Seattle: A scalable ethernet architecture for large enterprises

Changhoon Kim, Matthew Caesar, Jennifer Rexford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IP networks today require massive effort to configure and manage. Ethernet is vastly simpler to manage, but does not scale beyond small local area networks. This article describes an alternative network architecture called SEATTLE that achieves the best of both worlds: The scalability of IP combined with the simplicity of Ethernet. SEATTLE provides plug-and-play functionality via flat addressing, while ensuring scalability and efficiencythrough shortest-path routing and hash-based resolution of host information. In contrast to previous work on identity-based routing, SEATTLE ensures path predictability, controllability, and stability, thus simplifying key network-management operations, such as capacity planning, traffic engineering, and troubleshooting. We performed a simulation study driven by real-world traffic traces and network topologies, and used Emulab to evaluate a prototype of our design based on the Click and XORP open-source routing platforms. Our experiments show that SEATTLE efficiently handles network failures and host mobility, whilereducing control overhead and state requirements by roughly two orders of magnitude compared with Ethernet bridging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalACM Transactions on Computer Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Data-center network
  • Enterprise network
  • Ethernet
  • Routing
  • Scalability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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