Toronto Networking Seminar

Organized by Department of Computer Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto

A Hybrid Electrical/Optical Switch Architecture for Modular Data Centers

George Porter
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of California, San Diego


Friday, June 11, 2pm
Location: BA2135 (Bahen Centre)


The basic building block of ever larger data centers has shifted from a rack to a modular container with hundreds or even thousands of servers. Delivering scalable bandwidth among such containers is a challenge. A number of recent efforts promise full bisection bandwidth between all servers, though with significant cost, complexity, and power consumption. We present Helios, a hybrid electrical/optical switch architecture that can deliver significant reductions in number of switching elements, cabling, cost, and power consumption relative to recently proposed data center network architectures. We explore architectural tradeoffs and challenges associated with realizing these benefits through the evaluation of a fully functional Helios prototype.  


George Porter is a post-doctoral researcher in the Center for Networked Systems at UC San Diego. His research interests include improving the scale, efficiency, and reliability of large-scale distributed systems, with a current focus on the datacenter. Prior to joining UCSD, George was a Principal Investigator at Sun Microsystems, and before that, a member of the RAD Lab, a multidisciplinary research center at U.C. Berkeley, where he co-developed X-Trace, a cross-layer network tracing framework. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Host of Talk:

Yashar Ganjali (