Virtual Chassis allows several fixed-configuration Juniper EX switches to be combined into a single logical switch for increased scale and density, and to reduce a three-tier switching architecture into two tiers. Juniper has disclosed plans to extend this capability across more EX switches and MX routers.
Virtual Chassis and new Juniper techniques in the Stratus switches to replace Spanning Tree in Ethernet data center networks will be offered as an alternative to the IETF TRILL specification. TRILL, or Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links, is designed to overcome the slow topology reconvergence times associated with Spanning Tree by enabling shortest-path multihop routing for large-scale Ethernet and Fibre-Channel-over-Ethernet data center networks.
"(Stratus) is radically different than what we're seeing from Cisco," a source says. Cisco, the market leader in Ethernet switching, does not want to endorse a technique that reduces the number of ports or switching tiers in a network, he says. "How aggressive can Cisco be when these new architectures cut down the number of switch ports?"
Sources says the Stratus switches could also include a traffic segmentation technique above and beyond VLANs; Layer 2 encryption in either switch-to-switch or port-to-port configurations; and tight integration with virtual switches on blade servers and NICs, perhaps through planned support for the emerging IEEE 802.1Qbg Edge Virtual Bridging standard.
IBM partnered with Juniper on the Stratus project but one source says there will be virtually no IBM content in the products.
"They were there just to bless it," he says.
Juniper will not push for a per-switch 10G density lead with the Stratus switches either, he says. Instead, they will stress how many servers can be supported per 10G port instead of how many 10G ports there are per box.
Arista currently claims the wire-speed 10G port density lead with 384 ports on its 7500 data center switch.
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.