Why continuous-flow beats stop and go

Lightfleet’s Data Distribution System (DDS) is a fabric interconnect employing the company’s continuous-flow technology to expedite the transport of data between server computers and other servers and the cloud.

As an analogy, think of a traditional network of interconnected servers as a grid of city streets.

Like network switches, computer-controlled stop lights regulate traffic at intersections. With various sensor inputs and complex programming, this system can be made more efficient, but in the end, the efficiency, throughput and vehicle speeds are limited to the inherent stop-and-go wait times of supervisory control and switching.


Now imagine that same street grid, but with roundabouts at every intersection instead of stop lights. The traffic flows continuously as the decisions to proceed are made, not by a switched control system, but by individual drivers steering their vehicles to the correct exit for their intended destinations.


A Lightfleet DataRotor™ Data Distribution Module (DDM) is like a multi-lane roundabout, which can keep traffic flowing and clear congestion much faster than switch-based systems subject to a control plane. Taking the switches out is like taking the stoplights out. To support heavier data flow and avoid hotspots, simply add more lanes to the roundabout.

Flow control is no longer a separate supervisory function. A DataRotor DDM allows priority data to surge ahead of normal traffic in faster lanes of the vortex without holding up other traffic.

Lightfleet’s switch-free fabric can absorb huge amounts of traffic. Just as a multi-lane roundabout can handle dozens of package delivery trucks, all dispatched from a single location, a DataRotor can do multicasting by releasing multiple packets of data from a single source into the stream simultaneously. It distributes data faster than any switched interconnect can, especially in times of heavy congestion, and by making it easy to add “lanes” to the interconnect, the Lightfleet DataRotor architecture provides a solution for curing the gridlock of network hot-spots.

Continuous-flow Interconnect Theory of Operation
Current data distribution technology controls the pathway for each data packet using switches that are set by a control plane. In contrast, Lightfleet’s DDS transports data in a continuous flow to destinations specified by addresses encoded in the data packets themselves. That encoding can allow data to flow to multiple recipients simultaneously, making multicast a capability that is built into the Lightfleet fabric architecture at its most basic level.

Why the Name DataRotor?

No, it doesn’t actually spin. With native multicasting our DDM does smoothly propel data outward through multiple channels simultaneously, as if by centrifugal force.  No other interconnecting fabric handles multicast transfers so effortlessly, giving fabrics based on the DataRotor DDM a significant performance advantage in applications that must share data images or where coherent memory content must be maintained.

And “DataRotor” conjures the image of the traffic roundabout (or “rotary” as the folks in Massachusetts call it) – a fundamental rethinking of how to solve congestion in the traffic world.

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