Juniper Goes with the Flow for New Content Delivery Tech

New Linux-powered hardware debuts for Media Flow content delivery and caching.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Aug 25, 2010
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Networking vendor Juniper Networks this week debuted new hardware to support its Media Flow content delivery software, giving the networking player a boost in wooing content publishers, service providers and content delivery networks (CDNs) to its solution.

The Media Flow technology comes by way of Juniper's acquisition of software vendor Ankeena earlier this year. Media Flow provides customers with content caching and acceleration capabilities. With the new VXA Series Media Flow Engines, Juniper is now expanding the Ankeena technology with a set of dedicated Linux-powered hardware appliances, complementing Media Flow's availability as a Juniper software product from earlier this year.

The VXA appliances range in power from the VXA1001, which provides 1 Gbps of content delivery performance, to the VXA2010 which provides 10 Gbps and boasts 36GB of RAM and 7TB of storage. While hardware helps performance, the Media Flow solution itself provides some key bits to help unlock the full potential of the device.

"There is a file I/O bottleneck, especially in media delivery, because the files are so large that they can't all be placed in RAM," Anshu Agarwal, senior director of product management and marketing for Juniper's content and media business, told InternetNews.com. "What the Ankeena intellectual property is about is unblocking the file I/O."

"This is a complete proxy so you can point it to any origin site and it will pull content based on user demand, so it has a complete caching and proxy engine," she added.

The Media Flow solution includes technologies that have the potential to help optimize traffic delivery as well. In that respect, Agarwal noted that the Media Flow team at Juniper is working with the WAN optimization team, and she added that Media Flow has a powerful caching engine that could benefit Juniper's WAN optimization efforts as well. Currently, however, Media Flow is not being positioned as an enterprise WAN optimization solution: Instead, it remains focused on content delivery requirements.

Additionally, as opposed to the bulk of the company's networking efforts, which use the Juniper-developed JUNOS operating system, the VXA Media Flow Engines are using Linux.

"It's not JUNOS -- it is CentOS Linux-based, " Agarwal said. "But it is an optimized software appliance so customer don't install the operating system. It comes integrated as part of the whole solution."

CentOS Linux is a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As part of the integrated VXA Media Flow Engine, users won't be updating the underlying CentOS operating system on their own as the CentOS project puts out updates. Instead, the appliance updates will come from Juniper as maintenance updates.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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