoping they would have 100Gb/sec working, but it appears it still in the works.

It can be done in a MUX'd method using DWDM to send multiple freqs of light down the same
line on up to 160 channels on same strand of single mode last I checked.

At least that is what Wiki says.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DWDM#Dense_WDM [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cable management... (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117309)

I was hoping they would have 100Gb/sec working, but it appears it still in the works.

Easy! Lay 10 10Gb/sec cables next to each other!
Or hire bicycle messengers and give them hard drives. For the 2 km with 20km/h you would need to distribute 36 1TB hard drives. You can give each cycler one or give all to one bicycler, depending on what your latency requirements are.

Re:Cable management... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117581)

Maybe. If you can suggest how to reliably ensure the total latency of the link stays below below 100ms and the jitter does not exceed 10ms/s.

Oh no... (5, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115661)

I have nightmarish pictures popping into my head of a waterfall of ethernet cables spewing from this with user's ports un-numbered with no network diagrams. People bashing on the server room door in a zombie like state muttering "MRRRHH FACEBOOK!" "TWWIIIITEEEuggggghh" with me inside screeching "NO! NO! I DONT KNOW WHAT PORT YOUR DESK IS! NO! I CAN'T MAKE THINGS GO FASTER!" before curling up in a ball listening to the hum of servers and the lamentations of the users outside the door desperately scratching to get in.

Re:Oh no... (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115831)

I have nightmarish pictures popping into my head of a waterfall of ethernet cables spewing from this with user's ports un-numbered with no network diagrams.

I think this scenario is precisely why BOFHs have PFYs.

Re:Oh no... (1, Funny)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115947)

And shotguns. Shotguns work well on hordes.

Re:Oh no... (1, Funny)

RegularFry (137639) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117199)

But machetes don't run out of ammunition.

Re:Oh no... (1, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117215)

Or crowbars.

Re:Oh no... (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116117)

What a party it would be for people that likes to do broadcast storms!

Just purge the arp cache frequently and you will have a lot of broadcasts that can clog down the network.

Re:Oh no... (1)

JBdH (613927) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117717)

Too Elaborate. Just plug an ethernet cable in the same switch with both connectors: partytime.

Re:Oh no... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117935)

A 100,000 port switch without STP?

Don't Know What Port (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117231)

NO! NO! I DONT KNOW WHAT PORT YOUR DESK IS! NO!

That's funny. Because right now I'm doing consulting work for a major bank. They know what port I'm on all the time. In fact, they have software that monitors my traffic and immediately cuts it off if something they don't like happens.

I just bring in my Macbook with an EVDO dongle if I want to surf.

Re:Don't Know What Port (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117881)

It's probably just a software firewall that blocks your MAC instead of your ethernet port.

Re:Oh no... (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117331)

I have nightmarish pictures popping into my head of a waterfall of ethernet cables spewing from this with user's ports un-numbered with no network diagrams.

Whoa....someone needs a vacation.

Re:Oh no... (1)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117417)

Oh c'mon... man up! What you described is just an average day for some of us. The only network tool you need is a cattle prod.

Re:Oh no... (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117883)

According to the latest psychological theories [wikipedia.org] , this means you wish to wed thy mother and kill thy father.

Watch out for loose cables! (3, Funny)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115669)

I would seriously hate to be the guy that tripped over that power cable.

On the plus side it would be interesting to time how long it took for the DC's phone lines to melt.

-Matt

(redundant, redundant power. I know, I know)

Re:Watch out for loose cables! (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116709)

I would seriously hate to be the guy that tripped over that power cable.

A sentry gun will be installed in the power cable corridor, to execute you the precise moment you've done your tripping. So you wouldn't have time to hate being yourself.

(redundant, redundant power. I know, I know)

To answer your worried look: yes, there's a redundant sentry gun for the other cable too.

Re:Watch out for loose cables! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29118185)

How about installing those guns in a way, that vaporizes you right *before* you would trip that cable? Seems to make more sense to me...

Re:Watch out for loose cables! (1)

angus_rg (1063280) | more than 5 years ago | (#29118097)

And to think I thought virtualization was going to take off.

You still need isolation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29115693)

I've long been of the opinion that putting more than a few hundred hosts on a single layer 2 network is almost always a bad idea.

What do you do about broadcast storms? How do you prevent some clown from anywhere in that 100,000 machine cloud from poaching another machine's IP address (either maliciously or by an accidental typo)?

Subnets and routers were invented for a reason. Just because you can bridge the whole world together into one massive virtual Ethernet segment doesn't mean you should.

Re:You still need isolation (3, Funny)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115919)

Easy: don't use a switch, use a hub! Everything will be a broadcast storm!

Re:You still need isolation (2, Funny)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117887)

And you could label the hubs with cheeky names like Wilma, Andrew, Ivan, and Camille.

Re:You still need isolation (4, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116069)

What do you do about broadcast storms?

In the paper they detail how they handle ARP. All other broadcasts you can get away with dropping these days; use multicast instead. (Yes, that will break NETBIOS broadcast name lookups. So sad.)

How do you prevent some clown from anywhere in that 100,000 machine cloud from poaching another machine's IP address (either maliciously or by an accidental typo)?

That is a solved problem if you use decent switches. You can apply pretty much any policy you like.

Re:You still need isolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116545)

How do you prevent some clown from anywhere in that 100,000 machine cloud from poaching another machine's IP address (either maliciously or by an accidental typo)?

That is a solved problem if you use decent switches. You can apply pretty much any policy you like.

and then it becomes... say it with me, a router

Re:You still need isolation (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117453)

and then it becomes... say it with me, a router

Nope. Access controls are no more a router feature than they are a switch feature. They're just a feature that decent networking equipment has, no matter which layer it is operating on.

Re:You still need isolation (2, Funny)

amorsen (7485) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117595)

Quote fail. Sorry.

Re:You still need isolation (1)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116071)

You should RTFA. Most of it is about exactly those issues, of managing the address space.

Re:You still need isolation (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 5 years ago | (#29118247)

You should RTFA.

You must be new here

Re:You still need isolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29117179)

They are using subnets. The article is about implementing subnets at layer 2 in order to mitigate the cost of broadcasting (without the usage of a layer 3 protocol). MAC based subnets is the matter.

>What do you do about broadcast storms? How do you prevent some clown from anywhere in that 100,000 machine cloud from poaching another machine's IP
>address (either maliciously or by an accidental typo)?

These questions are at best irrelevant.

Re:You still need isolation (1)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117271)

Just because you can bridge the whole world together into one massive virtual Ethernet segment doesn't mean you should.

Yeah but, with all those nodes you could form a beouwolf cluster. Just think for a moment about all those sockets!

It's all about address management (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115701)

The paper is about adding a layer of addressing so that IP and Ethernet addresses can be moved from one machine to another as instances of virtual machines are migrated around. It's not about the problems of physically building a very large switch. The switch components are mostly stock items.

Re:It's all about address management (1)

foksoft (848194) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116005)

That PMAC idea is really cool. But beyond that. Nothing special. Try to build something more large and you will find that your core layer switches have not enough ports as number of aggregation level switches will increase. And I am not mentioning problems with throughput when distant nodes will start communicating to each other.
For me it looks like they are trying to make routers redundant. But building 100 000 node network with this topology will require really powerful core layer nodes.
For large datacenters I would see some combination of tree/grid topology.

How big is that.....and when it fails... (4, Funny)

the_macman (874383) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115709)

Have fun replacing it when it fails. In my head I imagine something like this [dia.org] .

Re:How big is that.....and when it fails... (4, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115827)

...and every couple of months the mess of cables will have to be prodded with a broomstick to check for dead network engineers.

Re:How big is that.....and when it fails... (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29118215)

Nah. It's too big to fail. It will get a bailout.

I suspect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29115737)

...that the answer involves duct tape.

Re:I suspect... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117241)

...that the answer involves duct tape.

Pfft... you only need duct tape if you want it to look pretty. Otherwise there's nothing stopping you from piggybacking 16,666 of these together [tp-link.com] .

I can get them for $13.99 each, bringing the whole thing to just $233,158! That's excluding the cost of connecting wire, of course. Lots and lots and lots of wire...

Does anyone know what the arrangements are to receive my consultant's fee for that answer?

Re:I suspect... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117265)

Oops... make that 16,667 of them. I hope that doesn't make my proposal uncompetitive...

Re:I suspect... (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117919)

Just offer a 'buy 16,666, get one free!' Works every time.

First beowulf cluster. (-1, Offtopic)

craklyn (1533019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115817)

Beowulf cluster.

Re:First beowulf cluster. (1)

hdh (230194) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116897)

I second. You are an unrecognized genius.

The best bits of layer 2 and 3 eh? (1)

jonesy2k (934862) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115853)

Hasn't that already been done? [wikipedia.org]

Re:The best bits of layer 2 and 3 eh? (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116631)

But this one goes to eleven!


Well.... 100 000.

How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (5, Funny)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115879)

Lets see... That's 100,000 ports with 2 LEDs each (link, action/fdx/speed/poe) for a total of 200,000 LEDs. Lets say they use some of the cheapest SMD LEDs on the market. Well use digikey part number 160-1183-1-ND which is a cheap 0603 foot print green LED. At quantity 200,000 that comes out to $12,000 in cut-tape packaging or $9,450 if you buy 210,000 of them in 3,000-qty reels.

Lets say that all of the link LEDs are on 100% of the time and the the activity LED is on 50% of the time. That gives us 150,000 LEDs on at any given point in time. Our example LEDs use 20ma at 2.1V. So 150,000 LEDs at 20ma uses 3Ka. In total, 6.1Kw is burned by the green LEDs.

All that blinking... Damn. I want one NOW!!! More than a girl friend!

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116199)


That was pretty much my first thought when I saw the headline, too. I could never, ever manage to use something like this, but I totally want it!

I don't know what I'd do with it. Probably just put a pillow on it and sleep on it just to be close to that much technology. :)

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116251)

Dude, mA, kA and kW, not ma, Ka and Kw. Besides, nobody drives front panel LEDs with 20mA unless they're trying to blind somebody.

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (2, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116339)

Besides, nobody drives front panel LEDs with 20mA unless they're trying to blind somebody.

So true. We installed an 8 port IP-KVM switch in a rack recently, and the on light was _bright_ blue, to the point that 20m away it felt like it was boring a hole in my head. I cut some paper into ~1cm square pieces and taped a stack of 3 over it, and it still looked excessively bright. I don't know what the designers were thinking.

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116561)

So true. We installed an 8 port IP-KVM switch in a rack recently, and the on light was _bright_ blue, to the point that 20m away it felt like it was boring a hole in my head. I cut some paper into ~1cm square pieces and taped a stack of 3 over it, and it still looked excessively bright. I don't know what the designers were thinking.

Cut a piece of electrical tape ~1cm^2 and put a small slit in the center to let some light through. It should be hard to see 2 feet from it.

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (2, Informative)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116629)

There is only one reason that I can think of for driving at that power: temperature. This doesn't really apply to switches because they're going to (hopefully) stay in air conditioned rooms, however: Once you get past 40C the effective brightness of the LED starts to approach 0 very rapidly. This is critical for equipment spec'd to run in industrial conditions. Because LEDs are so non-linear, designing a product with wide temp ranges with LEDs can be a real PITA. There is a good explanation here [marktechopto.com] .

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116811)

That looks very linear to me, and you're not reading the charts right. They say nothing about luminous efficacy. It's just that you can't drive LEDs at the same high current in a hotter environment.

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (1)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116891)

Forward voltage to current is non-linear. It is exponential.You can approximate it linearly if you want, but you'll get error.
Fine, those charts show current handling, not luminous efficacy.
Try this chart for size:
http://www.ledsmagazine.com/features/4/8/1/MarlFig4 [ledsmagazine.com]

Still not convinced?
http://www.ledsmagazine.com/features/4/8/1 [ledsmagazine.com]
"The light output from an LED light source decreases with increasing LED die junction temperature. Higher LED die junction temperatures, resulting from increased power dissipation or changes in ambient temperature, can have a significant effect on light output."

If you want even more:
http://optodatabook.liteon.com/DataBookFiles/8426/LTST-C190CKT.pdf [liteon.com]
Look at figure 5 on page 6. This is live charts for a real part used in real electronics.

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29117131)

The charts in your previous post shows the maximum current over the ambient temperature. Forward voltage doesn't come into it.

The relative flux chart shows a flux decrease of less than 20% for green LEDs at 70 degrees Celsius (compared to 25 degrees Celsius). That's no reason to crank the current to 20mA "just in case". These charts also look quite linear to me.

LEDs Magazine ??? (2, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117355)

"Welcome to LEDs Magazine, the leading global information source for the LED community."

Wow, just wow !

Re:LEDs Magazine ??? (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117789)

It's like Rule 34, but with magazines.

Re:How many LEDs is that? How much power in LEDs? (1)

foksoft (848194) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116361)

100.000 ports is only for edge level leafs. You have to add additional ports for up-link, aggregation switches and of course core switches. Then you imagine how big Christmas tree it is.

You mean (5, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115927)

I can't just go out and buy 33,334 d-links and turn off DHCP on all but one of them?

Re:You mean (1)

jamesfalloon (712634) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116221)

I'm curious as to how you came up with a figure of 33,334. The back of my envelop shows 16,668. This figure assumes they are 8 port switches. (And about the same number of cables needed to hook them all together)

Re:You mean (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116315)

33,334 = 100,000 / 3 = 4 port hubs, 3 ports going to servers and one port daisy chaining to the next switch.

Re:You mean (3, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117197)

Daisy-chaining requires two ports on all but the end switches.

Re:You mean (1)

angelbunny (1501333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116551)

That would be a fun daisy chain. Let me know how it turns out. :)

Re:You mean (4, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116813)

Their next project is a 33,334-outlet power strip capable of holding that many wall warts without either crashing through the floor or shearing off the faculty wall.

Re:You mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29117365)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't a standard router based DHCP server only deal with up to 254 clients? (and most likely half that? I can't remember what I read)

Re:You mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29117531)

Define "standard router".

A proper router or dhcpd can push out addresses to whatever size subnet you define.

Heh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29115955)

At least its over 9000

Re:Heh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116157)

Pics or it didn't happen!

Ports or Gtfo!

Seriously, I want to see a single-device, 100.000-port switch! Imagine a cinema-sized wall with 100.000 cables coming out ... awesome.

Wow (1)

Noam.of.Doom (934040) | more than 5 years ago | (#29115959)

That's one big LAN party

Re:Wow (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116031)

Not to mention a shitload of crossover cables to link the damm switches together.

Re:Wow (1)

hhedeshian (1343143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116047)

Nah. Run gigabit. Auto MDI-X is built in to the spec.

derr..... no one said it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29115965)

...would *actually* be ONE physical device!

you can just "think of" it as working like that.... unless you are the Network Engineer, and then it's still gonna mess with your head trying to make it all work. :-)

Re:derr..... no one said it ... (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116465)

Can one say "single point of failure"?

Shiny! But... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116027)

It's still ethernet.

Rehashing of long-abandoned ideas (4, Insightful)

jeko (179919) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116037)

Without getting too far into it, their brilliant plan to to insinuate a layer 2 and a half using "pseudo MAC addresses," using a directory service rather than broadcasts. They're hoping they can use this mess to paper over horrific network design.

Yeah, I'll grant you you might be able to cobble this mess together in an academic setting, and sure, you'll even be able to rig some demos that show miraculous increases in speed.

I can guarantee they'll find funding with their promise you'll even able to hire even LESS skilled network admins, meaning Zaboomafoo the Typing Lemur now has a shot at his CCIE.

But, damn, you ignorant twits. Most corporate networks are already mashed together by the most cut-rate cable monkeys they can find. The last thing we need is some half-assed "protocol" that will guarantee even more network designs that are guaranteed to trip and break their necks over the first packet.

Re:Rehashing of long-abandoned ideas (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116121)

You seem quite confident in your dismissal of their work.

I can guarantee they'll find funding with their promise you'll even able to hire even LESS skilled network admins

You say that like it's a bad thing. Network administration shouldn't be as complex as it is; it's a waste of time and effort. Networks should be self-configuring to the greatest possible extent.

-jcr

Re:Rehashing of long-abandoned ideas (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116313)

I think you kinda missed his point that the Networks wouldn't be so hard to admin if the corps didn't try to save a buck by lowballing and ending up with topologies that looked like they were designed by drunken gibbons. Here, let me illustrate with a true story-

So I'm working a nice little temp job, putting in a bunch of new boxes on this little insurance company when I break for lunch I run into one of my old friends at this little outdoor BBQ joint. When I tell him how easy my job is going he says "you gotta come back with me to this law firm I'm having to rebuild. You will NOT fucking believe it!" so intrigued I follow him back. On his desk are some machines, which he asked me "notice anything funny about them?" so I move the side panels so I can see and it instantly hits me that these are ALL homemade gamers rigs. He says "Yep, not a single fucking driver alike. Fun huh? And good luck with parts! But that ain't the worst part. Check this out" so he opens up the "network room" and there is literally a MOUND of Dlink and other cheap ass home routers piled up a good 4-6 feet high. I said "WTF is this?" To which he replied "This is what a dumbass who had been their "network admin" thought a network should look like. Not only is nothing labeled in this just giant fucking mess, but there are no less than SIX different ISP home plans running this shit. Fun huh?"

So while I'm sure he made out like a bandit I wouldn't have taken that job on a bet. I would have had nightmare for months trying to deal with that clusterfuck. All because some bean counter hired the first schmuck that walked through the door that could halfway talk a good game and was willing to work for the peanuts they were offering. So yeah, a network set up by someone with a brain that knows about network topologies isn't really that hard to maintain or add nodes to. But instead you get some paper tiger that can bullshit HR and makes a truly gigantic clusterfuck out of the thing and then it takes 3 forevers to get it straightened out. I don't even want to picture what kind of giant messes can be cooked up with this tech if you can just throw anything together and get it to function thanks to this "virtual mac" idea. Because when the thing finally breaks down like my buddy you might be really scared to open up that "network" door.

Re:Rehashing of long-abandoned ideas (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116563)

You should try taking an MIS position at an engineering company. Every engineer secretly (or not so secretly) thinks that they can do a better job than the lowly MIS people. They bring in their own WAPs because they want a perfect WiFi signal in their cubicles. They stream music from the Internet, then complain when their file downloads are slow. They insist on having local Administrator rights to "their" computer, and then complain when it becomes infested with malware. One thought that bridging his WiFi and Ethernet adapters would give him faster Internet access. Another decided that he needed his own server, so he set one up and proceeded to offer DHCP on the network.

And the programmers are the worst - every one of them thinks that being able to write software makes them qualified to administrate a nation-wide network, especially because they have a network at home, you see, and also do computer work for their friends and family.

This seems to be a solution to a nonexistent probl (4, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116139)

This seems to be a solution to a nonexistent problem. A big router, for example a cisco CRS, can be a single node supporting any data center. And it is a router, so there is no need for any exotic solution (L3 inspection on a switch?). It has a max bandwidth of 80Tb/s or 80,000 Gb Ethernet nodes. The beauty is of course that you can configure your entire data center with a single router, which greatly simplifies the network configuration, and makes changes simple.

over 9000! (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116147)

Will it go into Super-Saiyan switch mode?

Imagine the size of WALLWART on that thing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116183)

I wonder if D-Link has any?

(swoooosh)

I read that as "Walmart" (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117549)

bad quote: "Imagine the size of the Walmart needed to hold that thing!"

SMB (3, Funny)

pengipengi (1352837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116271)

And then... let's say 10% of all computers starts up a SMB-share... welcome to broadcast heaven (or hell) :)

Traffic jam and collision (1)

fatp (1171151) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116325)

Won't there be a super huge traffic jam and collision if all the ports are in use?

Re:Traffic jam and collision (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116435)

well, then they could start the search for the Higgs bit ...

You know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29116441)

this might be the opportunity for a new business. Heck, if done right, apply this on top of one of the OSS OS, and then have a modular set of boxes, you could take on Cisco.

NATting layer two. (5, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116605)

They're basically NATting the layer two protocols. Combined with a super spanning tree for the natted addresses they're practically boosting layer two into layer three.

Before I read the paper I was thinking that it would be easier to just run all your services NATted at layer three, even using something like PPPoE (which is how cable networks solve the same basic problem, with something like half a million end-points on the same subnet). I guess it's more efficient to work with the simpler layer two protocols instead.

Idiots - if they had used 10base2 ... (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116783)

... they have only needed 1 port! :)

Anyone remember Cabletron? (1)

stine2469 (1349335) | more than 5 years ago | (#29116857)

I wonder if these folks licensed SecureFAST? I only ever had a 3000 node LAN, but with the increase in bandwidth and chip performance since 1997, I'm sure 100,000 would be trivial.

Re:Anyone remember Cabletron? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29117261)

USC has this sort of single domain campus-wide Cabletron network. It's a disaster, violates RFC894 wrt ARP behavior, and is one of the reasons (the other being low-skill cable monkeys) faculty can only get 10 Mbps ports. 100 Mbps ports are too expensive on that technology.

100,000-port ethernet is a problem not a solution.

Excellent idea! (2, Insightful)

dogganos (901230) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117037)

...and when this switch blows the fuses, you have 100.000 servers offline instead of 24... Brilliant!

One switch.... (1)

MagusAptus (456895) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117547)

One switch to rule them all...

Re:One switch.... (1)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117811)

..one switch to BIND them, one switch to crash them all, and send an admin crying....

~Sticky

VLANs (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117845)

Good God! THE VLANS! A "show vlans" command would take all day to execute and print out to be thicker than War and Peace.

To everybody that says NO! to this (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117877)

The past does not equal the future. Hardware improves, software improves.

Just because you were taught from birth that you should have thirty-five 100 port switches in your building and that is what you have always done does not mean you should continue to do it. Network engineers seem to LOVE buying lots of hardware (when given the money). Maybe it's just the cool factor, maybe they want job security? It WOULD be far easier to manage a single switched fabric flat network if you have the hardware and the failover to handle it.

Single point of failure (1)

dr_wheel (671305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117961)

Everyone has chimed in on the nightmare of cable management for something like this. But the idea that this would be a single point of failure for my data center scares me even more.

Read Dr. Vahdat's blog post (2, Insightful)

GrantRobertson (973370) | more than 5 years ago | (#29117995)

I regularly read Dr. Vahdat's blog [wordpress.com] . I first got interested in it after reading his paper on Epidemic Routing [ucsd.edu] which can be found in his list of publications here [ucsd.edu] .

If you read his blog post you will see that he accomplishes his goal by creating a hierarchical tree of MAC addresses instead of a simple table. He also states that a large part of the proliferation of MAC addresses in these systems is due to virtual machines. Therefore everyone's nightmares of cabling hell are relatively moot.

Though I haven't contacted him yet, it seems that this solution would require reassigning new MAC addresses such that they can be organized hierarchically as we are accustomed to doing with IP addresses. If this is the case then it seems one would have two choices:

  • Take great care not to use any MAC addresses that are already in use. One would probably need to purchase/register entire blocks of MAC addresses just as a manufacturer of network adapters must do. Or...
  • Keep this entire network system separate from any other network system via IP routing and NAT so that the MAC addresses from one network never conflict with the MAC addresses of any other network.

Now, I am not an expert in the details of switches, routing, or NAT so I may have gotten some of the details wrong. But you get the idea.

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