Now that virtual technology has permeated the server infrastructure it seems that all the money being saved in hardware consolidation will have to go toward upgrading network architectures to accommodate the much more fluid data environments that virtualization fosters. This IT Business Edge report looks at TRILL, the Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links, the latest creation of the IETF.
“A key consideration is what to do about old-style STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) architectures. As Storage Switzerland’s George Crump describes it, STP’s fatal flaw is its habit of finding the most optimal data path between two points and then shutting down alternate routes. This was fine in earlier times when the goal was to avoid complex data loops, but in the free-wheeling world of virtualization, constant re-working of network paths not only overloads network controllers and traffic managers, it leaves a lot of network capacity sitting idle.
“Enter TRILL, the Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links, the latest creation of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). It’s a more intelligent protocol for Layer 2 networks that not only accommodates multi-path networking, but incorporates a high degree of intelligence and monitoring to constantly shift and re-shift traffic flow to make the most efficient use of available resources. Best of all, it stands a good chance of combining Layer 2 edge and Layer 3 aggregation infrastructure with core routing functions to finally do away with the complex multi-tier networking designs that STP has forced on the industry over the past several decades.”