Data Center Directions
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Data Center Directions
Announcing Juniper's Most Highly-Available Campus Distribution Switch
Aug 13, 2014

Recently Juniper Networks announced the EX4600 switch that is built for the distribution layer in campus networks. It is designed for IT networking teams of enterprises and SMBs who are rolling out new applications and services and require higher performance to support them. This compact switch delivers innovations that were developed in the data center including ISSU for hitless upgrades, Insight Technology for performane monitoring and 40GbE ports for high speed uplinks. It works as a standalone switch as well as in Virtual Chassis and MC-LAG architectures as an options providing simplified management and network resiliency.




IT organizations are concerned about having sufficient switching performance to support increasing access to applications in the cloud from the campus. They need to support diverse devices for the current BYOD trend as well as support the demands of services like VDI, the growing use of wireless access and unified communications. As they continue to scale, designing their operations to accommodate increasing volumes of traffic, IT organizations are concerned about managing secure access, connectivity and bandwidth usage. However, despite the increasing and ever changing network usage patterns and the demands of supporting more devices and services IT teams are still expected to make things work with limited staffing resources and budgets. What the IT teams require is an easy-to-manage solution that delivers high-performance connectivity at an affordable price.


“More than three-quarters of the IT organizations we surveyed have either already standardized their campus networks on 10 GbE or are actively planning a move from 1 GbE to 10 GbE. Drivers include bandwidth-intensive applications, current or anticipated traffic levels and falling costs of the technology,” said Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group.


In response to these requirements Juniper Networks created the EX4600 line of Ethernet switches that are designed to help organizations make the transition to higher density campus environments and to support new services like BYOD, UCC, VDI, wireless access and access to SaaS application. We did this by making it highly-available, high-performance, and highly-scalable, in a small form factor; and by making it function in resilient and easy to manage network architectures.


Key Capabilities of the EX4600 Switch

The EX4600 gives you:

• High-performance supporting to 1.44Tbps of bandwidth with 24 line-rate 10 Gbps ports and up to 12 40Gbps ports at all packet sizes, or 12.4 Mpps per port at the minimum Ethernet frame size

• High availability with In Service Software Upgrades (ISSU), redundant power supplies and cooling, plus features like graceful protocol restart

• High scalability delivering port flexibility with installable modules that provide 8 ports of 10G or 4 ports of 40 Gig

• Flexible deployment and management simplification with support for Virtual Chassis and MC-LAG configurations


Top Features and Benefits of the EX4600

In-Service Software Upgrades ISSU leverages the EX4600 platform’s unique software architecture to eliminate risks associated with switch software upgrades. With ISSU—there is no dependency on associated network elements for hitless software upgrades. ISSU uses an internal virtual machine capability to upgrade the system where Junos is running in a master VM and a new Junos disk image is created and verified, then launched as a new backup Junos VM. Junos OS runs in two separate VMs in active and standby pairs. Then the system waits for the Junos images to synchronize, before swapping roles, detaching devices from the current master and attaching devices to backup. During software upgrade cycle, the switch seamlessly moves to the newer software version while maintaining intact data plane traffic. Once the upgrade is complete the current master Junos VM is shut down after delivering a truly seamless software upgrade.


Advanced Performance Monitoring Ensure application performance with Insight Technology for analytics. It features dynamic buffer utilization monitoring and reporting with an interval of 10 milliseconds to provide microburst and latency insight. It calculates both queue depth and latency, and logs messages when configured thresholds are crossed. Interface traffic statistics can be monitored at two-second granularity. The data can be viewed via CLI, system log, or streamed to external servers for more analysis. Supported reporting formats include Java Script Object Notification (JSON), CSV and TSV. These files can be consumed by orchestration systems, SDN controllers, or network management applications (such as Juniper Networks Junos Space Network Director) to make better network design decisions and identify network hotspots.


Simplified Deployment and Management

The EX4600 supports Juniper Networks’ unique Virtual Chassis technology, which enables up to 10 interconnected switches to operate as a single, logical device with a single IP address.

Virtual Chassis technology simplifies the enterprise distribution layer, eliminating the need for STP, VRRP, complex routing, or VLAN configurations. When deployed in a Virtual Chassis configuration, the EX4600 also reduces the number of devices to manage and can even eliminate network switching layers. A single Virtual Chassis configuration can span multiple nodes, reducing the need for larger, more expensive nodes on superior tiers. With the EX4600 you can combine 1GbE, 10GbE and 40GbE in the same Virtual Chassis system.


Automated provisioning

The EX4600 reduces the time and cost to deploy with automated provisioning. It supports a number of features for network automation and plug-and-play operations including zero-touch provisioning, operations and event scripts, automatic rollback, and Python scripting. The switch also supports integration with Chef and OpenStack for the DC.


Rich Software Features

The EX4600 switch supports a broad set of MPLS features, including L3 VPN, IPv6 provider edge router (6PE), RSVP traffic engineering, and LDP to allow standards-based network segmentation and virtualization. It can be deployed as a low-latency MPLS label-switching router (LSR) or MPLS PE router in smaller scale environments. The EX4600 is the industry’s only compact, low-latency, high-density, low-power switch to offer an MPLS feature set.


Reduced Learning Curve Juniper

Networks Junos® operating system, which is common across the entire EX Series switch product family, accelerates the learning curve by enabling the entire architecture to be managed with a common set of instructions and from a single pane of glass.


For more Information If your organization is facing the kinds of challenges that I talk about in this blog then check out the EX4600 product page on to learn more about the capabilities of this switch, EX4600 Product Page

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Aug 13, 2014
Recognized Expert



Nice to know Juniper supporting MC-LAG on high-backplane campus switch.

Aug 17, 2014
Recognized Expert Recognized Expert

This switch also supports MAC-SEC on all of the 10GbE interfaces.

Aug 23, 2014
Juniper Employee

Thank you for your clear information!