Networking Field Day 5 (NFD5) drew to a close yesterday, and I have found myself sitting in a plane at around 32000 feet musing somewhat on the fact that my trip home has just been redirected via Chicago rather than Las Vegas (Viva Chicago!), but mostly reflecting on the week’s activities. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, read my recent post about the Networking Field Days.
What struck me more than anything was not just that the vendors presenting to NFD5 each delivered a very clear message, but that most of them delivered the same message.
The post title alone is cause for fighting in some circles (it’s just an invitation for argument and I know it’s more of a marketing thing than a technically accurate description), but work with me here. On one level or another, there is growing interest and marketing around the concept of being able to eliminate Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) in layer 2 networks and enabling multipathing in bridged networks. It’s hard to have missed Cisco’s plugging of their FabricPath technology, and underneath all the marketing, routing frames from A to B is pretty much what it is about.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll look at why STP is such a beast to begin with (and let’s face it, that could be a multi-part post on its own), then I’ll look in a series of posts at three competing options that would allow you to get rid of it: