Monday, February 23, 2009

Juniper Outlines Next Gen Silicon and Data Center Visions

Juniper Networks is uniquely focused as a "pure play" in high-performance networking said company CEO Kevin Johnson, speaking at Juniper's Analyst Day conference in San Mateo, California. While the downturn has impacted the company's near-term sales visibility, Johnson said Juniper remains focused on its the long-term margins and the value proposition of high-performance networking, a segment it believes must rebound to handle the challenges of billions of interconnected devices on a global scale. By 2012, the company foresees a global market of 5 billion overall Internet connections, including 1.5 billion broadband lines, 120 million FTTH lines and 700 million smartphones.

Johnson said Juniper will continue a partnership strategy with other technology players rather than pursue big acquisitions.

Assuming challenging economic conditions will continue in the near term, Juniper has implemented a number of measures to trim its operational expenses. These cost reduction actions include realigning the employee bonus plan; implementing a 5% pay cut for VPs and above; mandatory PTO shutdowns; releasing contractors; eliminating merit pay increases; implementing a headcount freeze excluding R&D; reducing employee mobility; freezing all non-essential travel; and canceling travel for internal meetings. Kevin Johnson has also taken a 10% cut in base salary. Earlier this quarter, Juniper realigned its organization and approximately 100 employees were let go.

However, Juniper expects its R&D investments will increase in 2009 vs. 2008 to capitalize on the high performance networking vision.

On the technology front, Pradeep Sindhu, Juniper's CTO and founder, said high-performance networking can be distinguished by five factors: scalability, speed, reliability, security and simplicity. Juniper's Junos operating system is the crown jewel for mastering each of these technical challenges. Sindhu noted that there has been a 4X increase in network system capacity every two years since Juniper was founded. This boost has been enabled by Juniper's custom silicon, which outperforms merchant silicon. To keep this trend going, Sindhu unveiled plans for Juniper's next generation network instruction set processor (NISP). Calling this a fundamental advance in networking silicon, Sindhu said key features of the NISP will include:

  • based on 65nm technology versus current 90nm

  • 4 chips in the set

  • 1.2 billion transistors

  • 604 Gbps of internal throughput

  • can be used for fabric engines, core engines, edge engines and services engines

Rollout schedules were not discussed.

Juniper also disclosed "The Stratus Project", a multi-year company initiative to build a next-gen fabric for cloud computing data centers. Stratus is a type of flat, single-layer cloud. Using this model, Juniper intends to create a new data center network architecture capable of scaling to tens of thousands of 10GigE ports while offering an order of magnitude reduction in latency. Security would be virtualized in the cloud and the entire infrastructure would be managed by a single, large Junos switch. Sindhu noted that legacy Ethernet, Infiniband and Fibre Channel all have shortcomings as an ideal data center networking protocol, so the company is pursuing a breakthrough replacement. Juniper's Stratus Project will leverage its next generation silicon technology, however, for competitive reasons, said the company is not yet ready to disclose product names, milestones, pricing or availability. Stratus will build on Juniper's L4-7 expertise while relying on key partners for storage and computing.

The Stratus Project is being developed by a new Data Center Business Group, which will be led by Dr. David Yen, Executive Vice President. The company said its Stratus research has resulted in more than 30 patent applications filed to date.

On the marketing front, Juniper is revamping its branding, launching a new company website, and launching a new advertising campaign with the theme "Demand More from Your Network." The company's previous "Toons" advertising has been retired.