Improving datacenter performance and robustness with multipath TCP

Sun, 05/15/2011 - 19:37 by Sébastien Barré


The latest large-scale data centers offer higher aggregate bandwidth and robustness by creating multiple paths in the core of the network. To utilize this bandwidth requires different flows take different paths, which poses a challenge. In short, a single-path transport seems ill-suited to such networks. We propose using Multipath TCP as a replacement for TCP in such data centers, as it can effectively and seamlessly use available bandwidth, giving improved throughput and better fairness on many topologies. We investigate the reasons behind these benefits, teasing apart the contribution of each of the mechanisms used by MPTCP.

Using MPTCP allows us to rethink data center networks, with a different mindset as to the relationship between transport protocols, routing and topology. MPTCP enables better topologies that single path TCP just can't use. As a proof-of-concept, we present a dual-homed variant of the FatTree topology. Using MPTCP, this outperforms FatTree for a wide range of workloads, but costs the

In existing data center networks, MPTCP is readily deployable as it can leverage widely deployed technologies such as ECMP. We have run MPTCP on Amazon EC2 and found that it commonly outperforms TCP by a factor of three. But the biggest benefits will come when data centers are designed around the use of multipath transports.

C. Raiciu, S. Barré, C. Pluntke, A. Greenhalgh, D. Wischik and M. Handley
SIGCOMM 2011, Toronto, Canada, August 2011.
See for related work on MPTCP and the Linux kernel implementation used in this paper
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