Data Center Cabling Solutions
Spine-and-Leaf Cabling is All the Rage!

Spine-and-Leaf Cabling is All the Rage!

  • Feb 21, 2017

By Josh Taylor, Director – CABLExpress Product Management


Have you been hearing a lot about spine-and-leaf cabling topologies lately? Sometimes it’s also called leaf-spine cabling. If you have, it’s not surprising. Spine-and-leaf is changing the complexion of data center cabling in today’s structured environments.

If you haven’t heard much about spine-and-leaf cabling, then I hope you will start reading more about it. It has the potential to help you accomplish great feats with your layer one infrastructure.

Getting Our Learn On

The CABLExpress team is fresh off a week of intensive training. We call this training session our team symposium. It consists of a full week in which our in-house and remote team members gather on-site at the CABLExpress headquarters in Syracuse, NY.  The week is full of technology, discussions, team bonding (over food of course) and practical exercises.

The goal of the symposium is to improve our collective value to our customers. Our value is to understand the current and future technology in order to help our customers install a fiber optic infrastructure in their data center that will last for generations of hardware.

This year’s symposium was more exciting and challenging than most due to the dynamic changes occurring in data center core switching and design layouts. Not surprisingly, the topic of spine-and-leaf cabling was a big focus point for us.

Spine-and-Leaf Cabling: The Topology Everyone is Talking About

We are seeing a significant uptick in spine-and-leaf hardware design. A lot of our training revolved around this. We discussed the types of hardware that can be used, what the layout is like, the new challenges this brings for end users, and how we can make it as easy as possible for users to deploy this architecture.

From a cabling perspective, this leaf-spine layout and design is an improvement over the traditional three-layer design, as the hardware layout requires a structured cabling solution (versus point-to-point) in order to maximize the beneficial redundancies and improved latency of the solution.

Dave Fredricks, CABLExpress data center infrastructure architect, has written a great white paper on spine-and-leaf cabling for your hyperconvergence networking layouts. You should download it and enjoy an informative read. You can find it here.

Thanks for your time!