reducing tiers, big surprise it makes things faster and cheaper. I've been running two tier networks for many years now, at least for data center environments never understood why anyone would want more than two tiers. Collapsing into a single tier can be useful for some applications, I'm looking at it for HPC stuff myself, but again nothing new here either.
Myself I'm a fan of Extreme networks they announced their "Direct connect" / "reduce tiers" strategy in April and were talking about it in the months prior. Really thought making it such an official thing was kind of stupid but now I see Juniper jumping on the same band wagon, must be a marketing thing.
Apparently the Direct connect approach was enough to win some sort of special mention at Interop recently (why that and not their 40Gig stuff I don't know..)
Two tier network design:
direct attach design(1 tier):
The Direct attach stuff just leverages MRJ21 technology using high density 96-port gigE blades on the 8900 series switch. I recall when I first saw foundry shipping MRJ21 technology several years ago, so the tech isn't new which made me question why make such a big deal out of it..
I wrote a blog entry last year about a L2/L3 protocol from Extreme called ESRP which as far as I know is unique in the industry in it's abilities, and quite awesome for a 2 tier network, unfortunately they don't promote the protocol at all.
so big whoop, everyone knows cisco is shit for performance and cost,