Visiting Lecture Series: Vincent Liu, “Improving the Efficiency and Reliability of Data Center Networks”

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In recent years, data center networks have grown to an unprecedented scale. The largest of these are expected to connect hundreds of thousands of servers and are expected to do so with high reliability and low cost. The current solution to these problems is to use an idea first proposed for telephone networks in the early 1950's: Clos network topologies. These topologies have a number of substantial benefits, but their use in this new domain raises a set of questions. 

In this talk, I will present two systems that make large improvements to performance, reliability, and cost in state-of-the-art data center architectures using only small, practical changes. I will first describe F10, a data center architecture that can provide both near-instantaneous reaction to failures and near-optimal handling of long-term load balancing. Central to this architecture is a novel network topology that provides all of the benefits of a traditional Clos topology, but also admits local reaction to and recovery from failures. I will also describe Subways, a network architecture that looks at how to use multiple network interfaces on each server to handle growth and performance issues in today's data centers. 



Vincent Liu is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Before that, he completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. His research is in the general area of networked systems across all layers of the networking stack, from hardware concerns to application and workload modeling. He has published in a variety of fields including data center networks, fault-tolerant distributed systems, energy-efficient wireless communication, and systems to preserve security and privacy.  His work has won Best Paper Awards at NSDI 2013, ACM SIGCOMM 2013, and NSDI 2015.


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