Closing the innovation gap is essential for cloud computing, founder says
Juniper’s new networking architecture gives the industry a much-needed chance to play catch-up when it comes to innovation, according to Juniper’s founder, chairman and CTO Pradeep Sindhu.
The New Network is a combination of new software, services and partnerships and aims to improve data centre networking by reducing cost and complexity. Juniper claims that its TCO over a three-year period in a 10,000-strong server arsenal is 38% less than Cisco’s. It also uses about 30% less power, the company said.
The centre point of the new architecture is what Sindhu calls a flattening of the network infrastructure within the data centre, down from a three-tier legacy data centre to the single-tiered Project Stratus. That is due to launch in 2011 but Juniper added that technology is available today to drop data centres down to two layers.
The “3-2-1” method applies Juniper’s Virtual Chassis fabric technology to the access layer, which the firm says eliminates the need for aggregation. This can reduce the number of switch interactions by up to 99% when compared to legacy three-layered networks and reduce latency by around 77%.
Overall, Juniper claims that its New Network architecture can eliminate 35% of data centre network costs, while reducing time to operation by up to 50%.
The moves should help the network industry close the innovation gap that has opened up between it and other areas of the technology world, Sindhu told CBR: “Of all the IT industries, networking has been the slowest in adopting a platform-based approach, where you have a universal platform which doesn’t depend on what applications you’re running over it or what customer you are serving.”
“Innovation has not come to the network world as it has to the computing and storage world,” Sindhu continued, “and therefore we feel a responsibility to come up with innovative solutions that address the issue. We’re developing universal platforms and providing an open software eco-system on top of that.”
Sindhu added that the networking industry has to be more innovative if current hot tech initiatives such as virtualisation and cloud computing are to succeed long-term. “I think the networking industry has to catch up; there is no alternative. When you look at cloud computing and a lot of the companies that get talked about – Facebook, Google, Amazon – and the services they offer, it utterly depends on a fantastic high-performance network. If this industry gets damaged and doesn’t continue to grow at the rate it has been, we’ll all suffer as end users,” he said.
Juniper is not alone in revamping data centre architecture, as both Cisco and Brocade expand their portfolios. CBR has already covered Sindhu’s thoughts on Cisco’s push beyond routing and switching to its Unified Computing System, which is essentially a data centre in a box, but Juniper’s founder also had a word of warning for Brocade.
“Historically Brocade’s strengths have been in fibre channel and I think fibre channel’s days are numbered,” he said. “As a networking technology it’s not particularly scalable. It solves one issue very well, the problem of connecting computers to storage devices without dropping traffic. That problem is about to be solved by Ethernet, and when that happens fibre channel becomes irrelevant.”
More information about Juniper’s New Network strategy is available here.