Shortest Path Bridging (SPB)

IP Infusion's ZebOS network platform is continually enhanced to support better optimization of networking resources and to help accelerate the transition to Ethernet in the data center. To support that goal, ZebOS supports SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) as defined by IEEE 802.1aq.

SPB enables customers to greatly simplify how they create and configure networks -- across the enterprise and for the cloud -- by requiring service provisioning only at the edge of the network. SBP, like TRILL, uses the IS-IS link-state routing protocol to advertise both topology and logical network membership. SPB packets are encapsulated at the edge in either mac-in-mac 802.1ah or tagged 802.1Q/802.1ad frames and transported only to other members of the logical network. Unicast and multicast are supported and all routing is on symmetric shortest paths.

The key benefits of the SPB solution are:

  • Supports 1000s of multi-terabyte switches and enables a non-blocking tow-tier network fabric
  • Uses existing IS-IS protocol and interoperates with existing service provider equipment
  • Already available through OAM, enabling service providers to quickly roll out managed services

IEEE 802.1aq can be used anywhere that Spanning Tree is currently being used. Operators can take existing STP/MSTP based networks and migrate to Shortest Path Bridging.

With SPB, the data center network can be treated as one big L2 switch by combining 100s of smaller switches in a ‘non-blocking’ topology. This big distributed switch can be used to interconnect hundreds of different customers cheaply with L2VPNs. The topology is fully compatible with all 802.1 Data Center Bridging protocols. OA&M and address isolation is provided through m-in-m.

A key advantage of the SPB protocol is that network virtualization provisioning can be achieved by just configuring the edge of the network (service access points), thus the intrusive core provisioning that other Layer 2 virtualization technologies require (including 802.1Q – VLAN tagging) is not needed when new connectivity services are added to an SPB network. When new virtual server instances are created and need their own VLAN instance, they are provisioned at the network edge only and do not need to be configured throughout the rest of the network infrastructure. This “edge-only” provisioning model provides a far faster time-to-service on the network side compared to the traditional edge and core provisioning. This is key for the network to match the speed improvement of new service instantiations (applications) on virtualized servers.