Juniper Unveils MetaFabric Architecture

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    At a time when enterprise networking is seeing the greatest transformation in a decade, most organizations are considering the strategic direction they will take in the years ahead.

    Seeing this as an opportunity to usurp long-standing rivals, Juniper Networks today unveiled a MetaFabric architecture based on the software-defined networking (SDN) controller technology that Juniper gained with its acquisition of Contrail Systems late last year. In addition, Juniper announced a new QFX1500 series of 10/40G Ethernet switches for the data center.

    According to Mike Marcellin, senior vice president of strategy and marketing for the Platform Systems Division at Juniper, MetaFabric provides an architecture for managing pools of network resources across multiple data centers. Today, it seems everything inside the data center is becoming a virtual resource, and Marcellin says the Juniper MetaFabric architecture is a significant step toward applying similar virtualization concepts to the enterprise network.

    Ultimately, Marcellin says every piece of infrastructure within the data center will become a virtual resource that IT organizations will access via a series of application programming interfaces that can all be invoked via an SDN controller.

    While it may take years for organizations to make that transition, Marcellin says the advent of SDNs in particular and virtual data centers in general, marks the first major transformation to networking architecture in 15 years. The challenge most IT organizations will face is figuring out how to manage and deploy SDN controller technology, and just as importantly, who will play what role in the organization at a time when the management of servers, storage and networking is beginning to rapidly converge.

    The degree to which this convergence transforms the management of the data center remains to be seen. But the one thing that is for certain is that SDNs are going to be a crucial component of how heterogeneous virtual data center environments will be defined, which may mean that IT organizations will be better off with a networking architecture that isn’t optimized to favor one flavor of a virtual data center more than another.

    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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