On the impact of packet spraying in data center networks

Advait Dixit, Pawan Prakash, Y. Charlie Hu, Ramana Rao Kompella
2013 2013 Proceedings IEEE INFOCOM  
Modern data center networks are commonly organized in multi-rooted tree topologies. They typically rely on equal-cost multipath to split flows across multiple paths, which can lead to significant load imbalance. Splitting individual flows can provide better load balance, but is not preferred because of potential packet reordering that conventional wisdom suggests may negatively interact with TCP congestion control. In this paper, we revisit this "myth" in the context of data center networks
more » ... h have regular topologies such as multi-rooted trees. We argue that due to symmetry, the multiple equal-cost paths between two hosts are composed of links that exhibit similar queuing properties. As a result, TCP is able to tolerate the induced packet reordering and maintain a single estimate of RTT. We validate the efficacy of random packet spraying (RPS) using a data center testbed comprising real hardware switches. We also reveal the adverse impact on the performance of RPS when the symmetry is disturbed (e.g., during link failures) and suggest solutions to mitigate this effect.
doi:10.1109/infcom.2013.6567015 dblp:conf/infocom/DixitPHK13 fatcat:bv4t3a7ugjav5lvk4fb3na2qke