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VXLAN or FabricPath is the better choice for a Cisco DC Fabric?


Which technology do you propose to use for a new DC fabric? It is a vPC migration project.

What are the advantages of one technology over the other?


Currently ACI is not an option for us.

5 Replies 5

Sergiu Daniluk
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee



You mentioned that ACI is not an option for you at this point, fact which rised a question in my mind: does your migration concerns N9K switches? If yes, then FabricPath is also not an option for you, as Nexus 9K switches does not support this feature. 


Coming back to your question, the answer is not so easy to find, as you have to keep in mind all your network requirements while choosing your Data Center Fabric. 

As a further matter, although both overlay technologies offer relatively same outcome - highly scalable layer 2 multipath, you will have to take in consideration the pros/cons for both protocols. 


I would recommend the following documents/presentations, which highlights the differences between these overlays, and will definetly help you in choosing the most suitable overlay for your network:


1. Ciscolive presentation BRKDCT-3378 - Advanced - Building simplified, automated and scalable DataCenter network with Overlays (VXLAN/FabricPath) (2015 Milan) 

Here is the slide deck:

For the video presentation, you will have to login (free) on and search for the presentation under On-Demand videos


2. Book Using TRILL, FabricPath, and VXLAN: Designing Massively Scalable Data Centers (MSDC) with Overlays 

here is the a short chalk talk about it:


3. Data Center Overlay Technologies (with focus on N9K)



One thing which you might want to consider is that VxLAN has some strong improvements over FP, which reflects the technology as an evolution in terms of DC Fabrics:


Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 22.41.46.png



Hope it helps!





Surya ARBY
fabricpath is dead, vxlan is horrible to operate when configured manually. The only option is ACI, which doesn't fit all customers requirements. Only bad choices.

I agree with the other comments Fabricpath is EOL, and will not be supported for much longer. VxLAN is a real pain to setup manually (unless you have NFM) and I would as other suggest go down the route of ACI. ACI set's up the overlay automatically not to mention L4-L7 service becomes much easier to implement.

I would talk to your local Cisco sales team. Plus the way the ACI bundles are know a days it's just as cheap to purchase a ACI bundle with 3 APIC's as it is to purchase the N9K switches out right.

fabricpath was not a bad technology, but the market decided to go elsewhere. Right now for large DCs, ACI is the only way to go for vxlan implementation :(

I agree absolutely. The other issue with Fabricpath is that it's only supported on the N7K architecture as you pointed out.
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