Juniper Sets Sights on Datacenter Consolidation

Consolidation of assets is a key mantra for challenging economic times. It’s also one
that is being trumpeted by Juniper Networks in a new datacenter infrastructure push that
has virtualization as a key component.

The idea behind Juniper’s new Data Center Infrastructure solution set is that by using
some of the company’s newest approaches and technologies, a business can reduce the
amount of equipment required as well as the number of links across the various pieces of
equipment — ultimately cutting costs.

The solution is built around the newly released
SRX Dynamic Services appliances
and the EX switch lineup.

Wrapping the offerings together is aimed at capitalizing on efforts by IT to cope with
growing infrastructure needs while reducing expenses in what Juniper’s main rival Cisco
recently described as a a
gloomy outlook for IT spending
.

“In today’s economy, where people are tightening their belts and possibly restraining
spending as they go into 2009, there is even less money than there was before to do
things that are innovative from the IT perspective,” Mike Banic, vice president of
marketing for Juniper’s Ethernet platforms business group, told
InternetNews.com.

Banic argued that there is too much complexity in modern networks, and by making
networks simpler to manage, companies can save on costs — particularly by consolidating
devices. Instead of having multiple switches to handle a section of enterprise traffic,
traffic can be collapsed onto a lesser number of switches.

In Juniper’s case, its new EX4200 switch now has a virtual chassis technology that
enables it to aggregate up to 10 physical switches. Virtual chassis technology is also
used by other switch vendors, including Nortel and Cisco, among others.

Virtualization of datacenter assets can also help reduce disaster recovery costs.
Juniper’s technology also can help enable replication — with one datacenter spanning two
physical locations. In such a setup, what are actually separate networks will look and
operate as one.

The way that the Juniper datacenter virtualization works is that when the two
datacenters are located nearby, the virtual chassis technology on the EX switches can be
extended. As a result, the two datacenters would have reduced data latency between
them.

By using
MPLS
(Multi protocol label switching) Juniper can now extend a virtual LAN, or

VLAN
, across datacenters that still have data link integrity intact. (The data link
layer of the IP stack is also known as level 2, in reference to the Open
System Interconnection networking framework model.)

Using Juniper’s approach, Banic claimed virtual servers could be moved across
datacenters. VMware’s Vmotion technology is the way that VMware-based virtual servers are
moved across servers, though typically those servers are in the same datacenter.

“We’re using the MPLS VPN to preserve the layer 2 VLAN,” Banic explained. “Right now,
to run VMotion, the source and the target has to be in the same layer 2 domain, and they
cannot be across a routed interface. So that becomes a stumbling block for disaster
recovery across the WAN between datacenters.”

Banic claimed that with the Juniper solution, live migration of virtual servers can be
done with the servers remaining in the same state.

Juniper is not alone in trying to enable virtual datacenter migrations: Earlier this
year, Cisco
rolled out its strategy
to enable virtual machines to move across datacenters.

Though Juniper is moving toward a fully virtualization-enabled network, Banic noted
that Juniper is not getting into the business of trying to manage or deploy virtual
machines.

“What we will do is open hooks into JUNOS ‘Juniper’s network
operating system that is found on its devices’ and our management applications that
allows them to set network policies and configure the network to which the physical
server and VM’s will attach,” Banic explained. “Our position is to provide the open
interfaces to the applications that can manage the server and control the VMs.”

Banic said vendors like IBM Tivoli and VMware would be suitable for managing a Juniper
virtual network. The company already has an expansive partnership with IBM for its EX
switch lineup — a fact that Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson
cited
on Juniper’s recent earnings call. Banic noted that Juniper also has a working
relationship with HP as well, and that the IBM partnership is not exclusive.

Overall, the message that Juniper is aiming to push is that it can help simplify for
networking topology.

“The network design is simplified by collapsing layers,” Banic said. “We have one
operating system for switches, routers and security platforms. By eliminating layers and
reducing the number of devices, we actually eliminate a lot of links that are used to
simply connect switches to switches, and eliminate a number of logical devices needed to
manage them.”

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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