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Cloud Native Data Center Networking by Dinesh G. Dutt

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Chapter 3. Network Disaggregation

Breaking up is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry might as well have been speaking about network disaggregation. After all, disaggregation is a break-up. Hardware and software are no longer satisfied to be living under the same roof. They each want to follow their dream, find their true north. This chapter follows the hardware half of this breakup. The next chapter follows the software half.

Network disaggregation is one of the key fallouts from the new architecture introduced in Chapter 2. At the end of this chapter, you should be able to answer questions such as:

  • What is network disaggregation?

  • Why is it important?

  • What are the key enabling technologies for network disaggregation?

  • Who are the key players in the hardware market for network disaggregation?

  • How do operations with a disaggregated switch differ from a traditional one?

What Is Network Disaggregation?

The term “network disaggregation” has its roots in the movement that preceded it by a decade or more, “server disaggregation”. With server disaggregation, the compute node was broken up into a series of components—CPU, the hardware housing the system, OS, applications etc.--where each component could be purchased separately, typically from different vendors. In the broadest of terms, disaggregation involves breaking up the hardware from the software that ...

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