Juniper Unveils Next-Generation Data Centre Program

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Juniper introduces a new division, a new switch and new strategies to help solution providers deliver and support next-generation converged data centre networks.

Juniper Networks is developing a program to create a next-generation data centre fabric with the goal of increasing scalability, performance and simplicity. For solution providers, the program could provide the ability to support fully converged and virtualized data centre environments.

Code-named Stratus Project, the program will be developed by a new Data Centre Business Group within Juniper, says David Yen, who will serve as executive vice president of the Data Centre Business Group.

The Stratus Project has been in the works for more than a year, says Yen, with the goal of creating a scalable, flat and lossless fabric that will carry all types of data centre traffic via a single architecture at 10GB Ethernet access port speed.

Yen says Juniper’s long-term strategy of creating a single fabric will address the latency and performance drags that constrain legacy data centre architectures as they cope with the exponential increase in applications, servers, storage and network traffic.

“The Stratus Project will help drive down the cost and complexity of managing data centre information infrastructure for solution providers, while also augmenting our current open standards approach,” Yen says. “Focusing on open standards and guaranteeing interoperability will help mitigate these compatibility issues as the technology matures.”

While competitors have embarked on similar projects, such as Cisco Systems with its Unified Fabric strategy, Yen says Juniper’s focus is on developing Stratus with input from server, storage and virtualization vendors to ensure open standards and across-the-board interoperability.

“We’re approaching the development of the Stratus fabric by partnering with
storage and server vendors, and Stratus will also integrate with all major data centre management software vendors’ products,” he says. “More so than our competitors, we are not asking server, storage, or even interface card vendors to change to connect to our solutions; we are adapting our solutions to fit with those vendors.”

This open standards approach is absolutely mandatory, says Yen, not just to ensure technology interoperability, but to ensure that solution providers and administrators who’d previously focused on one area of the data centre—server, storage or security, for example—can leverage their specialised knowledge and expand upon it to build holistic, unified data centre practices.

“Within the data centre there’s so much specialised knowledge around servers, storage, security … You just can’t walk in and demand that these guys change their expertise,” Yen says.

And rather than uproot Juniper solution providers’ existing practices and solutions, Yen says technologies developed under the Stratus Project will augment and enhance current Juniper Networks products and solutions.

“We will continue to apply the same philosophy of converged networks with lowered latency and increased performance in our products today while we’re also looking at the future and rapid consolidation in data centres,” Yen says.

Andy Ingram, vice president of business development and product marketing at Juniper, says Juniper is already working with solution provider partners to help them understand and implement these strategies.

Juniper introduced its first Data Centre Infrastructure Solutions, designed to advance data centre consolidation, server virtualization and green IT, in November 2008. The solutions comprise the EX Series Ethernet Switches, including the new EX8200 line, MX Series Ethernet Services Routers and SRX Series Services Gateways.

Juniper’s latest product, its first 10GB access switch for data centre access, is the EX2500 line, which addresses high-performance server access requirements with 24 10GB Ethernet SFP+ ports which deliver wire-speed performance and 700 nanosecond latency.

The EX2500 will be available in the second half of 2009, Ingram says.