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Q&A With David Yen - Part Two

by BPLewisJNPR on ‎10-05-2010 06:29 AM - last edited on ‎05-09-2011 10:17 AM by Administrator Administrator

In part one of my talk with David Yen, we discussed the various factors forcing a change in how data centers are architected. In this post, we dive a bit deeper into Juniper’s data center network strategy and the competition.


Q: OK, we just chatted at length about what has taken place over the years in the data center. This leads me back to Juniper. There have been a lot of announcements over the past year. Can you summarize how we are tackling this issue for our customers?


A: With all the drawbacks of the legacy data center network approach, and after hearing about specific pain points from our customers, we started looking for ways to enhance the network. In May 2010, Juniper announced our architectural vision called “3-2-1.” Simply, it’s time to reconsider the multi-layer switching network for all the reasons I discussed previously. With the technology available today, enterprises and service providers can reduce layers in their data center network to create a very efficient two-layer architecture.


Obviously it's not just by using the latest and greatest switches. You have to supplement it with additional technology like Juniper's Virtual Chassis fabric technology, a software technology that allows a customer to aggregate multiple physical switches to behave like a larger logical switch. By doing that you simplify the management by eliminating the need to individually manage the member switches. Furthermore, within an aggregated cluster, you can accommodate the east-west traffic without going to the top and coming down—in other words, you reduce the number of hops, which reduces latency. By reducing data centers to fewer larger switches to interconnect, you can eliminate switching layers required to connect/aggregate switches. And you reduce pressure and demand, which will allow you to complete the entire switching network by the next layer chassis-based switches. So it's a two-layer architecture.


Ultimately the goal is to provide a single-layer network to drive any kind of network traffic.  That’s the goal and object of the Project Stratus that we are working on.  That's the 3-2-1 architecture concept—collapse the traditional three-layer network to a simplified two-layer architecture today with our Virtual Chassis technology and in the future to a single layer.  It’s been extremely well received among our customer base, and we are very pleased with that.


Q: When Project Stratus becomes commercially available, is that something that will impact Juniper’s existing business or is it really a completely new opportunity from your standpoint at the very high end of the data center?


A: Project Stratus is very complementary. Juniper’s switching business—all the boxes we build, if you will—is more conventional. It's subject to industry-standard interfaces and industry-standard packaging—24 ports, 48 ports, gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet—but they go everywhere. They fit in the legacy architecture, and they fit in the newer two-layer architecture. They go everywhere. They fit in data centers; they fit in campuses.


Stratus, in a way, is half product and half solution. It goes one level higher, because it takes the whole data center network into consideration. And between our switching products and our fabric products, we share the same management layer software, which we call Junos® Space. Plus the internal operating system, Junos, is a common user interface. So it's actually very complementary.


Q: Can you tell me how our vision differs from the competition?


A: Let’s take a look at an established vendor such as Cisco and a start-up company such as Arista. As you know, Cisco has a lot of good engineers and is quite respected. However, their data center approach tends to be more incremental. They also need more adjacent markets to quickly grow their business. When a technology or when an industry becomes more mature, incremental is no longer enough if you’re trying to achieve even better economics for customers. You need to start collapsing some architecture layers. Cisco chose an approach to start integrating the storage interface, networking interface, and computing.


In contrast, Juniper’s fabric technology, first with the Virtual Chassis fabric of the EX Series switches and then with Project Stratus, is also collapsing architecture layers, except we chose to focus on the data center network while preserving customers' freedom and choice of best-in-class technologies. They can still choose their preferred server and storage and other appliances, and we just focus on the network. But the fundamental spirit is all trying to look for opportunity to collapse architecture layers.


Now, Arista—being a start-up company-tends to focus more on high-performance computing. Because the true scale of networking services consists of a very rich set of Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols, it takes time to develop that technology. Arista has chosen to go after the merchant silicon, which provides the shortest latency. And they focus on good packaging and trying to go for this high-performance computing industry, including financial services customers, who are attracted by reducing latency. Except that one-hop latency is not a total picture, because when you're actually running the data center, you’re talking about a complete path. You are talking about one server to another server, which you have to traverse the access ToR, the chassis fabric.


Unlike the competition, Juniper also helps drive simplification through a single network OS, Junos, that runs across all switching, routing and security devices.  Junos follows a single software release chain and offers a flexible software platform with Junos Space. No one else can offer what Juniper can to the developers around the world. An open, multipurpose network application platform that allows customers to directly program multiple layers of their networks can only enhance user experiences, deliver smart economics and allow for faster time to market.


So, different companies have different approaches.


Q: We’ve talked about how the data center market has transformed into what it is today. We’ve talked about various aspects for Juniper’s 3-2-1 architecture and now a bit about some of the competition. What’s the ultimate goal for Juniper’s data center approach?


A: Juniper is leading the data center network industry by providing our 3-2-1 architecture. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a single flat fabric that connects everything in the data center and ultimately helps to deliver on the promise of a more efficient, more agile data center.


It means connecting any server, every server and storage component, every security appliance and the routers in the data center and collapsing them to a completely flat network that is homogenous, fair, and lossless. Furthermore, the user should be able to drive any kind of data center traffic, not just Ethernet networking, but also fiber channel storage traffic if you so desire. And that's exactly the goal, the objective, of Juniper’s Project Stratus.

by Arnel Sinchongco
on ‎10-22-2010 12:06 PM

I've read a few articles regarding this "new network" and I don't see the difference between this and simply implementing virtual switch stacks. This doesn't seem to be an innovativie concept.

by dwink
on ‎10-26-2010 05:12 PM

to previous commentor:


You have misunderstood the concept then.  There is a massive difference between virtual-switch stacks and a fabric backbone.

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About the Author
  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • I am an experienced leader in the Information Experience (iX) industry. For over 20 years, I've led information organizations at Juniper, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle to deliver quality technical documentation and information products to customers and partners across the globe.
  • Bob Dix currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. During his career, he has served in senior leadership roles in industry and government, including serving as Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census during the 108th Congress. He represents Juniper on the Industry Executive Point of Contact for the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee ( NSTAC ), where he chaired the Cybersecurity Collaboration Task Force in 2009. He served as Chair of the Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council ( IT SCC ) from 2008 – 2010 and currently remains a member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Dix was elected in May, 2011 as Chair of the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security ( PCIS ). He also serves on the National Security Task Force for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the AFCEA Cyber Security Committee and Chairs the Supply Chain Assurance Subcommittee for TechAmerica. Additionally, Dix has actively worked to insure and coordinate private sector participation and collaboration with the National Exercise Program, intended to test our nation’s preparedness and resiliency. He served as Chair of the National Private Sector Working Group for National Level Exercise 2011 and 2010. In 2007 and 2009, Dix was honored with a prestigious Federal 100 Award, and was recognized in March, 2010 as the recipient of the annual FCW Industry Eagle Award. Dix also served as a local government elected official in Northern Virginia for 12 years and in his spare time coaches AAU/Travel girls basketball.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jerry oversees all aspects of OpenLab which serves as a catalyst to spark the development of new innovative software applications or solutions that leverage the power of SDN/network programmability and intelligence. OpenLab is unique within Juniper and with its polished facility, globally accessible lab, and educational programs – such as the SDN “hackathons,” it serves as a tool for customer, partners, and academia. Prior to this position, Jerry led the development, management and marketing of the company’s strategic partnerships for video/unified communications, optical networking, and content/media delivery. In addition to handling the day-to-day oversight of the partnerships, he established new cross-partner go-to-market processes to drive and manage joint field opportunities. Before joining Juniper, Jerry led the Lucent Technologies application hosting/service provider marketing organization. He has over 25 years of experience in the data networking field with a focus on strategic alliance development, marketing, and technical field support. Jerry possesses a BS degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University in New York. He is active as a Juniper ambassador within the technology and academic community which includes advisory board positions with both NJIT and Rutgers in New Jersey.
  • Kevin Walker is the Security Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper’s Development and Innovation (JDI) organization. He is responsible for driving the security strategy both internally within Juniper, and externally with investors, partners, influencers, and customers. He provides the guidance required for JDI to conceive, develop and create momentum for industry-leading security solutions. Working closely with the Security Engineering team, Walker identifies the opportunities for improved security, growth, and innovation to deliver the scalable, reliable, and compliant security architecture needed in today’s security landscape. Before joining Juniper, Walker was VP and Assistant Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at He has served as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Security Strategist and Director of Information Security across a number of notable companies including Intuit, Cisco, Symantec and VERITAS Software. With over twenty-five years in various computer science and information technology disciplines, focusing on enterprise applications, network design, and information security, Walker possesses research and engineering expertise across of range of technologies including networking protocols, securing applications at the atomic level, cryptography, and speech biometrics.
  • As Juniper’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Line Management, Kevin Hutchins is responsible for defining and enabling Juniper’s strategy from company vision into product execution. This includes driving the company’s inorganic growth through strategic partnerships, venture investments and acquisitions/divestitures. In addition, he is responsible for driving key strategic imperatives, including Juniper’s software strategy and transformation. Hutchins joined Juniper in 2010 as Vice President, Portfolio Management & Business Operations for Juniper’s Development & Innovation team where he led business planning, portfolio rationalization, new product introduction and execution of strategic programs across Juniper’s portfolio of routing, switching and security products.
  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training our partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated information experience for our customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is a Board Member for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Masum Mir is Vice President of Product, Solutions & Technical Marketing at Juniper Networks. Masum is responsible for the Switching product line, network management product line and optical technologies. Beside product leadership Masum also leads cloud strategy and solution architecture. Masum has 19 years of experience in communication and data networking industry with Expertise in Ethernet Switching, Data Center, Carrier Ethernet, Routing, overlay & network segmentation, Fabric technology & photonics technology.
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Pradeep Sindhu founded Juniper Networks in February 1996, and has held several central roles in shaping the company. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer, and is responsible for the company's technical roadmap as well as day-to-day design and development of future products. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for eight months when he founded the company. During that time, he played a central role in the architecture, design, and development of the M40 router.
  • Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Rahim was appointed CEO in November 2014. Rahim began his Juniper career in early 1997, as employee No. 32, and worked as an engineer on Juniper’s first breakthrough product, the M40 core router. Rahim has progressed through a series of technical and leadership roles at Juniper, applying his engineering acumen to the design and development of Juniper’s industry-leading product portfolio. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI) organization, overseeing the company’s entire product and technology portfolio. His responsibilities included driving strategy, development and business growth for routing, switching, security, silicon technology, and the Junos operating system. Other leadership positions held over the years include: Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform Systems Division for routing and switching, Senior Vice President of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit (EABU), and Vice President and General Manager of EABU.
  • As Chief Customer Officer, Vince Molinaro is responsible for driving the strategic and operational elements of the Sales, Marketing, Partners, Services and Support functions at Juniper Networks. He leads a global organization of more than 3,500 professionals that includes direct and indirect sales, systems engineering, advanced technologies and field operations. Molinaro brings more than 25 years of professional experience in engineering, product management, marketing, sales and operations to his worldwide role. He joined Juniper in 2009 and led the strategy and go-to-market execution for the company’s global service provider business. He was named EVP, Worldwide Sales in 2013 before assuming his current role in February 2014. Prior to joining Juniper, Molinaro held senior leadership positions at a number of technology companies including Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and Internap Network Services. He has extensive domestic and international experience having lived and managed large organizations throughout Europe and the U.S. Molinaro holds a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from University of Bridgeport. He is based out of the Juniper Networks facility in New Jersey, home of OpenLab, The Junos and SDN Center for Innovation.
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