With much of the recent hype on larger density routers, many seem intrigued by the buzz around a small Supercore router, the PTX3000. Admittedly, it is the world’s most compact core router. But, isn’t traffic continuing to explode at double digit rates? And what is so “Super” about a 3.84 Tbps system?
To fully appreciate the market-excitement on the PTX3000, one needs to think back a few years when Juniper set about its philosophy on Supercore. We recognized that just building larger routers wasn’t enough. Future capacity-needs had to be addressed within the scope of some hard constraints our customers faced. These were at the facility-level – the amount of power and the cost of real estate – and at the architecture level – rigid, multilayer architectures that would grind to a halt.
The rapid adoption of the first generation Supercore in 2012 was a testament to this vision. But, it also exposed the opportunity that the same efficiency-oriented benefits are equally compelling to smaller applications that get overlooked. These include metro, central offices, collocations and emerging markets, where power and space are a real challenge – and sometimes with hard limits. The PTX3000 hits a sweet spot for these applications.
In most industries, the benefits of economies of scale are available to just a few large players. The PTX3000 changes that dynamic. With a 3.84Tbps capacity, a system no deeper than an NFL-regulation football, and power-efficiency and space-utilization at an incredible 2x to 6x ahead of the market, one might argue that the efficiency advantages now shift to smaller environments.
But what really drove Juniper towards the quest for industry’s lowest, 270mm depth? It certainly was no accident (typically core routers are at least 2x to 3x deeper). For meaningful transformation of the transport market, the depth is very significant. ETSI-standardized cabinets are either 300mm or 600mm deep, and most transport devices must adhere to this standard. However, the engineering feat to achieve this on a router – such as packing the components and power supplies, along with innovative cooling technology – has been unprecedented; especially since no other efficiency metric was compromised.
On the issue of power, another significant innovation is entry-level power. At 1,200 Watts the system can power up all commons and 24 ports of 10GE interfaces. For many of the markets, mentioned above, this feature in itself is the most valuable and might sometimes override all other considerations.
The buzz of the smaller PTX Series is indeed justified, as it changes the game for many applications with space and power constraints and delivers the Supercore advantage to new markets. Send me your thoughts.