I've read about data center network architectures - Fat-tree, Clos (or spine-leaf), DCell, BCube... None of these make any specific mention of the management network, which I expect would be out-of-band in a data center. Am I right in expecting it to be out-of-band? And if so, are server management interfaces connected to this management network as well? What is the architecture of this network? For a large data center, it needs to be scalable.

I'm interested in what current practice is, as well as what's the right way to do it (in case they're not the same).


For the network infrastructure at Data Centers or Headquarters, ideally management network should be OOB, and all devices' management ports/interfaces are connected to this OOB network.

The following captures from Cisco SAFE Reference Guide give us ideas of how OOB and IB management networks look like:

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I hope it is helpful.

  • The material referred to appears to be from 2010 (there's a revision date in the PDF version of the Cisco SAFE Reference Guide that can be downloaded from the link provided in the answer). Although it might still be accurate, I would have hoped for more recent information.
    – osearbhain
    Mar 21 '18 at 12:08
  • I agree with the above comment. The managed network shown in the above figure is not a modern scale-out data center Clos network. I don't have much confidence that this accurately reflect the best current practice for the management network for Clos networks. Oct 15 '18 at 14:15

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