& cplSiteName &

How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
2/23/2011
50%
50%

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a Wednesday press event, Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) unveiled QFabric, its overarching technology for scaling the control, data and management planes of the data center.

Yes, after hearing about the Stratus data-center fabric for two years, it's finally here and has a name.

QFabric is rather esoteric, but Juniper is providing a box for the press to fawn over: the first new product instantiating QFabric. Juniper claims it is the fastest 10Gbit/s top-of-rack switch ever, the 64-port QFX3500.

What's more important is the entire structure behind QFabric, which makes the data center behave as if it were one giant switch. QFabric comes in three pieces: node, interconnect and director.

The nodes, consisting of Ethernet switches and similar devices, house a distributed control plane that's overseen by the director, which is made of software running on an ordinary server. Multiple directors can be planted around the network, operating as a hive mind to oversee this distributed control plane.

The interconnect is Juniper's mechanism for sending packets between nodes at what the company claims is nearly the lowest latency possible. There's a bit of magic here: CTO Pradeep Sindhu likens it to the superposition principle in quantum mechanics, in which photons take every possible path, and we see the sum of those paths. He wouldn't elaborate much, but apparently, packets have every possible path through the network available to them.

QFabric also avoids congestion using a mechanism similar to backpressure in water pipes, Sindhu said. Again, he wouldn't give details.

Neither is Juniper saying how big of a virtual data center can be built with QFabric. Those details will come out in June or July, Sindhu said.

Why this matters
This is Stratus fabric that Juniper has been talking about for two years. It's the company's ambitious attempt to become a crucial cog in enterprise data centers and a major offensive against a major Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) stronghold.

They're all pitching ways to create larger data centers that can accommodate the virtualization and heavily distributed applications that are coming in vogue. There's also a nod here to the big data centers built by the likes of Facebook and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). The trick is to avoid building monstrous data centers that get bogged down in performance or overloading space and power limitations.

The answer being posed by Juniper -- and by Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), in an earlier announcement -- is to make the data center look like one giant switch, as far as the network is concerned. Part of the philosophy is to prevent having to add more layers of switches in order to make the network bigger.

Juniper's approach doesn't require that you use Juniper gear in the data center, although the company admits things will work better if you do.

Competition in this "fabric" concept is going to be intense, as vendors are, in a sense, selling the entire data center as a product, something much bigger and more complex than selling Ethernet switches.

For more
Here's the saga of Stratus (with a little bit of Brocade One and Cisco Universal Computing System added).



— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(18)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:19 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


I admit i rammed this story through without aid of the Juniper QFabric press release.  The node, interconnect, and director have real names: QF/Node, QF/Interconnect, QF/Director.


The latter two will be available in Q3, Juniper says. The Node can be just about anything with a standard interface -- any Ethernet switch, basically, but it does have to have some Juniper software infused.


The press conference is still going on, at this writing.  David Yen is saying the '3500 is actually 48x10GE plus 4x40G ports -- and those 40 can be split into 4x10G each if you want, which adds up to 64.


Claim is that the '3500 never drops packets, period, at any load level. Sounds hard to believe, but considering it's an easily tested factoid, Juniper must have a lot to back that up. Wonder if they'll submit it for that next set of 10GE tests that Nick Lippis plans to run.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:18 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


I may have overstated this in the story: QFabric is not meant to interconnect physically separate data centers.  Sindhu is saying they're working on a plan for that, but it's going to have to be a different technology.  Across sizable distance, the speed of light limits QFabric's abilities, apparently.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:18 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Hey, they're gonna try. But to your point: it's noteworthy that the FC stuff is coming *later.*

Bob Saccamano
50%
50%
Bob Saccamano,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:18 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Juniper as a thought leader around Fibre Channel?  Oh please.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:18 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Brocade talks about the same layer-collapsing philosophy. They didn't give us the deep dive that Juniper did, so I can't directly compare the approaches - that could be interesting to look into.


Cisco's version of this is the unified fabric, especially in the sense of combining Ethernet and Fibre Channel. Juniper doesn't have that yet, it appears, but David Yen at the press conference is saying QFabric will eventually solve Fibre Channel scalability too.


Cisco does describe its unified fabric as creating a flat network. The approach, if i'm recalling it correctly, doesn't have the same back-to-basics approach Juniper took -- that is, Juniper's seems to be more of a complete rebuilding of the data center. (Note that you can migrate to QFabric in pieces; I think Juniper's said that before).

willygeorge
50%
50%
willygeorge,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:17 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Juniper seems to already support  FCoE and Fiber Channel GW functionality on the QXF3500


http://www.juniper.net/us/en/products-services/switching/qfx-series/qfx3500/#literature


 


http://networktest.com/jnprqfx3500/

Bob Saccamano
50%
50%
Bob Saccamano,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:17 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Did Juniper represent that QFabric uses only custom silicon that Juniper developed?

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:17 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Why now? I'm curious about the timing of the announcement give that quite a few details are months down the road.

farsonic
50%
50%
farsonic,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:16 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center
I dont think it is big conspiracy as to why announce now. The qfx3500 works perfectly fine as a standalone top of rack switch, and the fabric can be added later to expand the solution.

So, if they have shipping product best get it out the door,
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:12:15 PM
re: How Q-ute! Juniper's QFabric Rethinks the Data Center


Bob -- No, they did not... at least, my take is that they didn't. QFabric could very well include off-the-shelf chips too.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
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
Energy 2020: Growing Services, Not Consumption

6|24|16   |   07:18   |   (0) comments


Management of power requirements needs to be a key consideration as cable operators deploy new services, says Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Charter Communications and chair of the SCTE/ISBE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee. In this video, Cooper discusses the importance of cable operators and technology partners ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei & TDC First to Launch DOCSIS 3.1 Trial in Europe

6|24|16   |     |   (0) comments


To meet the rising demands for high-speed broadband and to tackle fierce competition for 1.5 million household, TDC wanted to upgrade its network to use the latest technology. Using Huawei's DOCSIS 3.1 solution, TDC is now able to offer gigabit speeds to its customers.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

6|22|16   |   03:28   |   (0) comments


MANO shortfalls, an increasingly bloated open source ecosystem and the cultural challenges for network operators were among the key takeaways from the OPNFV Summit in Berlin.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bringing Ultra Broadband to the South Pacific

6|22|16   |   7:55   |   (0) comments


At Singapore's UBBS 2016 summit, Light Reading speaks to Lim Chee Siong, Huawei's CMO in the South Pacific Region.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper's NFV Platform

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


A telco cloud is a key enabler for service providers to deliver virtualized services to their customers. Juniper has a differentiated approach with an open and comprehensive NFV platform to build the cloud of the future for multiple use cases.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera: The Glass Ceiling's Been Broken

6|22|16   |   4:34   |   (0) comments


Shannon Williams, an engineer by trade and now the director of sales for Infinera's major accounts, draws confidence from being a female in a male-dominated industry and hopes other women will too as industry dynamics swing in our favor.
LRTV Custom TV
RAD Demonstrates SD-WAN Functionality at BCE 2016

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


In conjunction with Versa Networks, RAD demos a joint solution for SD-WAN implementation. The solution uses RAD's ETX-2i, a vCPE platform integrating a powerful IP and Carrier Ethernet NID/NTU with a field-pluggable x86 NFV module that runs Versa's FlexVNF for SD-WAN functionality. The demo implements SD-WAN over a simulated service provider footprint by deploying ...
LRTV Custom TV
Radware on Virtualizing Network Security

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


Radware's Michael O'Malley highlights the benefits for service providers of virtualizing network security.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei 2016 UBBS World Tour: Singapore

6|21|16   |   02:39   |   (0) comments


Highlights from Huawei's UBBS World Tour event in Singapore.
LRTV Custom TV
The FlowBROKER Solution

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


During a demo at the Big Communications Event 2016, Accedian director of product line solutions Greg Spear demonstrates how the FlowBROKER distributed packet capture solution (part of Accedian's SkyLIGHT platform) can be used to troubleshoot and resolve QoE issues.

FlowBROKER is the industry's first lossless remote packet capture solution, which uses ...

LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: Dell & the New World Order

6|21|16   |   22:48   |   (0) comments


Dell's Jim Ganthier on how the very essence of enterprise is being affected by digital disruption – and how the cloud can help companies find a path forward.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: The CSP of the Future

6|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Traditional telecom operators have been adopting new ways of doing business from the IT sector and emulating web-scale companies in their technology adoption. Are these strategies succeeding? A panel of experts at BCE considered the evidence...
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
FCC to Vote on 5G Spectrum on July 14
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/20/2016
'Brexit' Vote Hits BT, Vodafone
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/24/2016
AT&T Settles on LTE for Cellular IoT
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/22/2016
Google Fiber Buys Webpass in Wireless Play
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/23/2016
Arista Could Face US Import Ban – Reports
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
At the BCE 2016 show in Austin, ECI Telecom CEO Darryl Edwards tells Light Reading founder and CEO about the Elastic Network concept and the company's NFV and cybersecurity developments.
Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE/ISBE, sits down with Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York office to discuss the society's Energy 2020 campaign, including its mission to benefit the environment, enable economic benefits and the key challenges facing cable operators wanting to reduce energy consumption.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.