Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Juniper Outlines MetaFabric Architecture for Cloud Data Centers

Juniper Networks introduced its MetaFabric architecture for next generation data centers with the goal of simplifying and accelerating the deployment and delivery of applications within and across multiple facilities.

The key design principles for MetaFabric are to be Open (standard interfaces for integration with multi-vendor data center equipment), Simple (single pane of glass management), and Smart (leverage traffic analytics to adapt the network for cloud, mobile and Big Data applications).  The MetaFabric architecture could be used in existing data centers or with next gen SDN controllers, including Juniper Networks Contrail and VMware NsX, and cloud orchestration platforms such as Openstack.  A consistent control plane is used across all systems to shared information and propagate state within and across data center locations.

Juniper's MetaFabric encompasses switching, routing, orchestration, SDN controllers and security hardware. Within a specific data center, Juniper's MetaFabric could be used with its QFabric family of products, Virtual Chassis technology, and Virtual Chassis Fabric switching architectures, or it could be implemented on traditional equipment. Across locations, protocols such as Ethernet VPN (EVPN) automatically and dynamically change the path for traffic flows.  MetaFabric could also use VPLS or MPLS to link data centers.

So far, Juniper has released MetaFabric Reference Architecture 1.0, which provide guidance to customers and partners deploying a VMware virtualized data center. The company said this tested reference architecture combines its routers, switches and security solutions with EMC, VMware and IBM systems running Microsoft applications. Juniper will support MetaFabric with its own professional services and with industry partnerships.

Juniper announced the following new products :
  • QFX5100 family of 10G and 40G access switches: The QFX5100 family is made up of top-of-rack (ToR) switches designed for the hitless, zero downtime data center. The rollout includes the QFX5100-48S, a10GbE switch offering 48 dual-mode, small form-factor pluggable transceiver (SFP/SFP+) ports and six quad small form-factor pluggable plus (QSFP+) 40GbE ports; the QFX5100-96S, a10GbE switch providing 96 dual-mode, small form-factor pluggable transceiver (SFP/SFP+) ports and eight quad small form-factor pluggable plus (QSFP+) 40GbE ports; and the QFX5100-24Q, a 40GbE switch supporting up to 32 quad small form-factor pluggable plus (QSFP+) ports.
  • New SDN and WAN capabilities on MX Series routers: Juniper Networks MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers can now act as universal SDN gateways to connect physical and virtual networks seamlessly.  Juniper also added support for Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which maximizes performance by creating the most efficient forwarding paths across the WAN.
  • SDN solutions for data center optimization: MetaFabric can be the foundation for the emerging ecosystem of SDN controllers.  Juniper Networks Contrail will support VMware ESXi, providing customers with an even broader array of choices. In addition, MetaFabric allows customers to connect Juniper systems directly to OpenStack and CloudStack orchestration platforms, and SDN controllers, such as Juniper Networks Contrail and VMware NSX. 
"For the first time, MetaFabric will allow companies to operate multiple data centers - physical and virtual, private and cloud - as a single, flexible pool of network resources, providing tremendous levels of flexibility and efficiency, as enterprises and service providers shift towards an application-driven world." stated Rami Rahim, executive vice president, Platform Systems Division, Juniper Networks.

In September, Juniper Networks announced the commercial launch of its Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) solution for enterprise data centers and Service Provider networks.  The company said the primary benefit of Contrail is that it provides a simple way to connect physical networks with a virtual environment and provision underlying services, reducing the time, cost and risk for customers when configuring the network. In addition to virtualizing network resources, Contrail promises automated configuration for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). The launch represents the third step in Juniper's SDN strategy announced earlier this year (see below)

Juniper Networks Contrail, formerly known as JunosV Contrail, is comprised of an SDN controller, vRouter, and analytics engine.  It creates a virtual network, enabling seamless integration between physical and virtual networks.  Contrail's hypervisor forwarding plane provides line rate routing and switching in a multi-tenant virtualized environment that is completely decoupled from the underlying physical fabric switches. Contrail enables a variety of VPNs in software, including L3 VPNs, E-VPNs, Site-to-Site IPSec, and SSL VPNs.

Contrail also features built-in load balancing across application tiers or network services.  As for security, Juniper said its hypervisor forwarding plane includes built-in policy enforcement.  Contrail seamlessly integrates with Juniper's virtual firewall, Firefly Perimeter. In addition, Distributed Threat Prevention can be delivered in software using JunosWebApp Secure.

Contrail seamlessly integrates with the Juniper Networks MX, EX and QFX Series switches.  The company said it will be interoperable with most industry switches and routers.

In an enterprise setting, Contrail could be used for combining private and public clouds, enabling workload mobility between resources.  In a Service Provider setting, Contrail can dynamically service-chain virtualized or physical network resources, such as for NFV. 

In June 2012, Juniper Networks introduced a smaller version of its QFabric System aimed at mid-sized data centers. The QFabric architecture, which was first unveiled in February 2011 and began shipping in September 2011, collapses multilayer data center infrastructure into a single, any-to-any fabric that unifies networking, storage and cloud computing resources. The product set 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.   Specifically, the new and smaller QFX3000-M enables scalability from 48 10GbE ports and up to 6,144 10GbE ports using the QFX3000-G QFabric System. The smaller version delivers three microseconds latency, compared with five microseconds for the larger Qfabric.