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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 11:17

Data Center Network Fabric

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Fabric computing or unified computing involves the creation of a computing fabric consisting of interconnected nodes that look like a 'weave' or a 'fabric' when viewed collectively from a distance.

Usually this refers to a consolidated high-performance computing system consisting of loosely coupled storage, networking and parallel processing functions linked by high bandwidth interconnects (such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand) but the term has also been used to describe platforms like the Azure Services Platform and grid computing in general (where the common theme is interconnected nodes that appear as a single logical unit).

The fundamental components of fabrics are "nodes" (processor(s), memory, and/or peripherals) and "links" (functional connection between nodes).[2] While the term "fabric" has also been used in association with storage area networks and switched fabric networking, the introduction of compute resources provides a complete "unified" computing system. Other terms used to describe such fabrics include "unified fabric", "data center fabric" and "unified data center fabric".

According to Ian Foster, director of the Computation Institute at the Argonne National Laboratory and University of Chicago, "grid computing 'fabrics' are now poised to become the underpinning for next-generation enterprise IT architectures and be used by a much greater part of many organizations."

IBM, TIBCO, Brocade, Cisco, HP, Unisys, Egenera, Avaya and Xsigo Systems currently manufacture computing fabric equipment.

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