Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cisco Rival Juniper Rolls Out QFabric for Data Centers

Cost savings and better performance for data centers are Juniper's goals for its new QFabric product. Juniper said QFabric collapses the traditional three-layer network to a single layer. QFabric targets Juniper rival Cisco Systems and promises a "quantum leap" for data centers. An analyst said companies will need to take time to evaluate QFabric.


In a move to compete with rival Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks has rolled out what it's billing as the world's first true data Relevant Products/Services-center fabric. Dubbed QFabric, the new product comes out of Project Status, Juniper's multiyear data-center network research and development initiative.

Juniper partners IBM, NetApp, CA Technologies, and VMware are giving QFabric a thumbs-up. That's because QFabric promises improvements in data-center performance, operating cost, and business agility for both enterprises and cloud Relevant Products/Services providers. Juniper said QFabric does away with the trade-off between a quality experience and economics by collapsing the traditional three-layer network to a single layer.

"Data-center compute and storage Relevant Products/Services technologies have advanced over the last decade, and the legacy approach to networking has not kept pace," said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Juniper. "As cloud computing and the mobile Internet accelerate, demand is intensifying for a quantum leap forward in data-center capabilities."

Faster, More Efficient, Less Power

Essentially, QFabric removes legacy barriers with a flat architecture that paves the way for an integrated security Relevant Products/Services solution that offers visibility, enforcement and scale Relevant Products/Services across the physical and virtual Relevant Products/Services data-center fabric. The cost savings to enterprises come at a high cost to Juniper, which invested $100 million in research and development to make the QFabric architecture a reality.

Here are the numbers Juniper is touting with its QFabric architecture: Up to 10 times faster, uses 77 percent less power Relevant Products/Services, requires 27 percent fewer networking devices, occupies 90 percent less data-center floor space, and delivers a ninefold reduction in operating resources than the nearest competitive offering.

QFabric is composed of three components. The QF/Node acts as the distributed decision engine of the fabric. The QF/Interconnect is the high-speed transport device Relevant Products/Services. And the QF/Director delivers a common window, controlling all devices as one.

Introducing Fabric Computing

"Enterprises and service providers must look beyond traditional multi-layered, complex and inflexible data-center networks to deliver on the business requirement for a more agile IT Relevant Products/Services infrastructure Relevant Products/Services and technical solutions for virtualization Relevant Products/Services and cloud services," said Mark Fabbi, a vice president at Gartner Relevant Products/Services. "We're seeing the emergence of a new concept we call 'Fabric Computing' and a new round of network innovation that better meets the needs of the next-generation data center."

With QFabric, Juniper is targeting Cisco. Zeus Kerravala, a vice president at Yankee Group, said Juniper isn't going to gain ground on Cisco in enterprise Relevant Products/Services networking by making products that look a lot like Cisco products -- and Juniper is very aware of that.

"If Juniper is successful with QFabric, early on the market opportunity will be fairly limited to companies willing to spend the time to evaluate it. And that isn't most of the run-of-the-mill companies," Kerravala said. "But Juniper has such a small percentage of the market that any upside -- two, three, four percent gain -- is hundreds of millions of dollars."

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