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The Fastest Data Center in the World

by Juniper Employee ‎02-23-2012 05:11 AM - edited ‎03-08-2012 08:57 AM

The Fastest Data Center in the West World

 

A year ago, my colleague, Ellen Brigham, posted a blog that reported the results of the rigorous STAC M2 benchmarking of our first QFabric family member: the QFX3500 Switch. We were proud to post the best scores ever with that product, proving that Juniper was a leader in the low-latency networking space.  My more technical friends tell me the STAC benchmarks  are brutal—with precise tuning of applications, buffers and threads, placing particular stress on the multicast functions in the network (or just the switch, as was always the case up ‘til now).

 

Today we are releasing even more impressive results  with the benchmarking of a full QFabric System, based on the same STAC M2 standards—the first-ever STAC benchmark on a data center network  fabric (or any network environment more complex than a single switch).  This is significant because in a traditional tiered network, latency and jitter add up, meaning the larger the network gets, the less deterministic it is.  Only QFabric has proven to deliver fast, predictable performance across the more complex environment.  The benchmark determined the mean latency for the QFabric System, which in the STAC M2 test was rated at 10 microseconds (μsec).  For comparison purposes, the best published score Cisco recorded for its Nexus 5010 switch had a mean latency of 14 microseconds (μsec). Full results are available at http://www.STACresearch.com/

 

Since Cisco’s version of a “fabric” uses the Nexus 5000 as an access device (before you get to a Lotta Links running Cisco’s own FabricPath protocols), and a full QFabric System has shown a lower latency benchmark than a single N5k, it is safe to assume that people building data centers with QFabric will have BIG performance advantages.

 

With this test, we have shown that the QFabric System can serve as the heart of a high-performance data center, with the latency and management simplicity of a single low-latency switch.  This offers tremendous advantage to bankers and financial markets in particular, but it’s also exciting news for anybody dealing with large sets of real-time data such as SmartGrids, air traffic control, transportation, retailers, and national security & defense.

 

Based on these results demonstrating QFabric’s low-latency performance at data center scale, imagine the other performance-sensitive applications that can deliver a real advantage if “turbo charged” on a QFabric network:

 

  • Risk and Compliance: Some trading firms implement as many as 500 pre-trade compliance checks that run across multiple systems before a trade is approved. Removing network latency accelerates those approvals and gets winning bids into the market faster.
  • Analytics: Big data, Hadoop clusters and other large-scale data sets are taking over data center real estate.   As the data sets become more massive, best practice means you need to move the query or application to the data, rather than the other way around. The faster you can do that, the more timely—and valuable —your analysis will be.

 

  • Real-time Core Banking: Managing a bank with days-old data from batch reports is like flying a plane looking out the rear window. Banks like BBVA are learning that updating the general ledger in real-time is more like looking where you are going—and managing cash and risk more effectively because of it. But real-time banking creates a flood of transactions in the network core.  This is exactly QFabric’s strength, as proven in the STAC test.

 

  • Floor Planning: Determining where to locate servers and storage may not be the most exciting topic, but if you’ve read this blog before, you know that location matters in a data center.  System administrators carefully deploy those applications that communicate most frequently in close proximity to each other to maintain performance.  With QFabric, that careful planning is no longer necessary—you can place servers, data and applications anywhere in the data center with no performance penalty

 

One of the most interesting stories to come out of the QFabric System benchmark and tuning was actually an oversight. While the network team was setting up the network, they connected a Spirent TestCenter as a traffic generator for basic load testing. Once the network was up and running, the application engineers came in to set up the servers and applications and begin tuning the STAC test harness to determine the optimum configuration for the formal benchmark.

 

Running through some final quality checks, engineers discovered that the Spirent system had been running the entire time, broadcasting at 80Gbps across the QFabric System while the preliminary testing was going on.  The Spirent system was disconnected and the tests were run again—with no difference in the results.

 

Put another way, while running the most demanding, low-latency switching tests in the industry, the QFabric System absorbed an extra 80Gbps of traffic with no impact on the results. While not part of the official audit, this was a great proof-point demonstrating the performance headroom in the system.

 

In short, a low-latency, non-blocking, highly scalable network fabric is ideal for almost any performance-sensitive application. Add in the benefits of location flexibility, a single system to manage, and the proven capabilities of Junos, and you have the foundation for building the Fastest Data Center in the World.

 

For more information on the actual testing and the full report - please visit us at the QFabric site here on Juniper.net.

  http://www.juniper.net/us/en/products-services/switching/qfx-series/ 

 

Juniper has also subjected the QFabric System to the most rigorous network performance test ever in our 1,536 port test of the full system that is we published from neworktest Associates. You can read more about that on the next blog over at (http://forums.juniper.net/t5/Architecting-the-Network/Network-Testing-QFabric-The-Industry-s-Largest... ) .

 

With these two test reports - Juniper QFabric is the most throroughly tested and docuemented 10 Gigabit solution in the industry. Lots of vendors claim to be the best - Juniper has provdided the proof to support our claim: The Fastest Data Center in the World.

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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.
  • 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.
  • Brad Brooks is Juniper Network's Chief Marketing Officer. He joined Juniper Networks in February of 2011 and in his current role he is responsible for positioning Juniper’s growth strategy, growing opportunities in new and existing markets, and increasing the global demand for Juniper’s solutions by creating and delivering remarkable customer experiences. Prior to this role, he held the position of Vice President of Business Strategy and Marketing for the Software Solutions Division where he was instrumental in the development of Juniper’s software defined networking (SDN) virtualization vision and strategy as well as the creation of the new and innovative Juniper Software Advantage licensing model. Before joining Juniper, Brooks was at Microsoft serving as Corporate Vice President for Windows Consumer Marketing and Product Management leading the $8 billion consumer business for the Windows client. In this role, he oversaw the launch of Windows 7, the most successful launch in Microsoft’s history. He moved into this role from his position as General Manager for the Windows Commercial Business Group where he was responsible for the group’s global enterprise business efforts, including the market introductions of Windows Vista and Windows software assurance and enterprise agreement marketing. Amid a declining enterprise market, Brooks developed multiple solutions sets for enterprise customers and grew the $900 million annual business to $3 billion in three years. He came to Microsoft in 2002 to work on the initial business development and marketing of Windows XP Media Center Edition. Brooks has also held several product management, product development, business development, marketing, sales and operations roles with Enron, Lucent Technologies, and AT&T. Brooks has a master's degree in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and a bachelor's degree in business from the California State University.
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  • Calvin brings sixteen years of network and network security experience to his role of marketing solutions for data center switching and routing. His comprehensive understanding of network and industry issues is built through his previous front-line roles across technical, product, solution and marketing. A bay area lifer, he spends what's left of his spare time rooting for another Giants world series title. Follow him @chachi04
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  • Jonathan Davidson is Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Security, Switching and Solutions Business Unit (S3BU). In this role, he is responsible for leading innovation, growth and product development in data center, campus, branch, and cloud. Davidson oversees the development of market-leading security and networking solutions and his team manages both the EX Series and QFX family of switches as well as the SRX line of security devices. Davidson joined Juniper in 2010 as Vice President, Product Line Management for the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit where he was responsible for the product lifecycle management, strategy, implementation, solutions and go-to-market activity for a range of leading edge routing product families, such as the E, M and MX Series. Prior to joining Juniper, Davidson had a 15-year career in various leadership positions at Cisco. He served as Director of Product Management at Cisco Systems where he focused on service provider solutions and led the enterprise routing product management team and service provider Layer 4 through Layer 7 services team. During his time at Cisco, he co-authored the best-selling books Voice over IP Fundamentals and Deploying Voice over IP. He also served as Director, Service Provider Solution Engineering. Davidson has spoken at leading industry events such as Interop and has held certification as Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert #2560. He is active on social media, and frequently shares his observations about the industry on his twitter account @jonathandavidsn and blogs.
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  • Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors at Juniper Networks. Rahim will continue to lead the Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI), responsible for driving strategy, development, and business growth for Juniper's entire portfolio including routing, switching, and security, as well as for the ongoing evolution of silicon technology and the Junos operating system. As a technologist, Rahim has deep roots in Juniper’s development organization where he has applied his engineering acumen to the design and development of Juniper’s service provider and enterprise products. Rahim began his Juniper career in early 1997, as employee #32, and worked as an engineer on Juniper’s first product, the M40 core router. Rahim’s roles of increasing responsibility have grown over the years, from Vice President of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit (EABU), to Senior Vice President/General Manager of EABU, followed by Executive Vice President/General Manager of Platform Systems Division for routing and switching, to his most recent role as Executive Vice President and General Manager of JDI, overseeing Juniper’s entire product and technology portfolio. Rahim holds 17 US Patents in networking technologies and is a member of IEEE. As a networking industry spokesperson, Rahim’s insights have been featured in publications such as Enterprise Networking Planet and Network World. Rahim shares his industry observations via Twitter @ramirahim and his Juniper blogs. Rahim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He completed an intensive 6-week executive program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
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