In this paper, we survey different existing schemes for the transmission of flows in Data CenterNetworks (DCNs). The transport of flows in DCNs must cope with the bandwidth demands of the traffic that a large number of data center applications generates and achieve high utilization of the data center infrastructure to make the data center financially viable. Traffic in DCNs roughly comprises short flows, which are generated by the Partition/Aggregate model adopted by several applications and have sizes of a few kilobytes, and long flows, which are data for the operation and maintenance of the data center and have sizes on the order of megabytes. Short flows must be transmitted (or completed) as soon as possible or within a deadline, and long flows must be serviced with a minimum acceptable throughput. The coexistence of short and long flows may jeopardize achieving both performance objectives simultaneously.
This challenge has motivated growing research on schemes for managing the transmission of flows in DCNs. We describe several recent schemes aimed at reducing the flow completion time in DCNs. We also present a summary of existing solutions for the incast traffic phenomenon. We provide a comparison and classification of the surveyed schemes, describe their advantages and disadvantages, and show the different trends for scheme design. For completeness, we describe some DCN architectures, discuss the traffic patterns of DCNs, and discuss why some existing versions of transport protocols may not be usable in DCNs. At the end, we discuss some of the identified research challenges.