Data center topology refers to the general construction of a data center. The types of layout and related technologies help to address the needs of a data center in handling business intelligence as a central repository.
Data centers are often served by communications networks that help aggregate data and allow them to flow through the system. This can be done in many ways, and some models have emerged for data center topology. For example, some follow a tree-based topology, including what is called a "three-tier data center" network with three layers: access, aggregate and core. A "fat tree" architecture is related to this general model.
Other data center topologies include systems where one server "hub" is connected to many other servers or where different servers are cross-linked or cross-indexed for various types of functionality. For example, a "leaf-spine" approach adds various components to a central "spine layer" serving networks with heavy directional traffic. Other topologies, like the BCube, are made for a modular or "shipping container" data center approach. A "flattened butterfly" approach operates on a more two-dimensional level than many of the "cube" topologies, for some energy savings.
Many of these are, in some ways, similar to other network topologies, including the star, ring, hub or linear topologies, stringing network components together. The difference is that these topologies serve the essential processes of the data center as a central place to keep all sorts of information.