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Server Virtualization and the Path to Enlightenment

by Juniper Employee ‎02-18-2011 08:26 AM - edited ‎02-18-2011 04:17 PM

The pace of change in the data center is brisk to say the least.  One of the most significant drivers of change is the broad adoption of server virtualization, which is designed to allow multiple applications to independently co-exist on the same physical server.  There have been many different approaches to server virtualization in the past:  “envelopes” in MVS (zOS); Mainframe Domain Facility from Amdahl; Dynamic System Domains and Containers from Sun; and so forth.  Today, the preferred solution is to use hypervisors to encapsulate applications and their operating system instances inside a virtual machine (VM).


It may seem like hypervisors such as VMware’s ESX have sprung out of nowhere.  In fact, the hypervisor has been more than 45 years in the making and can be traced back to a 1964 R&D project at IBM’s Cambridge research facility running on a modified IBM 360-40 mainframe.  Initially known as CP-40 and later as VM/CMS, it was eventually released as IBM’s first fully supported hypervisor in 1972 under the name VM/370.  Although it remained in the shadow of MVS, VM/370 proved to be the O/S that customers would not let IBM kill off. Today, it is known as z/VM and runs on IBM’s z-series mainframes.


The “modern” history of hypervisors began when Mendel Rosenblum, an associate professor at Stanford, and a few of his students created a hypervisor on x86 servers as a graduate project.  Mendel then teamed up with his wife Diane Greene to start VMware.  In the beginning, the significant overhead required to run the hypervisor limited its use to test and development environments. This changed when the boys from Cambridge University invented para-virtualization and open-sourced Xen.  Combined with the hardware support that Intel and AMD baked into their processors, the required system overhead dropped to under 10% and the hypervisor exploded into the production world.


Today there is a wealth of hypervisors to choose from: ESXi, Hyper-V, Xen and KVM on x86 servers, plus a set specific to various UNIX boxes and mainframes.  Today, thank to the ubiquity of hypervisors, almost all companies have implemented some form of server virtualization.


At my previous employer, I was a VMware customer and had the opportunity to interact with a number of their customers.  What I noticed is that most businesses embrace server virtualization in three stages, what I call “the path to enlightenment.”  In the first stage, IT is seeking to tame server sprawl through server consolidation.  When a server runs a single application, average utilization of that physical server is generally 5%-8%.  Using VMs to isolate the applications from each other, multiple applications can co-exist on a single server, increasing hardware utilization to 25%-35% (or more if you are good or lucky).  This made it possible to actually reduce the number of servers, bucking the trends of the last several decades.  Stage one: Consolidation – saving capital costs.


During this initial stage, virtualized server pools are generally small and configurations are static, with VM migration limited to once or twice per year to facilitate maintenance.  The security model is simplistic with a very limited number of VLANs and zones implemented within the server pool.  For the most part, the virtualized applications are limited to non-critical apps.  In this first phase, the legacy data center network proves to be adequate.


At some point during the first stage, IT realizes there is a greater benefit than CAPEX savings – agility.  It begins when IT discovers that provisioning new virtual “servers” to meet the needs of the business groups can now be performed in hours rather than the weeks or months typically required for new physical servers.  Suddenly IT is a hero – they are exceeding their “customers’” expectations.  Now the business can move faster and IT can be more responsive.  New capabilities come on line in less time.  Resources can be added quickly to respond to changes in demand, while applications that did not work out can be taken off-line and the resources easily reallocated.  Stage 2: Agility – for the infrastructure and the business.


Finally, as VMs become more dynamic, there is a third stage of enlightenment – resilience.  The ability to pick up and move an application safely and dynamically can also be used to build a more resilient infrastructure without having to resort to complex HA (high availability) clusters; now, HA can be delivered to all applications in the data center.  Stage 3: Resilience – keeping the business running.


As customers move into the second and third stages, the pools of virtualized servers grow in size, and they find that a single, larger resource pool is both more efficient and more agile than multiple smaller pools.  The environment becomes more dynamic, with VM migration becoming common place in order to facilitate workload balancing and resilience.  Many or even most of the applications become virtualized, including the critical apps.  It is at this stage we start to see big Oracle databases being virtualized — not because they will share the server with other apps but because they can now be easily moved to another server.  And finally, because of the number of applications, there needs to be a more sophisticated security model.  The number of VLANs and security zones implemented within the server pools grows dramatically.


It is at the point, when customers move from the consolidation stage to the agility and resiliency stages, that they have an epiphany.  The legacy hierarchical network embedded in their data center is the single greatest impediment to achieving the promise of the virtualized data center.  And that, my friends, will be the subject of my next posting.

by Aboobacker sidique
on ‎04-11-2011 09:34 PM

Hi ,


I have finished ccnp, now i work in telelogix for etisalat project as datacentre operation , here most customers are using juniper routers firewall etc, they are saying it is very cheap than cisco and enhances the same function as cisco, i realize that it is needed to be concentrate on juniper devices also, So kindly advice anybody , how to begin this  with a certification ,?

by Distinguished Expert
on ‎04-12-2011 03:34 AM



The "Fast Track" program has a set of study material for the exam you can follow.  This includes an e-learning module with some exercises on the cli.

The "Day One Fundamentals" series books will also help.

There is also a practice test on the education site where you can see how you are doing.

You can ask certification specific questions in the forums here

Steve Puluka BSEET
Senior Network Administrator
MCP 70-290 - Managing Server 2003
MCTS Windows 7

Juniper Networks Technical Books
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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