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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.

Why wouldn't a 3000-G play that role?

It comes back to failure domains. Some customers just simply want to have pod sizes up to 768 10G ports. That's about their comfort level with a single failure domain. In the traditional two-tier architecture, that would be the aggregation box [supporting] up to 16 40G links going down. With Microfabric, it's all one level. But still, their comfort level is around how many 10G ports. So it comes down to how many applications can I risk losing connectivity to in a given point in time? It just comes down to their belief structure. Not any technical reasons why, it just comes down to their belief structure.

You can use the G fabric as the interconnect and go all the way up to 6,000 ports of 10G. I can go from port 1 to port 5,560 with the same latency that I can go from port 1 to port 3. That's something that is really compelling for them because if I have multiple Microfabrics and I go through that second level of switching hierarchy, my latency's going to change. If I'm the network operations team I can't guarantee the latency between all applications inside of my data center. That's really what the customers ask themselves in determining whether they want the Microfabric or the G.

We solved the biggest problem first and since we launched the Microfabric we've seen significant traction in that particular space. The Microfabric actually fits the majority of sizes of most customers' complete data centers. The majority of data centers today are less than 1,500 gig ports. You might imagine then, do I need to buy a 6,000 port thing that I know I'll never scale to? Or am I OK with one or two Microfabrics?

So at first release, QFabric was a solution looking for a problem.

No, it was a solution for the largest of customers who really wanted to have any-to-any connectivity between a very large number of ports. The traction in G continues to do very, very well.

How's demand for single-tier?

I would say that demand for a single-tier solution and a fabric-based solution ... Customer's don't think from a single-tier perspective, they think from an attributes perspective. What are the attributes I care about? I care about simplicity. Can you give me investment protection? I might want to go to a virtualized infrastructure in a year or two. I may want to go to an overlay infrastructure in a year or two, or three, or five. We want to make sure our fabric technologies give the customers the ability to be the best underlay for the overlay, and the best underlay for a virtualized environment. We have to make sure our customers are able to have the greatest experience from an attribute perspective. So it's all selling. It depends upon which attributes the customer cares about more. As we have a simplified approach to our architectures and our building blocks -- Virtual Chassis on the QFX 3500 and 3600 -- you're going to be able to have a clear and consistent path to more flat as time goes on.

 

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