While data center infrastructures come in many different shapes and sizes, one thing they all have in common is their underlying foundation. The three main components of any data center are servers, storage, and the network that connects it all.
What if servers and storage don’t speak the same language? Or what if the network only accepts RJ-45 connections while servers and storage only have USB? These are the types of challenges that face our customers when they try to build multivendor data centers. Mixing compute, storage and networking solutions from different vendors creates complexity. Rigorous interoperability testing between vendors is absolutely critical to ensure these myriad solutions actually WORK with one another.
Juniper realized this early on and worked with server and storage vendors to ensure the QFX3500 Switch and QFabric System were interoperable with the various ecosystems. Servers and networks interface via CNAs, so Juniper conducted cross-vendor CNA testing with Emulex, QLogic and Intel. On the storage side, Juniper worked with QLogic to ensure interoperability with their Fibre Channel Switches and also tested the QFabric System and QFX3500 Switches with Brocade DCX and Cisco MDS Fibre Channel switches.
The versatile QFX3500 Switch and the QFabric System connect to storage architectures as diverse as iSCSI, network-attached storage (NAS) and even direct-attached storage (DAS). The QFX3500 can also function as a standards-based Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) transit switch and an FCoE-to-Fibre Channel gateway—features that help enterprises and service providers get the most out of their Fibre Channel storage network investments. This flexibility means that, to our customers, the QFX3500 and QFabric System represent choice. We don’t force them to use Fibre Channel or NAS the way some competitors do.
Over the past several months, the QFX3500 and QFabric System were subjected to a series of rigorous interoperability tests by EMC engineers in an end-to-end multivendor environment. To pass, the Juniper solutions had to perform well with multiple combinations of hypervisors, operating systems, CNAs, a broad range of Cisco, Brocade and QLogic networking gear—and, of course, a full range of EMC storage devices (EMC CLARiiON, Symmetrix, Celerra, and EMC Unified Storage). And perform well they did, qualifying the QFX3500 Switch, QFX3000-M QFabric System and the QFX3000-G QFabric System for inclusion in the EMC Support Matrix.
Video VMworld 2012 San Francisco, QFX3500 and EMC in action:
What does this mean for our customers? First and foremost, it means they can deploy—with the assurance of EMC qualification—the QFX3500 and QFabric Systems as part of an end-to-end environment that allows them to easily plan, build, and respond to changes in their data centers faster and more effectively.
Simply put, the EMC endorsement reduces their risk. Our sales team and our partners will love this because it addresses customer concerns about the complexities of deploying a multivendor data center and having to perform qualification testing themselves. EMC’s rigorous qualification process offers our customers “peace of mind” that Juniper has taken complexity out of the equation. Ever since the QFabric announcement, we’ve been talking about Juniper’s vision of merging Ethernet and storage networks into a single system—see my earlier blog post on this topic. EMC’s endorsement is an important validation point that Juniper is solidly on track in building the data center of the future.
Exploring the vision for the networking industry and the issues shaping its future.
Vice President, Business Strategy and Marketing
Software Solutions Division