Spine-and-Leaf Architecture and Your Cabling

Spine-and-Leaf Architecture and Your Cabling

By: Josh Taylor | Director – CABLExpress Product Management

Seems like everyone is talking about spine-and-leaf architecture and spine-and-leaf cabling design these days. If you're designing a spine-and-leaf architecture in your network, there are a few things you will want to know about how to cable it.

Depending on who’s doing the talking, some are saying it’s complicated and hard to accomplish from a design point of view. But I'm here to tell you the facts.

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s complicated or challenging! If they are telling you that, they are probably trying to sell you their products. And then, in turn, oversell your product. Then oversell you even more un-needed product on top of it all! Let’s take a quick look at the facts about cabling for a spine-and-leaf architecture.

The Reality of Spine-and-Leaf Cabling

The reality is that compared to the traditional three-layer cabling topology, the spine-and-leaf architecture design drastically simplifies cabling needs, especially when looking at fiber optic connectivity.

Spine-and-leaf will be a new install. These new installs will primarily be running 100G links. 100G SR4 links are going to be MPO connector-based, thereby significantly reducing LC connections.

This means far fewer ports to manage than with the traditional three-layer design. With spine-and-leaf, the switch is doing all the complicated work - technology is simplifying matters for us! 

To make it even easier, you can use port replication patch panels to mirror your switches, making the installation simple.

*One word of caution: leave room for expansion at the spine switch. As you grow, that is where you will need the space.

No Need to Complicate

If you really want to make your cabling design complicated, maybe for job security reasons, or if you have a structured cabling salesperson that takes you out to lunch a lot, then go for it. But if you want to keep it simple and allow you and your team to focus on issues other than layer one, call us at CABLExpress. 

You will get a simple, scalable solution from a knowledgeable, hardworking team. We can show you a very effective product solution for spine and leaf network layouts that will last for multiple generations of hardware upgrades.

If you made it this far, you must be interested. Check out the resources below that delve more in-depth into the technology and give us a call to help you out. You won’t regret it.


Learn more about cabling for spine-and-leaf architecture in our white paper, Cabling Designs for Hyperconvergence.