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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.

What's selling more or in greater demand: the QFabric 3000-G Interconnect or the 3000-M?

One of the things that we have found is Juniper always tackles the hardest problems first. And I think it always doesn't get the credit for doing that. Solving the hardest problems isn't necessarily solving the sexy problems. When we go out and try to fundamentally change the way data center networks have been built for the past two decades, we came out with our QFabric single tier solution. And we decided to come out with a solution that scaled to over 6,000 10G ports in a single fabric. We could have easily come out with the smaller fabric first. But when you start to look at the logical scale issues, the issues that have to do with keeping 128 nodes all in sync at the same time ... if you solved for the small problem first you would have run into scaling incrementalism over time, and it would have taken us a much, much longer time to get to the scale that's necessary. That's one of the fundamental reasons we haven't seen any other vendor in our space come out with anything that looks remotely like this. The problem that we solved was a hard one.

Multichassis is pretty hard to do. Think of QFabric as a 128-node multichassis system that acts as a common, single fabric. That's the scale of the problem that we solved, and when you look at what QFabric actually did, all of the components and what it looks like, I'll call SDN Version 1. You have an external director controlling the various nodes; you have an interconnect that it can control as well; and you can provision everything through a single point of management, with an out-of-band control plane. When we started building this there was no term called SDN. We solved the problem internally with all open, standards-based protocols. We use BGP to communicate inside of the fabric. SDN Version 2 from Juniper is going to be a combination of SDN Version 1 plus some of the things Bob Muglia mentioned around 6-4-1 and obviously the Contrail controller is going to be a big portion of how all of this fits together into what I call SDN Version 2.

What about OpenDaylight?

We also realize it's an ecosystem of players and customers are going to want to have choice. It's important that we work closely with industry leaders like VMware, not only on their hypervisors and virtualization technologies, but also where they're going. It's important that we work with Daylight. And it's also critically important that we work with other third parties to actually make sure that we have the right ecosystem partners around that. We are a big believer in that the data center space is an ecosystem play. And if we try and go it by ourselves, we will not be as successful as we would be if we partner very tightly. The market has clearly told us that OpenStack is important; that VMware is important; that Daylight is important; and I think there will be a few other players that come out and tell us that that's important.


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