Rant: Why SPB Doesn’t Get Any Attention

Someone made a comment that Packet Pushers hasn’t discussed SPB.

Trusting the IEEE ?

I don’t trust the IEEE to transparently develop and deliver a standard. It’s closed forums, secret meetings, and lack of transparency are a major concern.

Add that to very poor results for delivering standards in timely fashion e.g. IEEE 802.11 and you have a secret cabal run by organisations with significant vested interests who have to work together and produce something that everyone want ? Evidence says this isn’t working well and hasn’t worked well for the last twenty years. Ethernet is success in spite of the IEEE, not because of it.

Capability ?

In my view, SPB has little to offer data centre architecture. While it may eventually work, after ten years of development so far & more to go, offer a solution for carriers in the MAN/WAN space, it sacrifices function in the name of legacy capability. Moreover, TRILL and other Fabric solutions will have long since bypassed SPB by the time the IEEE process spits out it’s final papers.

Corporate Funding

SPB certainly suits the business models of Avaya and Huawei / HP because it doesn’t require investment in new silicon. You can just hack the existing silicon and make do. It’s a cheap, and ultimately short term business decision to support second rate technology in my view.

Supporters are Bit Players

Avaya isn’t a global player, nor is Huawei. While locally significant in certain geographies, I don’t see that either company will be able to create a leadership position in the ethernet marketplace. The decision by Avaya / Huawei to use SPB is based on internal cost because cash flows are tight not because it’s a better choice.

If HP makes a significant launch (hasn’t happened yet), then it probably won’t change much. My guess is that It’ll be too late.

Poor Outreach and Information Support

As evidence for “bit players”, I have never received any information regarding Avaya or Huawei, nor am I able to find any meaningful technical information on the product, technology or strategy. Aside from a few briefings from Ashwood-Smith of Huawei from public events, there is no information available.

Despite attempting to contact people involved with SPB a few months ago, no one has bothered to make the time to set a time to speak and record on the topic. Given the the Packet Pushers audience and reach into the Enterprise is much larger than UKNOF, or NANOG conferences, this suggests that no one really cares.

No Demand

I haven’t had a single listener or person ever ask me about SPB. While I have done _some_ research, it’s obviously not a topic of interest to anyone in my audience.

The Etherealmind View

So, if anyone cares about SPB, here is your chance. Speak up in the comments and I’ll take your views on board. If anyone cares, then we can put them on Packet Pushers and see what they have to say.

For or against. Happy to hear from people who don’t care, as well as those who do.

About the author

Greg Ferro

Greg Ferro is the co-host of Packet Pushers. After surviving 25 years in Enterprise IT with only minor damage, he uses his networking expertise for good in the service of others by deep diving on technology and industry. His unique role as an inspirational cynicist brings a sense of fun, practicality and sheer talent to world of data networking and its place in a world of clouds.

He blogs regularly at and the podcasts are at

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