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18
Nov
2014

Facebook Modular Data Center Fabric Changing Server Network Architecture

by Bill

data centerFacebook is announcing a new modular way of serving information and they are calling it “data center fabric.” The details of their new system architecture are explained thoroughly in this blog post penned by Alexey Andreyev, the lead engineer on the project.  Moving away from the very expensive top tier switches supplied by Cisco and Juniper, Facebook and others are now rethinking their entire networks and moving toward a much more modular approach that groups data into ‘pods’ and removes the tiers older systems relied on to replace them with a map that is much more robust and affordable because it spreads the load far more evenly across all available data channels.

Since the new network is divided into “pods” Facebook system engineers can add more pods whenever it makes sense, and it also means Facebook can move much more data internally from one part of the network to another. Contrary to the expectation of many onlookers, the amount of internal data Facebook processes has become ‘an order of magnitude larger’ than the amount of information the company sends or receives from external user client accounts according to recently published interviews.

Relying on a complex system of bottlenecks that require the newest, best and most expensive switches from third-party vendors has proven to be costly and inefficient.  Industry pundits have long questioned whether or not tech giants who laid the foundation of the modern Internet as we know it would adapt to a more flexible way of handling data, but so far Cisco and others appear to be moving slowly and clinging tightly to the revenue streams they have optimized over the years.

This new move by Facebook, similar moves by Google and public sentiment among several other service providers of a shift in momentum toward modular data delivery is the kind of big news that the public often misses entirely. However, the implications for data speeds and bandwidth requirements in the coming months or years are significant.

The Server Pods, Spine Planes and Edge Switches approach is too new to be utilized in a cost-effective manner by Fully Managed Hosting clients presently, but with tech behemoths like Facebook and Google paving the new data highway (for their own benefit), the obstacles along the road will likely be smoothed over quickly and the existing pipes pushing your own data may soon be able to accommodate far greater capacity with even better reliability and speed than was ever possible with earlier IT frameworks. As always, NationalNet will diligently track these technological breakthroughs and continue to provide our customers with the most effective means of delivering data anywhere it needs to be received.

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