Networking Solutions

Unified Fabric Architecture

IBM System Networking Solutions

Unified Fabric Architecture

IBM’s Unified Fabric Architecture (UFA) is a fast, smart, interoperable and proven data center Ethernet network fabric. It is designed to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying physical and virtual data center infrastructure. Unified Fabric Architecture provides a faster, virtual machine aware, and proven data center networking platform that allows clients to tie together best-of-breed servers, storage, hypervisors and core networking systems. Unified Fabric Architecture and the ability to replicate pre-provisioned racks, ensures that clients that have already invested billions of dollars in their data centers can take advantage of the best innovations in the industry and achieve the lowest possible cost of ownership for their IT infrastructure.

UFA brings together some of the industry’s most proven technology and IT elements into a very compelling solution. These elements include:

  1. Networking OS – Data center fabric OS with over 10 million ports in production deployment as of December 2010. Over half of the Fortune 500 companies have deployed this fabric in their IT infrastructures.
  2. VMready – Network virtualization extensions to Networking OS that makes it ideally suited for clients who are deploying server virtualization in their data centers. VMready is hypervisor agnostic, and ships standard with every IBM 10GbE and 40GbE switch.
  3. Virtual Fabric – Converged fabric extensions to Networking OS allows clients to converge their LAN, SAN, and management networks onto a single wire. vNIC is open and supports everything from mainframes to rack optimized servers to tower systems, to purpose-built application appliances (e.g. data warehousing, security, etc.) from multiple vendors.
  4. Smart Server Control – This server control and CMDB software presently provides environmental, configuration, I/O and provisioning control for over one million blade servers deployed in data centers around the world.
  5. System Networking Switch Center (SNSC) – IBM System Networking Switch Center provides remote monitoring and management of Ethernet and converged switches from IBM. It is designed to simplify and centralize the management of your IBM® BladeCenter®, Flex System™ and IBM RackSwitch Ethernet and converged switches.
  6. High reliability – The fabric of a data center is critical to system and data center uptime. The actual measured MTBF on IBM ’s data center fabric elements is well over 3 million hours.
  7. Data center focus – IBM System Networking is singularly focused on the data center fabric market. As a result, it has created an ideal data center fabric as measured by performance and throughput, latency, loss characteristics and price-performance.
  8. Open – UFA has been designed to be open, to embrace existing and new systems and allow clients to take advantage of the best innovations available in the market that deliver the lowest cost-of-ownership.

IBM System Networking’s Unified FabricArchitecture Technology Roadmap

This powerful roadmap takes IBM System Networking’s UFA well into this decade and includes:

  1. Silicon innovations – with the industry’s leading providers of merchant switch silicon to embed functions in an ASIC that will enable customers to improve the performance and efficiency of network and I/O intensive applications such as security, data warehousing and rich media (HD/3D) content distribution.
  2. Rack infrastructure – rapid provisioning and control – IBM System Networking is actively working to add extensions to its Smart Server Control software to provide environmental, configuration, I/O and provisioning control for different server form factors in a multi-vendor environment.
  3. Extreme reliability – IBM System Networking will extend its reliability advantages into innovations that will dramatically reduce the operating expense associated with data center infrastructure.
  4. 40GbE and 100GbE innovations – IBM System Networking is working to enhance the performance of its fabric products to beyond 40GbE speeds and extend the scaling characteristics of its fabric through the implementation of the Distributed Fabric Protocol (DFP), an IBM System Networking invention.
  5. Expanded eco-system of partners – IBM System Networking is actively working with other technology vendors in the industry to enhance the applicability, performance, and functionality of UFA for specific vertical applications that will be deployed on private or public cloud infrastructures.

Contact IBM


Browse System Networking


Industry Solutions