Fabrics are used to aggregate components into a system. For example, a Fiber Channel fabric aggregates servers and storage to form pools of resources that enable applications or tasks to share the pooled resources.
Over the last 20 years, the technology used to build networks has not really changed: bridges, switches and routers, usually interconnected to handle “vertical” North-South traffic flowcharts that are typical of the current branch or campus networks. Data flows from one device, then down to a data center or server, and up again to another device. But data center traffic is more horizontal – flowing East-West directly from one ‘data processing’ entity to another.
Fabric-based data centers intend to provide a flat, scalable, multipurpose, any-to-any architecture, where each device has a direct connection to any other.
Fabric-Based Infrastructure is the overarching term for the emerging technology trends affecting the data center architecture. These trends all focus on problems across multiple scales that inhibit full-scale virtualization of the entire data center. Fabric-Based Computing virtualizes CPU, memory, I/O bus that offload processors (such as graphics processors) into individual resource pools, where any of them can scale independent of the other.