Juniper switching boss talks technology challenges, Cisco Nexus 6000

By , Network World |  Networking, Juniper Networks

We believe that it's focused primarily on a very specific market in the financial sector. They predominantly care about latency. When you look at customers who care more about simplicity, automation -- what can I see inside of the network? -- then you have to make other trade-offs inside of the silicon. I can do on-chip memory or put those tables outside the chip. My tables can be much, much bigger -- offer logical scale, number of VLANs, number of routes, number of other things. But it means my chip's going to be a little bit smaller because I have to go off-chip, get what I need and then come back onto the chip. In order to go down that low latency path at the aggregation layer, you basically said, "I am not going to care about large logical scale." There are trade-offs that have to be made from a visibility and reporting perspective because you're not going off-chip and everything is on-chip. So knowing what I know from their data sheets, and knowing what I know from what they're doing from a latency perspective, it's all on-chip, which means they've had to make some pretty tough choices around how much logical scale that box is going to be able to do. So for customers who are in very large virtualized environments, they are going to run out of logical scale. And I'm not saying that that's the case with that platform; but I'm telling you the trade-offs you have to make from a silicon perspective. We fundamentally believe that, in the kinds of environments that the majority of data centers have today, they want large amounts of logical scale because of how VLANs are deployed today; and because of the tight packing of virtual machines on servers. So the fundamental belief is that aggregation box, the 6000, will be targeted to customers who care only about latency. There are other trade-offs they had to make to go into that market.

Is there any concern that your MX router customers will demand EX9200 prices since that switch is based on the MX?

These are two fundamentally different products. They certainly have some common components -- power supplies, fans, some of the other technology is similar from a DNA perspective -- but if you were to go and fire up an MX and look at the features and functions that are one of them versus the other, they are vastly different. So it's not a one-to-one replacement of products. The MX does not have a lot of the Layer 2 features that are on the EX9200. If you fire up an EX9200, it's a switch. There are a number of features that are on the EX9200 that are just not on [the MX] because it is not a switch.

Will QFabric eventually be based on custom silicon, either new or re-purposed?

We are continuing to invest in both hardware and software for QFabric. And I'm looking forward to talking to you again later this year about all of the things we have coming on that platform.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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