Towards the Tradeoffs in Designing Data Center Network Architectures

Dawei Li, Jie Wu, Zhiyong Liu, Fa Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Existing Data Center Network (DCN) architectures are classified into two categories: switch-centric and server-centric architectures. In switch-centric DCNs, routing intelligence is placed on switches; each server usually uses only one port of the Network Interface Card (NIC) to connect to the network. In server-centric DCNs, switches are only used as cross-bars, and routing intelligence is placed on servers, where multiple NIC ports may be used. In this paper, we formally introduce a new category of DCN architectures: the dual-centric DCN architectures, where routing intelligence can be placed on both switches and servers. The dual-centric philosophy can achieve various tradeoffs in designing DCN architectures. We propose three novel dual-centric DCN architectures: FCell, FRectangle, and FSquare, all of which are based on the folded Clos topology. FCell is a power-efficient DCN architecture, with a larger diameter and lower bisection bandwidth than FSquare and FRectangle. FSquare is a high performance DCN architecture, in which the diameter is small and the bisection bandwidth is large; however, the DCN power consumption per server in FSquare is high. FRectangle significantly reduces the DCN power consumption per server, compared to FSquare, at the sacrifice of some networking performances. By investigating FCell, FRectangle and FSquare, and by comparing them with existing architectures, we demonstrate that, the three novel dual-centric architectures enjoy the advantages of both switch-centric designs and server-centric designs, have various nice properties for practical data centers, and provide flexible tradeoff choices in designing DCN architectures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7779314
Pages (from-to)260-273
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Data center network (DCN)
  • bisection bandwidth
  • dual-centric design
  • end-to-end delay
  • power consumption


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