Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Juniper's QFabric Scales the Data Center

Juniper Networks unveiled its QFabric architecture for collapsing multilayer data center infrastructure into a single, any-to-any fabric that unifies networking, storage and cloud computing resources.

QFabric, which is the result of the company's three-year, $100 million "Project Stratus," is composed of three components that create a high-performance, low latency fabric. The QF/Node acts as the distributed decision engine of the fabric; the QF/Interconnect is the high speed transport device; and the QF/Director delivers a common window, controlling all devices as one. The architecture breaks new grounds in its data plane, control plane and management structure. It also leverages custom 40nm ASICs to achieve extremely low latencies.

Initially, QFabric scales to 6,000 network nodes, allowing any network interface within the network to connect to any other interface in a single hop. Juniper achieves this 6,000 port switching fabric by decoupling the line cards on the central fabric and moving them out into the network using dual-homed fiber connections. The entire 6,000 node network is a single switch and can be managed as such.

Juniper believes that collapsing the traditional three-layer network down to a single, high-performance layer, will deliver exponential improvements in data center speed, scale and efficiency. The company calculates that the QFabric architecture is up to ten times faster, uses 77 percent less power, requires 27 percent fewer networking devices, occupies 90 percent less data center floor space, and delivers a nine fold reduction in operating resources than the nearest competitive offering.

"Data center compute and storage technologies have advanced over the last decade, and the legacy approach to networking has not kept pace," said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Juniper Networks. "As cloud computing and the mobile internet accelerate, demand is intensifying for a quantum leap forward in data center capabilities. With QFabric, Juniper is transforming data center economics by introducing the only network fabric that is able to eliminate multiple layers of cost and complexity."

The first product in the QFabric set is a top-of-rack QFX3500 switch, which is now commercially available. It is also capable of operating as a stand-alone 64-port 10Gigabit Ethernet switch with FCoE and Fiber Channel gateway functionality. The QFX3500 offers the fastest unicast and multicast performance in the industry. The QF/Interconnect and QF/Director will be available for order in Q3.

The New York Stock Exchange has committed to teh QFabric architecture.

Additional Juniper partners include IBM, NetApp, CA Technologies and VMware.http://www.juniper.net

  • In May 2010, Juniper Networks outlined its new "3-2-1" data center network architecture aimed at improving latency, increasing density, boosting security, lowering power requirement and simplifying management. Juniper outlined a plan to leverage a "Virtual Chassis" fabric technology to reduce from three to two layers, and then collapse to one layer via Juniper's "Project Stratus" fabric in the future. Data centers typically have access, aggregation and core switching layers. Juniper currently collapses the aggregation and core layers into a single switch. The Virtual Chassis creates a single, logical switching fabric across multiple racks in the data center, so that a pool of compute resources can be more effectively virtualized. Juniper estimates that its Virtual Chassis will let administrators move virtual machines between 10x faster than current approaches. Ultimately, Juniper's Project Stratus seeks to collapse data center switching into a single, logical layer linking potentially thousands of servers.