Category: Architecture

Google Jupiter Data Center Network Fabric – New Way of Building Data Center Network Underlay

Google’s Datacenter Optical Circuit Switches and Jupiter network fabric

Google’s data centers are unlike any other. It seems they have windows like normal houses because as from the last SIGCOMM’22 presentation, they took their SPINE switches and threw them right out of that window.

Google worked on the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) for years in order to build an Optical Circuit Switch (OCS) that would enable dynamic reconfiguration of optical connections between switches in the data center. Optical Circuit Switch enables on-the-fly data center fabric aggregation block switch connections reconfiguration without the need for physical rewiring. And most interestingly, the usage of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) traffic engineering, enables aggregation block switches to be directly connected and completely removes the need for those bulky Spine switches that were connecting aggregation block switches in CLOS topologies.

OCS MEMS mirror array can redirect light from any input port to any output port by slightly moving one of its mirrors and changing dynamically optical connections between aggregation blocks

Spine switch roles are basically replaced with OCS devices for smart, dynamic and direct interconnections of Leafs. SDN is used for BUM traffic handling (Broadcast, unknown-unicast and multicast traffic) that was the other important spine role.

Google paper (Jupiter Evolving: Transforming Google’s Datacenter Network via Optical Circuit Switches and Software-Defined Networking) that was presented at the SIGCOMM’22 conference describes how getting rid of Spines, and smart traffic handling with SDN, enabled the Jupiter fabric to get up to 5x higher speed and capacity and 40% reduction in power consumption in relation to similar CLOS topology datacenter fabrics.

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Software-defined data center and what’s the way to do it

SDDC – Software-Defined Data Centers

Times of Software Defined everything has long since arrived, the need to implement many appliances, two or more for each network function, is not so popular anymore. The possibility to manage packet forwarding, load balancing and security of network traffic inside the datacenter from one simple web console is showing finally that things can be managed in a simpler way after all. All vendors in the networking world tried to come up with their own way of centralizing data center management, as it ends up, all of them did it, some better than the others. As always, it’s not a surprise that some vendors are better in creating hardware-based forwarding solutions and some others in software solutions (in this case, software for packet forwarding).


It seems that we have basically only a few good options when wanting to select a complete SDDC solution. The data center needs to provide a large number of server access ports in the form of networking devices that are configured and managed as simply and promptly as possible. Datacenter network needs to be configured in a way to provide robustness and stability of packet forwarding at almost line rate and all that at 10-100, even 400Gbps speeds.

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