Why Is the Three-Tier Architecture Out of Fashion?

Why Is the Three-Tier Architecture Out of Fashion?

Posted on by FS.COM

My friend complained to me, “My school said that it had deployed big brand switch units, but why is the network connecting experience still frustrating?” In my experience, the bandwidth to the end user is not only about the switch, but also significantly dependent on the big infrastructure of the network. The best I currently know is the flatter leaf-spine network architecture.

slow-internet-speed

Internet speed is not just about the switch? Then what is it about?

In the traditional three-tier network architecture, communication between two end servers has to experience many different switches.

how servers communicate in a three-tier network

Two servers in a three-tier network need to experience five switches when they communicate.

That is to say, for instance, when you want to give a book to your friend in the same school but in a different class, you have to firstly ask your monitor to give it to your teacher, then to the head teacher, then to the teacher and then the monitor in the other class, and at last to your friend.

five middlemen are needed when sending a book

Your book has to experience five middlemen before getting to your friend.

That seems to be incredible in reality but it is similar to how two servers communicate in a three-tier network.

Compared with the three-tier network, leaf-spine network architecture is flatter in transmission.

how servers communicate in leaf-spine network

Two servers in a leaf-spine network need only to experience three switches when they communicate.

It means when you want to give a book, only three middlemen are needed. Like that in network, transmission experiences less switches, thus it is much quicker.

only three middlemen are needed when sending a book

Your book needs only to experience three middlemen before getting to your friend.

Another problem of the traditional three-tier architecture is that, when there are too many traffics, there will be congestion and delay. Because only spanning-tree protocol (STP) is used in there-tier network, not all links are active and the bandwidth is not enough. When there are too many communication needs, the traffic will be too much for the switches to carry.

inactive links, three-tier network uses only spanning tree protocol

Since only STP is used in three-tier network, not all links are active at a time. The increased traffic is too much for the switches to carry.

Similarly, when too many students in different classes want to exchange books with each other at a time, the quantity of the books would be too large for the limited middlemen. And the time it takes could not satisfy the need.

books in exchange are too many for the limited middlemen

Not all teachers are able to send books at a time. The quantity of books is too large for the middlemen.

The increased quantity of books in exchange resembles the growing number and communication needs of servers, which are both lateral or “east-west” traffic. They require quicker response, lower latency, and higher capacity. The fewer-tier leaf-spine architecture is designed to meet the growing needs in network. Because the STP is replaced by other protocols, all links are active and none will be blocked. More traffic could be support at a time.

STP is replaced by other protocols in leaf-spine network, all links are active

STP is replaced by other protocols in leaf-spine network, so all links are active and none will be blocked.

In such a flatter topology, when students want to exchange books, it will be much easier. The books that can be sent at a time can be more in quantity since there are more optional approaches.

all middlemen are able to send books

All teachers are able to send books at a time. Books can be given to the right student without delay.

In terms of the network, the leaf-spine architecture improves the efficiency, switch capacity and scalability of the data center. As a result, the user experience would be much better in such a high performance environment.

The satisfaction on the user side is achieved, but how about the satisfaction on the provider side? The businesses aim to please the customer with better service, but they also need to control their budget in an acceptable range. It is key for network managers to choose the best equipment and service.

In modern network equipment market, white box switches have provided one of the best solutions in keeping the budget at the best level, because buyers need only to pay for what they really need, whether it is about the hardware or the software. With the cost-effective and outstanding white box switch, it is not necessary to spend double or triple money one big brand switches and original optics. If you can find a vendor that can supply both excellent white box switches, compatible optical modules as well as software support, it is no doubt the best choice for you.

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