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Juniper switching boss talks technology challenges, Cisco Nexus 6000

Jim Duffy | April 24, 2013
Jonathan Davidson took over Juniper campus and data center switching when the two previously separate business units were combined following the departure of founding engineer R.K. Anand.

So will EX and QFabric eventually share the same ASIC and code base?

Whether you use an EX platform or a QFabric platform, it's running Junos. It's about simplifying the operations for our customers and that can happen across either one of the architectures or platforms or products our customers decide to go with. We fundamentally believe that if you look out five to 10 years from now, we call it the Path to Flat. We truly believe almost every data center is going to be a flat data center. We've translated flat to mean fabric. Any-to-any connectivity in the data center is important. If you truly have a flat network, you can have deterministic latency. In simplifying the Path to Flat, one of the things we're going to start to do is actually bring these two technologies together. So one of the things we're going to start talking to our customers about here pretty shortly -- we haven't gone broadly with this yet -- we're going to take that Virtual Chassis technology that tens of thousands of customers have deployed and put that onto our QFX top-of-rack switches.

What it means is, I can start with a QFX ToR, have QFX at the top-of-rack and aggregation layer, and run that entire thing in a Virtual Chassis-based network. If I decide that I want to go even more flat, I don't need to throw any boxes out, I don't need to re-cable; I simply need to change the software and the configuration and actually add the QFabric Director and then I have a completely flat network and a centralized point of management, and I am able to grow from a few dozen 10G ports up to 6,000 10G ports without having to rip and replace any portions of my network, or re-cable.

If you have our Microfabric [the QFabric 3000-M Interconnect], you are able to go from zero to 768 10G ports, the QFX can act as the interconnect as well, and you can grow with that. We think that the interconnect is something that's a critical component and the [Broadcom] silicon family that we're using today will be able to continue into the future. We will use the most advantageous silicon for our customers. What's important to them is simplicity. But at the end of the day, 98% of our customers don't care what silicon is in the platform. They want to make sure that we're meeting their requirements or making sure that it's simple for them to use, and that they get the right price and performance.

What about Virtual Chassis for the QFabric Interconnect?

We'll be talking more about that at the end of the year.


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