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Reference Designs

Apstra currently provides reference designs for 3 and 5-stage Clos fabrics, along with a collapsed fabric model for smaller/edge environments. Apstra provides virtualized overlay functionality via support of VXLAN encapsulation and an EVPN control plane. Architectural details of these reference designs are based on industry-recognized best practices, making them applicable to the majority of data center design scenarios. However, there are situations where design flexibility is required beyond what is practical with these models. The Apstra team has introduced Freeform to address these design situations.

Being the latest addition to reference designs in the Apstra solution, it differs from the existing models in that control of all design elements is placed entirely into the architect's hands. Networks designed with Freeform are not restricted to the design frameworks that are in the existing data center reference designs. However, Freeform still takes advantage of the Apstra software architecture, as explained throughout this document. It is important to note that unlimited design flexibility comes with inevitable tradeoffs, primarily around the abstracted and automated user experience.

Apstra reference designs are purpose-built frameworks for capturing the architect's intent. The reference designs govern:

  • The roles and responsibilities of physical and logical components (functionality, scale, interconnectivity)

  • How services are mapped to enforcement mechanisms

  • The expectations that need to be met (that is, situations to watch)

This structured approach results in a system that not only assures flawless configuration but provides unprecedented control, visibility, and validation of the infrastructure. Significant efficiencies are gained by this approach, including the elimination of configuration mistakes.