Cerberus: The Power of Choices in Datacenter Topology Design - A Throughput Perspective.

Chen Griner, Johannes Zerwas, Andreas Blenk, Manya Ghobadi, Stefan Schmid, Chen Avin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bandwidth and latency requirements of modern datacenter applications have led researchers to propose various topology designs using static, dynamic demand-oblivious (rotor), and/or dynamic demand-aware switches. However, given the diverse nature of datacenter traffic, there is little consensus about how these designs would fare against each other. In this work, we analyze the throughput of existing topology designs under different traffic patterns and study their unique advantages and potential costs in terms of bandwidth and latency ''tax''. To overcome the identified inefficiencies, we propose Cerberus, a unified, two-layer leaf-spine optical datacenter design with three topology types. Cerberus systematically matches different traffic patterns with their most suitable topology type: e.g., latency-sensitive flows are transmitted via a static topology, all-to-all traffic via a rotor topology, and elephant flows via a demand-aware topology. We show analytically and in simulations that Cerberus can improve throughput significantly compared to alternative approaches and operate datacenters at higher loads while being throughput-proportional.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Measurement and Analysis of Computing Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • data centers
  • demand-aware
  • network design
  • optical networks
  • throughput

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


Dive into the research topics of 'Cerberus: The Power of Choices in Datacenter Topology Design - A Throughput Perspective.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this