Ethernet equipment

Juniper's QFabric Is Ready

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) told analysts Monday that the remaining two pieces of QFabric will be available later this week.

Those would be the QF/Interconnect and QF/Director, the pieces that make this data-center fabric actually work. QF/Interconnect provides the low-latency transport between switches (or other data-center elements); QF/Director runs the fabric's distributed control plane.

The first piece, the QFX3500 top-of-rack switch, has been available since Juniper launched QFabric in February.

Analysts were convened at Juniper for a day of executive presentations; both Mark Sue of RBC Capital Markets and Michael Genovese of MKM Partners mentioned the QFabric status in notes published Tuesday morning.

Why this matters
QFabric is a big reason why analysts were bullish on Juniper's stock earlier this year. Juniper promised that all three pieces would be at least available for ordering by the third quarter, a deadline that was just a few weeks away.

Lack of QFabric availability was one of the factors Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) made fun of with its "Juniper pizza" video Monday, which pointed out the things Juniper had supposedly promised but not delivered. Five customers do have the full QFabric in beta test, Juniper told the analysts.

All the major router/switch vendors want to own this data-center-fabric market. QFabric is particularly ambitious, targeting the largest data centers (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories is a beta tester), so if Juniper can pull it off, it might have something to set itself apart. Revenues might be slow to come, though, as the high-end data-center market "needs time to develop," Genovese writes.

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— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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