Simplicity and scalability are the first and most critical requirements for networking.


Configuration of the switches inside a data center must be simple. General or global configuration such as AAA, SNMP, syslog, NTP, and others should be replicated line by line, independent of the position of the switches. A central management capability to configure all switches at once is an alternative.

Configurations that are unique to the switches such as multi-chassis link aggregation groups, VLAN IDs, and dynamic routing protocol configuration, should be kept to a minimum.


Scalability factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Number of racks supported in a fabric. 

  • Amount of bandwidth between any two racks in a data center. 

  • Number of paths between racks.

The total number of ports available across all switches and the oversubscription that is acceptable determine the number of racks supported in a fabric. Different racks may host different types of infrastructure, which can result in different bandwidth requirements.

  • Racks with IP storage systems might attract or source more traffic than other racks. 

  • Compute racks, such as racks hosting hypervisors with workloads or virtual machines, might have different bandwidth requirements than the shared edge and compute rack, which provides connectivity to the outside world. 

Link speed and the number of links vary to satisfy different bandwidth demands. You can vary them for each rack.