April 23, 2013, 3:21 PM — Jonathan Davidson took over Juniper campus and data center switching when the two previously separate business units were combined following the departure of founding engineer R.K. Anand. Davidson has a service provider routing background at Juniper and Cisco, which is no coincidence -- after five years in switching, Juniper has been unable to mirror the success it had in its first five years in service provider routing. But it did start from zero and surpassed at least six other incumbent vendors to attain the No. 3 position in the market. The company has more than 20,000 switching customers cultivated through organic development, Davidson notes. And as Juniper moves forward amid a forklift upgrade facing its EX core switch base and after an initial misfire on the QFabric data center switch, it's focusing on customer demands for simplification, agility and automation. Davidson discussed some recent and future developments in Juniper enterprise switching.
Why did Juniper combine the data center and campus units?
When you're fundamentally trying to change an industry that hadn't changed in over 15 years or longer, you need to make sure you have a high performance team together, you need to make sure they're not distracted. So we created a business unit that was targeted for fundamentally disrupting the data center space, and that was our QFabric solution. But once you actually have that product out into the market, you actually get to a point where you want to find more synergies between these different organizations. We wanted to make sure that we were able to leverage the best of the EX product portfolio as well as the innovation we saw and continue to see in the QFabric portfolio. In bringing them together, we are able to leverage the best from both, and really enable our customers to have more choice.
But aren't the needs of the campus and data center drastically different?
If you look at the fundamental building blocks for technology and how we view things, I'm going to have to switch a Layer 2 packet whether I am in the data center or campus environment. So why have two different stacks of technology that are going to do almost the same thing? You're right in that there are unique requirements to both; that's how you actually package the systems together. Whether traffic runs East/West or North/South depends more on the construct of the system rather than the underlying technology. Many customers use the same core switching platform for both their data center and campus environment. That's why customers have embraced our Virtual Chassis technology. They'll use the same Virtual Chassis in the campus and data center.