Jinjing Jiang, "Congestion Management for Lossless Ethernet Operation," M.S. Thesis, Washington University in Saint Louis, May 2008


IEEE 802.1 standards committee is working on a new specification for congestion notification in Ethernet networks. The goal of this work is to enable applications of Ethernet in backend data center networks. Such applications typically use Fiber Channel and Infiniband due to their loss- free characteristics. In this thesis, an explicit rate control framework called Forward Explicit Rate Advertising (FERA) for Ethernet applications, especially data centers, is described. The framework guarantees zero packet drops at the congested switches and fast convergence to fair and stable state. In order to manage the congestion, design choices on 2-point and 3-point architectures, the reactive and proactive signaling, explicit and implicit rate controls are compared. Then the core component of the framework, queue control, is carefully studied. Furthermore, we show that this framework can seamlessly cooperate with IEEE 802.3x PAUSE mechanism to recover from severe congestion scenarios. To demonstrate the strength of FERA, both analytic and simulation results comparing with another existing scheme called Backward Congestion Notification (BCN) are provided to show that FERA achieves the design goals.

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