Sunday, August 25, 2013

Data Center Bridging

DCB 4 key protocols:
  •  Priority-based Flow Control (PFC): IEEE 802.1Qbb
  •  Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS): IEEE 802.1Qaz
  •  Congestion Notification (CN or QCN): IEEE 802.1Qau
  •  Data Center Bridging Capabilities Exchange Protocol (DCBx)
PFC - provides a link level flow control mechanism that can be controlled independently for each frame priority. The goal of this mechanism is to ensure zero loss under congestion in DCB networks.PFC is independent traffic priority pausing and enablement of lossless packet buffers/queuing for particular 802.1p CoS.

ETS - provides a common management framework for assignment of bandwidth to frame priorities. Bandwidth can be dynamic based on congestion and relative ratios between defined flows. ETS provides minimum, guaranteed bandwidth allocation per traffic class/priority group during congestion and permits additional bandwidth allocation during non-congestion.

CN - provides end to end congestion management for protocols that are capable of transmission rate limiting to avoid frame loss. It is expected to benefit protocols such as TCP that do have native congestion management as it reacts to congestion in a more timely manner. Excellent blog post about CN is here.

DCBX - a discovery and capability exchange protocol that is used for conveying capabilities and configuration of the above features between neighbors to ensure consistent configuration across the network. Performs discovery, configuration, and mismatch resolution using Link Layer Discovery Protocol (IEEE 802.1AB - LLDP).

DCBX can be leveraged for many applications.
One DCBX application example is iSCSI application priority - Support for the iSCSI protocol in the application priority DCBX Type Length Value (TLV). Advertises the priority value (IEEE 802.1p CoS, PCP field in VLAN tag) for iSCSI protocol. End devices identify and tag Ethernet frames containing iSCSI data with this priority value.

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