Juniper collapses the data center

Unveils switches, routers and software to reduce layers and set stage for 'Project Stratus'

Juniper Networks this week unveiled new switches, routers, software and services designed to help enterprise IT reduce the cost and complexity of data center networking while also improving application and business performance. 

Juniper execs share network vision

The new products and services address automation, virtualization and fabric technologies. Taken together, Juniper claims they can dramatically increase performance, while reducing operational time and cost by eliminating to need to acquire additional products to boost performance, and decreasing the number of switching "tiers" in a network.

Juniper is proposing a "3-2-1" data center network architecture designed to allow customers to flatten and simplify legacy data center networks. Juniper says its Virtual Chassis fabric technology, in which 10 Juniper fixed-configuration switches can be interconnected into a single "switch" supporting hundreds of Gigabit Ethernet ports, can reduce three layers to two today.

Juniper's Project Stratus can then collapse the infrastructure to one layer in the future.

"It's clear to the industry that, because of server virtualization, a new network needs to emerge," says Cindy Borovick, a data center analyst at IDC. "[Juniper's announcement] is a reaffirmation of that, with proof points."

The first deliverable from Project Stratus, a multiyear effort to develop a flat, converged data center fabric, will be in the first half of 2011, Juniper says. But for now, Juniper rolled out new routers and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches designed to help flatten the network fabric to improve performance and decrease cost.

The switches include the EX 4500, a 48-port, top-of-rack 10G Ethernet switch that will support Virtual Chassis in a future release. Juniper says the 4500 is Converged Enhanced Ethernet and Data Center Bridging "capable," and 44% more power efficient than Cisco's Nexus 5000.

CEE and DCB are emerging technologies and standards for making Ethernet a lossless fabric for the data center, capable of supporting storage traffic -- such as FibreChannel -- for converged storage and server access.

Juniper also unveiled a 40-port 10G Ethernet line card for its EX 8200 core switch. This will position the 8200 as an end-of-row switch for aggregating multiple 10G links from servers and server switches.

The new router is the MX 80 3D Ethernet edge services router. It incorporates the Trio chipset Juniper unveiled last fall that's designed to dynamically and simultaneously support more subscribers, services and bandwidth.  

The MX 3D is designed for virtual machine mobility between data centers interconnected by Ethernet Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS). VPLS provides a single Layer 2 domain between these data centers, in effect providing the stitching in a cloud infrastructure.

This will compete with Cisco Overlay Transport Virtualization data center interconnect technology.  

New software includes four JUNOS Space applications. They are Virtual Control, Ethernet Design, Security Design and Services Insight.

Virtual Control includes integration with VMware to manage physical and virtual systems from a common orchestration platform; Ethernet Design and Security Design are intended to enable rapid configuration and deployment of data center networks and security policies; and Service Insight is designed to enable proactive detection, diagnosis and resolution of network issues.

Juniper says the new software and Trio ASICs are also designed to support FibreChannel-over-Ethernet, a storage encapsulation technology designed to converge storage-area network and LAN traffic on a single Ethernet infrastructure. Juniper says it will unveil a version of its JUNOS operating system software for FCoE in the second half of this year.

Juniper also rolled out new software for its SRX Series Services Gateways that gives IT managers visibility into application and user traffic behaviors and changing data flows driven by virtualization, Web 2.0 and cloud services deployment. This new AppTrack software will be available later this quarter.

Juniper also announced that IBM has started shipping OEM versions of the SRX Series, and that Dell is on target to ship the OEM version of its SRX gateways and EX switches by early July.

Lastly, Juniper announced Juniper Care Plus, a new services portfolio designed to mitigate risk in network investments. Juniper Care Plus provides "high-touch" support, proactive automation tools, and services such as education, network consulting and account management. Juniper Care Plus is available through Juniper and its partners, including IBM.

The EX 4500 will be available later this quarter. The 40-port 10G module for the EX 8200 will allow the switch to support 640 10G ports per chassis. It will be available in the third quarter. Virtual Chassis capabilities for the EX 8200 line will be available in the first half of 2011.The MX 80 3D is shipping now.Virtual Control and Service Insight software will be available in the third quarter. Ethernet Design is available now. Security Design will be available later this quarter.

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