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Feb 19 2018

Juniper Unveils “Multicloud” Switches

Have you ever wondered which IT infrastructure/architecture concept comes after "the cloud"? California-based network specialist Juniper is betting on so-called "multicloud" environments and therefore rounded off last week by announcing a set of switches that are supposed to turn that journey into a comfortable experience.

More specifically, Juniper promised the new product line would provide "the infrastructure solutions organizations need to become multicloud-ready." The canvas for this is a study conducted by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and commissioned by the networking giant that essentially said that companies were looking to migrate a growing number of applications from their own data centers to those of CSPs that can offer them attractive deals. However, not all CSPs are created equal, and so it's perfectly possible that they may excel in some disciplines while scoring low grades in others. As a result, customers feel prompted to outsource crucial workloads to various CSPs in an effort that mirrors typical best-of-breed strategies from the pre-cloud era. This is where "multicloud" comes into play, and as with the original concept of cloud computing, one may ask whether the term describes an architecture, a technology, a delivery model – or perhaps a compound of the three.

The idea as such isn't entirely new: "multicloud" as a buzzword first rose to prominence some five years ago through an InfoWorld article written by David Linthicum that aimed to understand the next megatrend and where it was headed. Back then, the author summed up the concept as follows:

"What is multicloud? It's more complex than a hybrid cloud, which is typically a paired private and public cloud. Multicloud add more clouds to the mix, perhaps two or more public IaaS providers, a private PaaS, on-demand management and security systems from public clouds, private use-based accounting – you get the idea."

This short description is still pretty valid today and echoes through the much more detailed definition of a "multi-cloud strategy" offered by TechTarget's website in October last year. Yet so far it seems as though the trend hasn't gained too much traction outside some exotic circles of hardcore networking specialists – which might explain why Juniper's still in the process of convincing customers to brace themselves for the upcoming age.

Judging from the paperwork and related materials, the company's new offerings may well help to ease that transition. The list includes products, solutions and services geared towards data centers, campuses, branch offices and the shown below:

  • Spine, edge and interconnect switches for the data center – this segment consists of the QFX10002-60C, a 2U device with 60 x 100GbE ports allowing for a total throughput of 6 Tb/s that is meant to serve in all of these roles; the QFX5210-64C, a high-density switch with 64 of the same ports that acts as a so called port spine switch and helps to eliminate networking and management tiers, which in turn cuts costs; and the 1U QFX5200-48Y, which comprises four dozen 25GbE ports along with six 100GbE uplink ports, which is basically a top-of-rack model.
  • Multigig and compact core switches for campus networks – this group is comprised of the EX4300, EX2300 and EX9250 lines of switches. The EX4300 is heralded as a "high-performance access switch for advanced branch or campus deployments" whose 24 ports support 802.11ac Wave II standards and thus varying speeds of 100 Mbps and 1/2.5/5/10 Gbps as well as Power-over-Ethernet and AES-256-compliant traffic encryption. The EX2300 for its part offers a 1U high-density solution for networks that are subject to space, power and budget constraints. Available with 24 or 48 ports that support transfer speeds ranging from 10 Mb/s to 2.5 Gb/s. Lastly, the EX9250 models are intended to work as programmable, scalable "core switches" for enterprise installations that enable IT teams to create a switch fabric.
  • Appliances, line cards and software-based/virtualized solutions offer router, firewall and management functions for WANs.

For more information about the new products, please see the product announcement linked above. An explanation of Juniper's long-term multicloud strategy is here.


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