Entitled What Is an Ethernet Fabric?, a new white paper from Brocade reviews classic Ethernet architectures in light of new data center requirements, provides an overview of the differences between traditional Ethernet and Ethernet fabrics, and explains how Ethernet fabrics can be used to address emerging data center challenges.
The white paper's premise is as follows:
"Data center networks rely on Ethernet. Over the decades, Ethernet has evolved as new types of application architectures emerged. Today, data center networks carry traffic for a diverse set of applications including client/server, Web services, unified communications, virtual machines, and storage -- each with different traffic patterns and network service requirements. As applications are increasingly deployed within virtual machines hosted on server clusters, Ethernet can be used to build shared storage pools, which place stringent demands on the network, including lossless packet delivery, deterministic latency and high bandwidth. Combined, these changes drive the next evolution in Ethernet networks: the Ethernet fabric."