Juniper Unveils Next-Generation Data Center Program

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


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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 center networks.

Juniper Networks is developing a program to create a next-generation data center 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 center environments.

Code-named Stratus Project, the program will be developed by a new Data Center Business Group within Juniper, says David Yen, who will serve as executive vice president of the Data Center 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 center 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 center 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 center 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 center 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 center—server, storage or security, for example—can leverage their specialized knowledge and expand upon it to build holistic, unified data center practices.

"Within the data center there's so much specialized 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 centers," 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 Center Infrastructure Solutions, designed to advance data center 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 center 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.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.