Juniper Enterprise Ethernet Switch Buyer's Guide

Juniper's Ethernet switch lineup reflects the company's commitment to a "flat" data center fabric.

By Drew Robb | Posted Mar 21, 2011
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The enterprise switch market just had a bumper year according to Dell'Oro Group, growing 30 percent to nearly $20 billion in Level 2 and Level 3 switching category compared to 2009.

"The Ethernet switch market surged in 2010 as enterprise and small businesses rebounded from economic weakness in 2009, and the data center continued to expand rapidly," said Alan Weckel, an analyst at Dell'Oro Group. "Given the strength and record levels achieved in 2010, we believe that the overall Ethernet switch market will remain flat in 2011, as growth in the data center will be offset by price erosion and increased competition for enterprise and small business spending,"

While 1 Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet both grew in 2010, Weckel said that most of the future market growth will come in the 10 Gigabit Ethernet space. The top six vendors in 10 Gigabit Ethernet in 2010 include Brocade, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM and Juniper Networks.

Overall, however, Juniper had the strongest year-over-year growth, followed by Dell, Cisco, then HP. Dell'Oro also places Juniper as the overall number three provider of enterprise switches behind Cisco and HP, narrowly beating out Brocade and Dell for the third spot.

So where does Juniper think the market is heading? Andy Ingram, Vice President of Product Marketing, Fabric and Switching Group at Juniper Networks, believes that the most prevalent trend in the enterprise switch market is to improve the modern data center by moving to a "flat" data center fabric. This trend is a response to the issues associated with legacy networks, such as the tendency to deploy more boxes to increase bandwidth--an approach that adds cost and complexity in addition to bandwidth, said Ingram.

In consequence, Juniper developed the "3-2-1" data center network architecture to flatten and simplify legacy data center networks.

"By following the Juniper 3-2-1 roadmap, customers can eliminate an entire layer of switching from their networks today, delivering lower latency, greater performance, a smaller footprint, lower power consumption, simplified management and a lower total cost of ownership," said Ingram.

Juniper Switches

Juniper offers a range of products, laid out in three categories:

EX Series switches

EX Series Ethernet switches are aimed at user networks and data centers. Their Virtual Chassis is the "2" in Juniper's 3-2-1 architecture. This series is also the cornerstone of Juniper's campus solution.

Ingram said features include carrier-class reliability, Juniper's Unified Access Control (UAC), and application control (eight QoS queues per port, ensuring proper prioritization of control plane, voice, video, and multiple levels of data traffic).

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