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Make Switches Simple Again!

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The computing community had faced the end of Dennard’s scaling and the slowdown of Moore’s law over a decade ago, prompting a move to multi-core and many-core CPU design. Similar challenges are faced by the networking community today. In this talk, I discuss the limitations on network device’s scalability, and assert that in order to continue and scale cloud computing, network devices need to be significantly simplified. I open-up the architecture of the devices used in most of the world’s network switch-systems, providing in-depth insight into their design and properties, and show how the architecture can scale up to data centre networks. The architecture offers a distributed solution, attending to the limitations of network-switch design, while providing improved performance and significant power savings compared with traditional solutions. With networking requirements ever increasing, I predict the elimination of packet switches, replaced by cell switches in the network, and smart network interface cards at the edges.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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