Juniper targets data-center networks with flexible 400G switch

Juniper has announced QFX5700, a flexible switch that can be upgraded to support 400GbE networks and includes tight integration with the company’s Apstra intent-based networking (IBN) software.

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Juniper has rolled out a flexible switch that can be upgraded to support 400GbE networks and includes tight integration with the company’s Apstra intent-based networking (IBN) software.

The Juniper QFX5700, a 5U, eight-slot, 25.6Tbps throughput box supports a range of  line cards that customers can mix and match Ethernet speeds of 10G to 400G to accommodate application or migration needs.

The QFX 5700 is built with Broadcom’s Trident 4 chipset and runs Junos OS Evolved, the vendor’s native-Linux-based network operating system.

The QFX5700 is targeted at data-centers where capacity and cloud services are being added,, said Mike Bushong, VP of cloud-ready data center at Juniper. The switch has a variety of port speeds for spine, leaf, interconnect and campus use cases, with the ability to connect a mix of device types and profiles, Bushong said.

While the need for full-on 400G in enterprise networks isn't prevalent now, it is growing, according to experts. 

“We see enterprises accelerating their 400G technology adoption as integral to their strategy of future-proofing their networks for three years or more. The primary driver of this strategy is the expanding adoption of AI/ML compute clusters that require 50/100G I/O combined with 400G scaling,” according to a recent report from researchers at Futurum.  

“These capabilities are critical to enterprises in meeting their top-level priority of enhancing the visibility of application flow levels across their networks. Enterprises are demanding that their data centers be more application-aware, especially in hybrid cloud settings, to advance their IBN objectives, particularly in enabling proactive monitoring and automating troubleshooting to improve the QoE (quality of experience) metrics of their applications,” Futurum stated.

While the hardware capacity and flexibility are part of the story, the switch can be utilized to work with Juniper's IBN software, Apstra, which it purchased last December.     

Junos Evolved can work with the Apstra software but is not a prerequisite as the Apstra software is hardware agnostic so it can be integrated to work with products from Cisco, Arista, Dell, Microsoft, and Nvidia/Cumulus.

Apstra keeps a real-time repository of configuration, telemetry, and validation information to ensure the network is doing what customers want it to do. Apstra also includes automation features to provide consistent network and security policies for workloads across physical and virtual infrastructures.

Juniper recently released Apstra 4.0 that makes it easier to add devices or workloads. The system ensures they work across the entire network fabric without without the manual intervention required in the past. It also includes customizable and reusable network templates. 

“Apstra constantly models network state, checks against that state, collects rich telemetry and proactively alerts human operators when an issue may be brewing," Bushong said.

Apstra templates can help build operations frameworks, often in multivendor environments, and in a repeatable way that can identify when a task needs to be invoked, how it should best be executed, and whether it accomplished the desired intent, Bushong said.

“Add that to the QFX5700, and customers can extend that intelligence to more places, in more ways, to address a broader set of use cases,” he said.

The QFX5700 will be available in the fourth quarter.

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