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It seems ALU is following Huawei's IP team. They released the NE5000 platform over 2 years ago and it can be configured in a back-to-back architecture or in a multi-chassis system and act as a single virtual core PoP router.
Neither Cisco nor Juniper have anything to match it in terms of raw HP & port density. Where they have historically won is been the incumbent, marketing prowess & Carrier apathy/suspicion.
@ Craig M & Lightreading Editorial Team; In addition to port density & chipsets, we REALLY need you to start stating clearly the power consumption and rack deployment footprint. (Clearly = Calculations based on section 7 of this document; http://www.verizonnebs.com/TPR... Unfortunately, people try to bend the rules on stats & calculations, so a common baseline is critical.)
Space & power are the KEY metrics alongside port density & NSR feature-set support. These units are always in Tier 3/4 data-centre environments where the PoP fibre terminates and therefore are able to support deployment. In these environments space & power are at a significant premium!
Cisco's original CRS-1 family had a floor-loading that was astronomical and needed its own nuclear powerplant for juice, when I last consulted on a deployment a couple of years ago, as an example! Juniper were better but didnt come out smelling of roses & ALU had no play in that space, as per the article.
If Huawei is ever able to shake up its incompetent chinese IP marketing team and get its act together globally - not just deployments in a couple of networks in EMEA, AP & what was the USSR - then Cisco, Juniper and ALU are all in very serious trouble!
The NE5K may not have the feature density but it kills all of them for power, clustering capability and I believe space. Or at least it did....