|Datacenter conceptual design|
|Server rack design|
- Leaf/Spine is always L3 internally keeping L2/L3 boundary at TORs. This is good because it splits the L2 fault domain and mitigates risks of L2 networking with STP issues, broadcast storms, unknown unicast flooding, etc.
- Leaf/Spine supports additional fabric services like automation, L2 over L3 to have L2 across the racks (PODs), Life Cycle Management (fabric level firmware upgrades, rollbacks, etc.), Single Point of Management/Visibility, etc.
We are designing the brand new data center which has to be in production for the next 15+ years and we will need very good connectivity within the data center supporting huge east-west traffic, therefore leaf-spine fabric topology based on 100Gb/25Gb ethernet makes a perfect sense. The concept of data center fabric in leaf-spine topology is depicted in the figure below.
I've just starting to work for VMware as HCI Specialist supporting Dell within our Dell Synergy Acceleration Team, so there is no doubt VxRAIL makes a perfect sense here and it perfectly fits into the concept. However, we need a data center fabric to connect all racks within each site and also interconnect two sites together.
I have found that Dell EMC has SmartFabric Services. You can watch the high-level introduction at
SmartFabric Services seems very tempting. To be honest, I do not have any experience with Dell EMC SmartFabric so far, however, my regular readers know that I was testing, designing and implementing Dell Networking a few years ago. At that time I was blogging about Force10 Networking (FTOS 9) technology and published a series of blog posts available at https://www.vcdx200.com/p/series.html
However, DellEMC SmartFabric Services are based on a newer switch operating system (OS 10) which I do not have any experience yet, therefore, I did some research and I found a very interesting blog posts about Dell EMC SmartFabric published by Mike Orth aka @HCIdiver and Hasan Mansur. Here are links to blog posts:
- DELL EMC NETWORKING: SMARTFABRIC SERVICES | PART I
- DELL EMC NETWORKING: SMARTFABRIC SERVICES | PART II
- SmartFabrics is Smart for VxRail HCI
- How to enable SmartFabric for VxRail Step 1
So the next step is to get more familiar with DellEMC SmartFabric Services because it can significantly simplify data center operations and split the duties between the datacenter full-stack engineers (compute/storage/network) and traditional network team.
I personally believe, that datacenter full-stack engineer should be responsible not only for compute and storage (HCI) but also for data center fabric. And the traditional networking team takes the responsibility at network rack where the fabric is connected to the external network. You can treat datacenter fabric as a new generation of SAN which is nowadays operated by storage guys anyway, right?
Hope this makes sense and if there is anybody with Dell EMC SmartFabric experience or with a similar design, please feel free to leave the comment below or contact me on the twitter @david_pasek.