A switch-based approach to throughput collapse and starvation in data centers

Alexander Shpiner, Isaac Keslassy, Gabi Bracha, Eyal Dagan, Ofer Iny, Eyal Soha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data center switches need to satisfy stringent low-delay and high-capacity requirements. To do so, they rely on small switch buffers. However, in case of congestion, data center switches may suffer from throughput collapse for short TCP flows as well as temporary starvation for long TCP flows. In this paper, we introduce a lightweight hash-based algorithm called HCF (Hashed Credits Fair) to solve these problems at the switch level while being transparent to the end users. We show that it can be readily implemented in data center switches with O(1) complexity and negligible overhead. We illustrate using simulations how HCF mitigates the throughput collapse of short flows. We also show how HCF reduces unfairness and starvation for long-lived TCP flows as well as for short TCP flows, yet maximizes the utilization on the congested link. Last, HCF also prevents packet reordering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3333-3346
Number of pages14
JournalComputer Networks
Issue number14
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2012


  • Data centers
  • Switching
  • TCP

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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