Cloud enablement

What SeaMicro Means to Juniper

6:15 PM -- SeaMicro Inc. got a lot of attention yesterday for its ultradense server: 512 Atom processors from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), bunched into a box 10 rack units high. The goal is to replace 40 pizza-box servers and consume a lot less power along the way.

And that's what all the coverage focused on.

What's more interesting to me, though, is the ancillary equipment such a server could replace. Having fewer server boxes -- fewer physical boxes, that is -- means you don't need the same amount of equipment hooking them up to the network. Andrew Feldman, SeaMicro's CEO who once ran marketing for Force10 Networks Inc. , claims the damage would be two Gigabit Ethernet switches, two terminal servers, and a load balancer.

Put another way, SeaMicro's megaserver could replace not only a bunch of smaller servers, but the top-of-rack switch as well. It would be like removing a layer from the network.

Doesn't that sound like what Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is trying to do? The company's approach to the data center involves using virtualized routers to remove steps in the access/aggregation/core chain of command, culminating in a single-layer data center powered by the (yet unannounced) Stratus fabric. (See Juniper Strikes at the Data Center and Juniper Gets 'New' With Data Centers.)

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) likewise talks about eliminating layers. (See Brocade Reveals Data Center Plan and Brocade Preaches Data Center Nirvana.)

Feldman sees the similarity. "We replace multiple layers of complexity, right in line with Juniper's thinking," he says.

I'm not sure Juniper or Brocade needs to be particularly worried about this. SeaMicro is a server company, after all, and not in Feldman's old business of building big switches, at least not yet. It's just interesting to see this secondary effect emerge from the goal of condensing servers into a smaller space.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:32:09 PM
re: What SeaMicro Means to Juniper

Anyone else see the connection here? Is it just me? (At least I've got a CEO on my side...)

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