I know this is fundamental and I can find out in Google but so many people differ themselves when they talk about network "fabric". Kindly elaborate on this ?


As infra has laid out so picturesquely, a fabric is a network where everything is interconnected. There is no rigid, official definition, but very often when talking about a fabric it is implied that

  • there is "sufficient" bandwidth between any two nodes, so that the network is never a bottleneck
  • there is adequate redundancy, so that the fabric cannot fail
  • any arbitrary connection has low latency

Pretty obviously, that isn't really possible on the physical layer for a non-trivial network, so fabric is usually applied to the data-link-layer structure (L2) of a network (or some part of it). Sometimes it is also applied to a network-layer topology (L3) when it is especially high-bandwidth, low-latency and redundant.

A simple fabric could be a small SAN with Fibre Channel or iSCSI that uses two switches and redundant multipathing between hosts and storage arrays. A complex fabric could be a multi-site, distributed core network connected by direct fiber.

  • 2
    Just adding that some of us interpret "fabric" much more generally, in particular about the failure properties, and use it just to mean the "underlying non-specific connections, normally considered fit for the task". But certainly more mesh-like than arbitrary-network-like, though I think that is changing. I've certainly heard it applied to IP, ethernet, and MPLS.
    – jonathanjo
    Feb 7 '20 at 10:49

I think you have an Idea about Fabric. It means clothes. Now just think how cloth is made with yarn. Everything is inter-connected.

enter image description here

See this Image. You will get the idea.

Network Fabric is also something like this and Network Fabric is Network Topology that we can use to transfer data through inter-connecting switches and network components.

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