Streamlining the Network Fabric

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole spoke with Mike Banic, vice president of enterprise marketing for Juniper Networks.


The deeper we get into virtual and cloud architectures, the more it seems that the network side of the house needs to evolve right along with server and storage infrastructure. Companies like Juniper Networks are scrambling to remake the networking fabric to accommodate the much more free-wheeling data environments that are coming your way. Banic offers a vision of what's in store.


"Server-to-server traffic over the old network is equivalent to flying from Boston to New York City via Buffalo, Chicago, and Philadelphia and having to go through security again at every stop. The new network must deliver a direct flight ... "

Mike Banic
Enterprise marketing VP, Juniper Networks

Cole: It seems that the network of the future will be tasked not only with delivering data and applications, but actual systems and resources as well. As configured now, are most enterprise networks up to the task?

Banic: No. Most enterprise networks are not up to the task. Yesterday's applications based on client/server architecture required the data center network to be optimized for carrying traffic from a server to a user. Today's applications and hypervisors for virtualization drive tremendous volumes of server-to-server traffic in the data center. Server-to-server traffic over the old network is equivalent to flying from Boston to New York City via Buffalo, Chicago, and Philadelphia and having to go through security again at every stop. The new network must deliver a direct flight with a streamlined security process to improve the experience for users and lower the cost of deploying and operating the data center network.


Cole: How will shifting to a fabric improve performance?

Banic: Juniper's 3-2-1 architecture delivers direct flights between servers, transforming the experience by collapsing network layers and the economics by removing the aggregation layer to free up $1 billion in stranded capital according to IDC analyst Cindy Borovick. Automation tools like Junos Space Virtual Control further transform the experience by providing a single tool for orchestrating physical and virtual infrastructure and transform the economics by reducing administration time and human error that may cause outages.

With the 3-2-1 architecture, we are currently at "2." The two-layer architecture uses Virtual Chassis technology to create pools of virtualized compute and storage resources - which is a cloud - and the pools are joined together with a single core. It is Virtual Chassis technology that delivers the direct flights between servers with 128 Gbps of bandwidth, avoiding the need to take multiple flights through the aggregation and core switches. As we move to "1," we flatten the network to a single layer and the pools join to form an ocean. The result of a single layer is a simple, easy-to-virtualize, low-latency, high-throughput fabric for cloud computing - private, public or hybrid clouds.

Cole: Is this going to be a gradual transition, or should we prepare for some major forklift upgrades?

Banic: The customer has full control. Data center architects feel the pain caused by today's applications and hypervisors and are hungry for a new architecture. They can adopt the 3-2-1 architecture for a zone of their data center and smoothly migrate, as it is interoperable with the old network. They can also upgrade the entire data center. Customers who incrementally adopt the 3-2-1 architecture will see results. Interstate Batteries, a private billion-dollar private company and North America's No. 1 replacement battery brand, upgraded just the access layer of their data center. They have observed a 10-times improvement in live migration with VMware's VMotion and six-times improvement in the failover times for nodes in their Microsoft SQL cluster. In addition, they attribute a 60 percent reduction in trouble tickets to having a single operating system - Junos software - across the access layer of their network, which cost 35 percent less than the alternative.

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