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Simplicity, cost effectiveness, scalability, and the economies of scale make Ethernet a popular choice for local area networks, as well as for storage area networks and increasingly metropolitan-area networks. These applications of Ethernet elevate it from a LAN technology to a ubiquitous networking technology, thus prompting a rethinking of some of its architectural features. One weakness of existing Ethernet architecture is its use of single spanning tree, which, while useful at avoiding routing loops, leads to low link utilization and long failure recovery time. To apply Ethernet to cluster networks and MANs, these problems need to be addressed. We propose a multi-spanning-tree Ethernet architecture, called Viking, that improves both aggregate throughput and fault tolerance by exploiting standard virtual LAN technology in a novel way. By supporting multiple spanning trees through VLAN, Viking makes the most of the inherent redundancies in most mesh-like networks and delivers a multi-fold throughput gain over single-spanning-tree Ethernet with the same physical network topology. It also provides much faster failure recovery, reducing the down-time to a sub-second range from that of multiple seconds in single-spanning-tree Ethernet architecture. Finally, based only on standard mechanisms, Viking is readily implementable on commodity Ethernet switches without any firmware modifications.
INFOCOM 2004. Twenty-third AnnualJoint Conference of the IEEE Computer and Communications Societies (Volume:4 )
Date of Conference: 7-11 March 2004