Bangalore, May 20, 2013: Time to add to your ever growing lexicon of tech jargom. Gartner has just released an official definition of Ethernet Fabric in a report titled “Technology Overview for Ethernet Switching Fabric.” This is Gartner’s description:
Ethernet fabric is an Ethernet construct in which multiple physical switches interconnect with each other and combine with hardware and software components to form a more elastic, automated and simpler switch network that behaves like a single switch. Ethernet fabric is not a switch cluster technology, and runs integrated Layer 2/Layer 3 standard base or proprietary protocols across all its switching fabric member nodes… The whole Ethernet fabric collapses the legacy three-tier network into a one- or two-tier architecture across the full data center and with deterministic latency from any port to any port. All devices and ports in the fabric can be accessed and managed by a single point.
The leading networking players have been offering ethernet fabric as a way of collapsing the traditional 3-stage or 3-tier network infrastructure into two tiers and call their solution by different names – Alcatel-Lucent’s Mesh, Brocade Communications’ VCS Fabric, HP’s FlexFabric, Juniper’s Q Fabric etc.
The new Gartner definition of this product class comes very close to what Brocade has been calling its ethernet fabric offering, suggesting that they are flatter, more flexible, more elastic and more resilient than legacy architectures.. infact they have been saying so from 2010 What is an Ethernet Fabric Anyway?