Data Center Networking: Build for Efficient Communication

Posted on Oct 16, 2023

Data Center Networking: Build for Efficient Communication

Data center networking refers to the infrastructure and technologies that enable efficient communication and data transfer within data centers. It encompasses various components, protocols, and architectures that play a crucial role in supporting critical applications like cloud computing and big data analytics. Understanding the significance, types, and benefits of data center networking is essential in modern technology infrastructure.

How Does Data Center Networking Work?

Data center networking solutions are designed to adapt to evolving user and application demands while automating traditionally manual and error-prone provisioning tasks for network services. They establish secure digital connections between data center devices, ensuring a protected IT infrastructure environment.

Moreover, DCN platforms effectively handle application decommissioning while adhering to de-provisioning policies, preventing compliance, connectivity, and security issues caused by outdated policies.

What Are the Components of A Data Center Network?

A data center network comprises three key elements: the server, storage, and network. To ensure faster and more dependable data center networking services, it is essential for these components to seamlessly integrate and operate in harmony. The data center's assets, including switches and routers, facilitate the seamless and efficient flow of data traffic within and across the data center, whether it is located on-premises, in the public cloud, or at a colocation facility.


The server is the heart of any data center infrastructure, serving as the host for various services and applications while providing processing power for computing tasks. It is characterized by high capacity and ample memory. Equipped with faster and more powerful central processing units (CPUs), servers can handle multiple tasks, applications, or specific client demands.


Data center storage encompasses the hardware, software, and protocols involved in managing and monitoring on-site data storage within a data center. It encompasses all the IT assets dedicated to storing, retrieving, distributing, backing up, or archiving computer data and applications. Unlike "IT storage," which encompasses both on-site and off-site storage assets, "data center storage" specifically refers to on-site storage.


In data center infrastructure, servers provide computational power and data storage for applications, while networks connect users and applications, addressing their connection requirements and serving the organization's business needs. Data center networking equipment, including cabling, switches, routers, and firewalls, establishes connectivity between servers and the outside world. When properly planned and configured, these components can handle substantial levels of network traffic without compromising efficiency.

Types of Data Center Networks

Types of data center networks can be classified into three main categories: three-tier DCN, fat tree DCN, and DCell. Moreover, BCube, Camcube, FiConn, Jellyfish, and Scafida are some of the other well-known Data Center Networks(DCN).

Types of Data Center Networks

Three-Tier DCN

The three-tier network design is the most common architecture in data centers based on a multi-rooted tree network topology: access, aggregation, and core. Access switches are directly connected to the servers in the lowest tiers. Multiple access layer switches are interconnected by aggregation layer switches. Core layer switches link all of the aggregate layer switches to one another. The data center's connection to the Internet is also handled by core layer switches.

However, three-tier architecture is unable to meet the expanding demand for cloud computing. The three-tier DCN's upper tiers are heavily overcrowded. Furthermore, scalability, fault tolerance, energy efficiency, and cross-sectional bandwidth are all issues that the three-tier design faces.

Three-tier DCN

Fat Tree DCN

Network switches are used by the fat-tree network structure to access the various levels, such as the aggregate and core layers. Network elements follow the hierarchical arrangement of network switches in the access, aggregation, and core layers. The number of network switches is substantially higher than the three-tier DCN.

Depending on the overall bandwidth of each rack vs. the bandwidth available at the tree's topmost tiers, the fat tree design can provide up to a 1:1 oversubscription ratio and complete bisection bandwidth. One of the primary challenges with fat tree DCN design is scalability, with the maximum number of pods equal to the number of ports in each switch.

Fat tree DCN


DCell is a server-centric hybrid DCN system that connects one server to another directly. Multiple network interface cards are installed on a server in DCell architecture (NICs). Servers and switches are linked within the cell in this topology.

The DCell follows a recursively constructed cell hierarchy. The DCell design has excellent structural resilience in addition to excellent scalability. However, with the DCell DCN design, cross-section bandwidth, and network latency are important issues.


Data Center Networking Benefits

  • Simplified operations: Many organizations struggle with complex IT operations due to disparate network architectures, multiple switching hardware tools, varying operating systems, and licensing plans. Data center networking systems utilize a microservice architecture that ensures consistent operations across all switches and enterprise network domains, simplifying IT operations.

  • Accelerated service delivery: Traditional data centers often relied on segregated infrastructure layers, resulting in time-consuming manual execution of infrastructure requests and tasks by IT teams. Data center networking tools enable more efficient IT operations and service provisioning tasks across diverse network infrastructure environments, leading to faster service delivery.

  • Easy troubleshooting: Data center networking tools provide capabilities for identifying and resolving issues across both physical and virtual networks. This streamlined process of diagnosing network problems allows for quicker issue resolution, minimizing downtime and improving overall network performance.

Best Data Center Networking Solutions

Choosing the right data center networking solution is critical for seamless data flow between IT assets and data centers. Here are some typical data center networking solutions provided by FS.

Data Center CDN Network Solution

With the deployment of servers Storage 4200F, fixed switch N5860-48SC, and modular switch NC8200-4TD, this data center CDN network solution replaces border routers with switches in the egress network. It increases bandwidth benefits from 85% to 95%, and reduces construction costs.

Data Center CDN Network Solution

IP SAN Storage Networking Solution

IP SAN storage networking solution replaces traditional 16G/32G FC (Fiber Channel) SAN with 25G/100G Ethernet, building a storage interconnection network that meets high throughput and low latency requirements for storage data synchronization, backup, and more. The following picture is a topology of an IP SAN storage network that utilizes 25G switch N8560-48BC, 100G switch NC8200-4TD, and servers Storage 4200F.

IP SAN Storage Networking Solution

Security Resource Pool Network Solution

Data center network security resource pooling solution, unlike traditional serial security deployment solutions, utilizes a bypass star topology to build a security resource pool. This resolves challenges related to deployment, scalability, and failover of security protection devices, ensuring network security services while enhancing network reliability. For example, the topology below adopts switch NC8200-4TD and other networking devices to build a security service chain that bypasses the internet.

Security Resource Pool Network Solution


     ''Related Article- What Is a Data Center?


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