& cplSiteName &

Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric

Craig Matsumoto
3/29/2011
50%
50%

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) talked a good game in announcing QFabric, its futuristic architecture for large data centers, but its switch/router rivals are ready with their own stories about virtualizing the data center to behave like one big switch.

Light Reading sat down with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) recently to find out how its OneFabric differs from Juniper's architecture. What advantage does the company bring, other than the fact that its name is a type of fabric?

The gist: Brocade says it's got a simpler setup that plays off a data-center heritage.

(Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), if you're wondering, announced its unified fabric a couple of years ago, but even so, it's preparing a response to QFabric. Cisco plans to make a data-center announcement Wednesday, and marketing preparation for it started a couple of weeks ago. Check out this video and feel the drama.)

You might recall that Brocade came out with its single-layer fabric announcement in November, about three months ahead of Juniper. It's actually got a core idea similar to Juniper's: making the data center behave like one enormous switch. (See Brocade Flattens Out and How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center.)

Where the companies differ is in how to build the fabric that connects everything together into that virtual switch. Two major areas stand out: the types of equipment used and the way they're connected.

One box
Brocade's plan, called Brocade One, involves only one new piece of equipment: the VCX 6720, a family of 10Gbit/s switches that comes in two sizes, 24 or 60 ports.

Juniper will be introducing new elements: an equipment chassis called the interconnect and server-based software called the director. Neither is available just yet.

To be fair, most customers won't be going whole-hog with QFabric right away; the transition could take years. But the delay gives competitors something to pounce on.

"In order to do anything useful [with QFabric], you're going to have to do it at very large scale," says Doug Ingraham, Brocade's vice president of data center products.

Brocade also touts the simplicity of basing its fabric on just one box -- one that included control, data and management planes. The company does see a need to create more varieties of that box, though. "You can think of 10-port blade switches up to modular chassis, all with distributed intelligence and manageable as a logical chassis," says Gurpreet Singh, Brocade's product manager for data center gear.

Standards
Juniper is likely to take a lot of flak for QFabric's proprietary interconnect. At the same time, Juniper will be razzing competitors for reliance on an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocol called Trill.

Juniper's proprietary connections are those within QFabric. This was a necessity for features Juniper insisted upon, such as nearly zero latency. But as CTO Pradeep Sindhu pointed out during Juniper's announcement, the switches and storage elements that populate QFabric's perimeter, so to speak, connect to the fabric using standard interfaces. Non-Juniper equipment can be connected into a QFabric.

Brocade says it's got a simpler route: using Ethernet all over the place, building the fabric out of Layer 2 connections, linking everything together with Trill.

Juniper doesn't seem scared. "Trill in the data center is a laughingstock," Sindhu said at the QFabric briefing in February.

Juniper couldn't use Trill anyway, because it lacks the Layer 3 capabilities that the company wanted in QFabric. Using Trill would have required extra routers, Sindhu said.

More importantly, he dismissed Trill as being focused on the control plane only; Juniper wanted QFabric to be built with the data and management planes in mind as well.

That appears to be a point of debate. Brocade contends Trill isn't so simplistic. Trill can accommodate data-plane work by including MAC-in-MAC encapsulation (also known as Provider Backbone Bridges (PBB)), Ingraham says. The capability has to be put into hardware, but Brocade already has it in its ASICs, he says. In fact, Ingraham contends Trill was meant for the data plane, and that the control-plane piece was added on top.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:11 PM
re: Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric


I'm new to this whole debate about whether or not Trill sucks. I'm assuming most people would say it doesn't.


Anyone want to enlighten us all on the truth in either direction?

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:11 PM
re: Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric


Go ahead, click on that Cisco video link. Listen to just the first 3 seconds. LET THERE BE DRAMA!

paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:08 PM
re: Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric


 


1.  Cisco Video - Was waiting for William Wallace to appear and cry "FREEDOM!"


2. Trill - Why would you not expect a router company to trash Ethernet?


Nothing is perfect and all things have their place.


seven


 

quicktime
50%
50%
quicktime,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:05 PM
re: Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric


Forget those buzz words, just look at the shipped boxes.


We know what's really happening. Are we trying to create


another IT bubble with just concepts or marketing ads.


 


Looks we are one step ahead to bubble 2.0 since people


started to talking without making real products.


 

ethermac
50%
50%
ethermac,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:04 PM
re: Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric


Shipped boxes, agreed:


AFAIK, Cisco's been selling (and shipping) Nexus boxes with unified fabric for a while now.


What's the impressive thing of Juniper announcement? Near-zero latency in a proprietary fabric that does not ship yet? Scaling a system that does not exist? Dismissing trill whithout explaining what to do with 40 GE or 100GE ?


And what about Brocade's ? A 60 10GE ports switch? Is that everything they can do?


Have they ever heard of the (shipping) Nexus 7018 or the (shipping) 5596 ?


I'm working with a customer that is building now a new datacenter. Its requirements start at 32 servers per rack, CNAs and redundant connections. Brocade, please tell me what am I supposed to do with a 60 port switch.

Desmoden
50%
50%
Desmoden,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:58 PM
re: Brocade Responds to Juniper's QFabric


First off I find it rather sad that Juniper feels so threatened by TRILL that they must insult it by calling it a joke or other fluffy schoolyard insults. All the engineers at these companies do their best to make good products. No need to insult. Makes him look insecure and immature. 


Port Count; I must say I agree that 60 ports is a bit odd. However, they seem to offer a 24port and 60port version. Seems more likely people would use 2x24port boxes. Maybe 24 is for top of rack, 60 for end of row? Maybe they just wanted to see how many 10Gb connections they could fit in 2U? But once again, for the poster to simply say " Tell me what I'm suppose to do with 60 ports" Well, I would guess you are to plug 60 cables into it. Are you saying there are too many ports? Or too few? State your argument. 


TRILL; So I just came back from the TRILL WG at the IETF in Prague. TRILL is alive and well and very active. A LOT of people showed up. If you want to see the status, download this Agenda, Etc.


Are there people trying to stop TRILL? Sure, mostly SPB people, for obvious self serving reasons. However with the two chairs of the WG being one Cisco Principal Engineer and one Huawei Principal Engineer, I think it's safe to say it has a good team behind it. Especially when you add Radia Perlman to this list. She invented a little thing called Spanning Tree...oh and IS-IS. Maybe you have heard of these things?


When you consider that Cisco, Marvell, Brocade, Fulcrum & Broadcom are ALL producing chips with TRILL support I think it may be a bit of a "joke" to call TRILL anything but a protocol gaining wide industry support. 


Will SPB survive? I thought so, I though we would end up with TRILL and SPB just like we ended up with IS-IS and OSPF. However with QFabric even Juniper has ditched SPB and is using a proprietary solution based on BGP for QFabric. 


So if Juniper bails on SPB, I'm not sure what will happen. Kind of sad, customers want choice and open standards. Juniper has damaged both with QFabric.

From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Netflix Set to Enter China
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.