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GA3: scalable, distributed address assignment for dynamic data center networks


Deployment and maintenance of current data center networks is costly and prone to errors. In order to avoid manual configuration, many of them require centralized administrators which constitute a clear bottleneck, while distributed approaches do not guarantee sufficient flexibility or robustness. This paper describes and evaluates GA3 (Generalized Automatic Address Assignment), a discovery protocol that assigns multiple unique labels to all the switches in a hierarchical network, without any modification of hosts or the standard Ethernet frames. Labeling is distributed and uses probes. These labels can be leveraged for shortest path routing without tables, as in the case of the Torii protocol, but GA3 also allows other label-based routing protocols (such as PortLand or ALIAS). Additionally, GA3 can detect miswirings in the network. Furthermore, control traffic is only necessary upon network deployment rather than periodically. Simulation results showed a reduced convergence time of less than 2 s and 100 kB/s of bandwidth (to send the GA3 frames) in the worst case for popular data center topologies, which outperforms other similar protocols.

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  1. A pod is a group of switches that share connectivity via links not coming from a core. S4 and S5 belong to the same pod; but not S5 and S6, as they are only connected through the core S1.

  2. It might happen that 1.5.4. arrives earlier than 1.1.2. and is then propagated to S3, but it would subsequently be stopped at S3, which has a higher priority: 1.1.


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This work was supported in part by grants from Comunidad de Madrid through Project TIGRE5-CM (S2013/ICE-2919).

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Correspondence to Elisa Rojas.

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Rojas, E., Alvarez-Horcajo, J., Martinez-Yelmo, I. et al. GA3: scalable, distributed address assignment for dynamic data center networks. Ann. Telecommun. 72, 693–702 (2017).

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  • Data centers
  • Automatic address assignment
  • Misconfiguration detection
  • Shortest path bridges