Nov 14, 2017

Design Flexibility

Network Design FlexibilityApstra Operating System (AOS®) offers a great deal of flexibility when designing a network. When using Apstra’s flagship L3 Clos app, or leveraging AOS’s unparalleled extensibility features, network designers have a great deal of power at their fingertips. AOS allows network designers to customize their network for their business needs without sacrificing manageability. Are you a network designer? Let’s find out what Apstra can do for you!

Degrees of Freedom

Network designs are made up of simple yet powerful patterns offering a great deal of flexibility. AOS is a platform to express those patterns in what we call ‘reference designs.’  A reference design is the heart of an AOS application.  In AOS’s L3 Clos data center app, there are two main network device roles: “spine” and “leaf”.  Within a single L3 Clos, each leaf is connected to every spine.  From this idiom, many different networks can be designed, deployed, and operated with AOS.  Network designers have many degrees of freedom to help them build a network that is right for their business.

network_degrees_of_freedom_1.pngAOS allows you to customize the patterns for your specific business needs.

Of course, you can specify the number of spines and the number of leaves. However, beyond this you can also be very specific about the number of uplinks and their speeds. Further, in AOS you can create different types of racks and deploy networks that contain a mix of these types. Each rack type can be customized to support one or more leaves in the rack, with a specific number of uplinks and uplink speeds. Also, you can connect your network to the rest of the world via the spine, or via the leaves.

For hosts connected to the edge of the network, you can connect them to one or more leaves. You can connect them via layer 2, or via layer 3 running routing on the host. Further, you can establish multiple layer 2 (VXLAN) across racks to establish connectivity between groups of hosts.

network_degrees_of_freedom_2.pngA number of common host connectivity options are available in AOS.

Lastly, as always, AOS allows you to do all of this in a vendor-agnostic way. You can use whatever vendor and whatever device models you like to make these network designs real.

All of these degrees of freedom in your design are available independent of each other, which means you can customize your network in practically infinite ways. No matter what design you come up with using this palette, AOS will provide the same unmatched level of automation and validation that our users expect from it.


What if you need more from AOS, though? You might need specific telemetry, specific hardware support not available out of the box, or you might need other fundamental design idioms. AOS can be extended a number of ways to support all of this. In fact, there are development tools in AOS to help people with software development skills build and test such extensions.

We won’t cover extensibility too much in this post, as there will be a lot said about it in upcoming posts. Just know that extensibility is extremely important in AOS, and Apstra is committing the resources to it to make our platform the go-to platform for NetOps- and DevOps-minded folk.


As you can see, AOS does indeed provide an enormous amount of flexibility to you, the Network Designer. Whatever your goals, AOS can put you on the path to accomplishing them. Want to find out more? Download the AOS Architecture Overview white paper and the AOS 2.0 Data Sheet. Finally, reach out today and schedule a demo so you can see for yourself all of this in action!