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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.

In introducing data plane programmability on the EX line, does that imply sharing the same silicon stream as the EX9200?

That's something we're not prepared to talk about today. But you can rest assured that we are going to make sure that our fundamental goals of simplicity and automation are things we are going to continue to focus on for our key customers.

How's the reaction been among your EX8200 base to the EX9200?

It's actually been quite positive. They love the Virtual Chassis aspects of things. They love the fact that they are able to have one common core from the campus to the data center. Manageability ... doesn't change in any way, shape or form for them with the EX9200.

What's the migration or trade-in program you have for those customers?

We are going through and reaching out to our EX8200 customers and making sure they understand where we are going, make sure they understand what the platform is and what they're going to get out of the EX8200 over the next five to 10 years. And with that comes the conversation of, is there even a need to make a transition. Most of the time there isn't a need to make a transition. Most of them are quite happy with what they have today. But for those customers who would like to transfer to something that is newer and more programmable, we'll certainly make sure that the transition is a seamless one for them.

Do you expect to retain all of your EX8200 base as they make that transition, or do you expect to lose some of your customers to your competitors?

For those customers who do want to make any transition we certainly expect to make sure that they stick with the EX portfolio. We think that it offers significant benefits for them; they think that it offers significant benefits for them. And the growth that we've experienced in that market we expect to continue as well with the 8200 and the 9200.

Are you offering an even-up trade-in program for the 9200?

None of the incentives we're sharing publicly. We are sharing them with our customer base -- none that we're sharing outside of that customer base.

Does the EX9200 exclude QFabric from any opportunities?

If we look at how customers have evolved over time, in talking through where we were with the solving the biggest problems first, we came out with a 128-node system, and then last summer we launched the 16-node Microfabric. What we have found is that customers' evolution in thinking about what they call failure domains has evolved over the past five years. If you went to many customers five years ago they would say, just give me a bigger and bigger and bigger switch. Many customers are still comfortable with the 6,000 10G ports in a single domain. But there are certain customers who want a smaller failure domain. And so they will go and purchase multiple versions of a Microfabric for a single data center and then they will go and connect those Microfabrics together with the next layer of switching. Before the 9200 was available, one customer had multiple Microfabrics connected together through a [Juniper] MX [router]. They decided to collapse the core and data center edge together into one environment. Now we expect the 9200 to sit at that layer and offer that interconnect between multiple Microfabric pods. It wouldn't be an Interconnect per se but it would be a switching layer between the two pods. You could connect the Microfabrics together as well, if you wanted to. But we think most customers would likely have a second layer of switching on top.


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