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Juniper OCX1100-48SX Technical Deep Dive
Dec 3, 2014

Today Juniper Networks is announcing a new network switch - the Juniper OCX1100-48SX – that is designed to the SNX-60x0-486F specification submitted to the Open Compute Project (OCP). We've always been dedicated in creating an open and flexible software architecture for our customers and the Juniper OCX1100-48SX is our next step to providing the same level of openness and flexibility in the switch hardware.

Why OCX and not QFX for the name? Pretty simple. OCX is short for "Open Compute Switch," and in the traditional Juniper fashion the "X" represents switching. I'll explain the difference between the OCX and QFX. Keep reading.

 

Check out the OCP specification at:

 

http://files.opencompute.org/oc/public.php?service=files&t=9b974eb745901ee3001e4a9f9b78314f

 

More OCP information at:

 

http://www.opencompute.org/wiki/Networking/SpecsAndDesigns#Alpha_Networks_-_SNX-60x0-486F_-_48-port_...

 

Juniper is Open

One of Juniper's core tenets is that the network be open and not lock in our customers. We have delivered on this principle starting with our network operating system Junos that allows programmatic access via Python, Ruby, and Go. Our next step was creating a Linux foundation and leveraging the KVM hypervisor to allow our customers to create customized VMs on the network switch. Recently we announced integration with VMware NSX and providing VXLAN L2 gateway services on the QFX5100 with OVSDB. In another recent release of Junos we decoupled EVPN from MPLS and allow you to use EVPN as an agnostic control plane protocol with your choice of data plane encapsulation. For example we can support EVPN with OpenContrail or a controller-less architecture with an EVPN + VXLAN fabric.

 

It's obvious that Juniper has created software that's open and flexible. The next step was to create a piece of hardware that was just as open. The Juniper OCX1100-48SX switch is completely open and gives you the flexibility to write your own network operating system, full support for other ONIE-compatible network operating systems, or support a new, lightweight version of Junos that's optimized for building IP Fabrics.

What problems does the Juniper OXC1100-48SX solve?

There are customer segments that focus on cloud building; the use cases include: infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS). From an implementation perspective this means you need to build a large IP Fabric. When you take a look at the network architecture of an IP Fabric, all of the networking switches are L3; there's no requirement to span L2 across racks or servers. Building an IP Fabric greatly simplifies the networking requirements and increases the overall reliability of the network because there are fewer moving parts and no potential for L2 loops. However the trade-off is that you need to have full control of the application or leverage network overlays such as VXLAN. In the examples of IaaS and SaaS, they have full control of their applications and/or leverage network overlay solutions.

 

There are other customer segments that focus on providing rich network services; for example service providers, enterprise, financial services, and government. In many cases a simple IP Fabric architecture doesn't meet all of the network requirements the business demands. Service providers need a rich feature set with high logical scale. Enterprises and governments need turnkey architectures and solutions that support both L2, L3, multicast, and many other network services.

 

The problem is that if a cloud builder only needs to build an IP Fabric, you need to use the same feature rich network switches as everyone else or look at using another architecture such as white box. A network switch that has enough performance to support a rich feature set is a perfect solution for enterprise or service provider customers, however cloud builders do not need to purchase features they will never use. White box architecture gives you a piece of hardware without a network operating system. The problem is that you have to write your own network operating system or look at other immature network operating systems.

 

Juniper has solved the problem of building large IP Fabrics. The Juniper OCX1100-48SX is a completely open network switch. The Juniper OCX1100-48SX gives you the flexibility to write your own network operating system or use a new lightweight version of Junos that's optimized for building large IP Fabrics. You may also use any other network operating system that's compatible with ONIE, but why do that when a new, lightweight version of Junos is already bundled with the OCX1100-48SX at no additional cost? 🙂

Juniper OCX1100-48SX Overview

The Juniper OCX1100-48SX is a 1RU network switch that's designed to operate in the access layer. It ships from the factory with ONIE and a new, lightweight version of Junos that's optimized for building IP Fabrics. The OCX1100-48SX supports 48x10GbE + 6x40GbE ports on the front panel with front-to-back or back-to-front cooling. The Juniper OCX1100-48SX also supports both AC and DC power options. The control board is based on an x86 processor and the data board chipset is the Broadcom Trident II.

 

 

 

 

Juniper OCX1100-48SX Technical Details

Juniper has worked with Alpha Networks to create the new Juniper OCX1100 hardware design. Let’s go through all of the components of the Juniper OCX1100 one by one.

 

 

Data Board

The data board is responsible for forwarding all of the traffic on the Juniper OCX1100. All switching, routing, multicast, and other network services are handled in hardware; this allows the Juniper OCX1100 to perform at line-rate.

 

All of the other components such as the power supply, fans, and control board plug directly into the data board. You can think of the data board as the glue that holds all of the components together.

 

The data board is driven by the Broadcom 56850 chipset as shown below. Unfortunately the heat sink had already adhered to the chipset, so I couldn’t take it off without having to reapply the adhesive.

 

 

Control Board

The control board handles the control plane processing for the Juniper OCX1100. It is designed in such a way that it’s simply a module that plugs into the data board; so we have the possibility of having different control boards in the future. The control board doesn’t have any fans, but instead has a large heat sink for the processor as shown below.

 

 

The control board is powered by an Intel Atom processor, more than enough to run your own network operating system or the new lightweight version of Junos as shown below.

 

 

The control board has a connector – shown on the top left – that connects back into the data board. The control board sits on top of the data board as a mezzanine; on the back of the control board is the memory and storage as shown below.

 

 

The control board also has 4GB of DDR memory as shown on the top right of the image. It also has a 8GB SSD hard drive for storage as shown in the top left.

Power Supply

The Juniper OCX1100 is optimized for the data center and supports front-to-back or back-to-front cooling; this extends to the power supplies as well. A pair of front-to-back cooling power supplies are shown below, denoted by the orange. The orange means that warm air comes out. The back-to-front cooling is denoted by blue, showing that cool air comes in.

 

 

The Juniper OCX1100 has two power supplies for 1 + 1 redundancy. The AC power supplies are rated for 460W each and the DC power supplies are rated at 800W each.

Fans

The Juniper OCX1100 is optimized for the data center and supports both front-to-back and back-to-front cooling. There are a total of four fans that plug into the back of the data board on the Juniper OCX1100 as shown below.

 

 

The front-to-back cooling is referred to as airflow out (AFO) and back-to-front is airflow in (AFI). The data board on the Juniper OCX1100 has four fans to support N + 1 redundancy.

Juniper OCX1100-48SX versus Juniper QFX5100-48S

The big question is what is the difference between the OCX1100-48SX and the QFX5100-48S. The short answer is that the hardware is similar, but the new, lightweight version of Junos is optimized for L3 to build large IP Fabrics. Many of the advanced L2 features such as MC-LAG and advanced features such as Virtual Chassis Fabric have been removed. Check out the following table to get a better idea of the hardware and software differences between the Juniper OCX1100-48SX and Juniper QFX5100-48S:

 

Feature

OCX1100-48SX

QFX5100-48S

Open Hardware Design

Yes

No

Data Board Chipset

Broadcom 56854

Broadcom 56854

Control Board CPU

Intel x86 Rangley (Atom)

Intel x86 Sandy Bridge (Xeon)

Control Board Memory

4GB DDR3

8GB DDR3

Control Board Storage

8GB SSD

32GB SSD

Management Ports

1

2

ONIE Support

Yes

No

Guest Virtual Machine

No

Yes

In-Service Software Upgrade

No

Yes

IP Fabric

Yes

Yes

Ethernet Fabric

No

Yes

VXLAN L2 GW

No

Yes

MPLS

No

Yes

Network Telemetry / Analytics

Yes

Yes

MC-LAG

No

Yes

Virtual Chassis Fabric

No

Yes

QFabric Node

No

Yes

EVPN

No

Yes

FCoE Transit

No

Yes

On-box Python

Yes

Yes

NETCONF

Yes

Yes

REST RPCs

Yes

Yes

Virtual Chassis

No

Yes

 

The Juniper QFX5100 is the Cadillac of top-of-rack switches; it supports all architectures, rich feature set, and more powerful control board. However if you’re building a large IP Fabric, do not need the advanced features, and want a better TCO, the Juniper OCX1100-48SX is a perfect fit.

 

Summary

Juniper is taking the first step to rounding out its open hardware and software strategy with the release of the Juniper OCX1100. We seen the TCO problems that large scale out architectures were facing and have responded with cost-optimized, open hardware and a new, lightweight version of Junos that’s optimized for building large IP Fabrics. We also give you the option of running other network operating systems or you can write your own. *Tim Allen grunt*

 

The Juniper OCX1100 gives you the option of a white box (hardware and software provided by different vendors) or an OCP integrated switch that comes bundled with the Junos network operating system. No vendor lock-in; reduce TCO; common network building block; and decouple hardware and software. What more do you want?

 

Reach out to your Juniper sales team today and check out the new Juniper OCX1100-48.

Dec 4, 2014

Are you going to partner with Cumulus? And I assume that your ONIE/NOS listing for this box's Junos-lite is pending.

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