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Patent Issued for Systems and Methods for Implementing Virtual Switch Planes in a Physical Switch Fabric

September 2, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventors Lacroute, Philippe (Sunnyvale, CA); Tucker, Matthew A. (Truckee, CA); Weisbloom, John D. (Cupertino, CA); Venkatramani, Anjan (Mountain View, CA); Boddu, Jayabharat (Santa Clara, CA); Dyckerhoff, Stefan (Palo Alto, CA), filed on November 26, 2012, was published online on August 19, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8811391 is assigned to Juniper Networks, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to network devices, and more particularly, to systems and methods for implementing virtual switch planes in physical switch fabrics of network devices.

"Conventionally, high bandwidth switch fabrics have used several parallel switch 'planes' that each carry a fraction of the total bandwidth. FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional switch fabric 100 with parallel switch planes 120, 125, 130 and 135. Each switch plane may include multiple interconnected switch integrated circuits (ICs) 110-1-110-12 (collectively, 110), with each switch IC employing one of a variety of switch architectures, such as a crossbar switch.

"Interface cards 105 interconnect with switch ICs 110 of each of the parallel switch planes (only interconnections to switch plane 1 are shown) and divide the received bandwidth over the n planes of the switch fabric 100 (four planes shown). Each of interface cards 105 may interconnect with a number of ports on the switch ICs 110. If switch fabric 100 must support a total bandwidth B and have P ports, then each of the parallel switch planes must also have P ports, but each switch plane only needs to support a total bandwidth of B/n, where n is the number of planes. The use of parallel switch planes thus makes it possible for switch fabric 100 to support bandwidths much larger than could be supported by a single IC switch, without introducing much complexity.

"The number of ports on a single switch plane, however, determines the most cost-effective number of interface cards 105 in a given system. Supporting small system sizes (i.e., smaller than the natural number of ports in a fabric) generally requires wasting ports, or designing a new switch fabric. Thus, a conventional switch fabric 100 cannot be used with systems having a different number of interface cards 105 than the number of ports on switch fabric 100.

"Therefore, there exists a need for systems and methods that can enable a given switch fabric to support systems with fewer interface cards than the number of switch ports on the switch fabric, thus, permitting the implementation of smaller scale system sizes."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Systems and methods consistent with the principles of the invention address this and other needs by implementing multiple virtual switch planes in a physical switch plane of a network device such that the switch fabric can support systems with fewer interface cards than the number of switch ports on the switch fabric. A switch fabric with P ports may, when implemented with S virtual switch planes, connect with P/S interface cards by connecting each interface card to the switch fabric S times. Consistent with the principles of the invention, address re-mapping tables may be used within switch ICs of the switch fabric to direct incoming data units through appropriate virtual switch planes to reach destination output interfaces. The use of virtual switch planes within the switch fabric can be transparent to the interface cards, localizing changes to the switch fabric itself rather than requiring the interface cards to be configured differently depending on the switch configuration.

"One aspect consistent with principles of the invention is directed to a method of forwarding data units through a plurality of virtual switch planes. The method includes implementing a virtual switch plane in a physical switch plane, wherein the physical switch plane includes input ports and a switch fabric. The method further includes allocating at least one of the input ports to the virtual switch plane and forwarding data units through the at least one allocated input port to the virtual switch plane.

"A second aspect consistent with principles of the invention is directed to a method of implementing multiple virtual switch planes in a physical switch plane in which the physical switch plane includes a switch fabric and queues. The method includes segmenting the physical switch plane into the multiple virtual switch planes. The method further includes segregating the queues into groups such that each group of queues is associated with a different one of the multiple virtual switch planes.

"Another aspect consistent with principles of the invention is directed to a method of handling data traffic at a physical switch plane of a network device, where the physical switch plane includes virtual switch planes. The method includes receiving the data traffic and selectively assigning the received traffic to different ones of the virtual switch planes."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Lacroute, Philippe; Tucker, Matthew A.; Weisbloom, John D.; Venkatramani, Anjan; Boddu, Jayabharat; Dyckerhoff, Stefan. Systems and Methods for Implementing Virtual Switch Planes in a Physical Switch Fabric. U.S. Patent Number 8811391, filed November 26, 2012, and published online on August 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8811391.PN.&OS=PN/8811391RS=PN/8811391

Keywords for this news article include: Juniper Networks Inc, Information Technology, Information and Data Traffic.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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