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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
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

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.