Posts Tagged Juniper
Over a year ago, I posed the question, “Does 10Gb Ethernet change the Competitive landscape?” Cisco has been the dominant player in networking, for over a decade no competitor ever captured even ten percent of the market. While Ethernet is continuing its march into new markets and new applications, the market landscape has definitely changed. Fresh off of VMworld, there is a buzz in the networking world around new opportunities and architectures.
The Big Trends
After a blockbuster year of storage acquisitions in 2010 with over $1B spent each on 3PAR, Isilon, Compellent, many have predicted that 2011 would be the year of networking acquisitions. Many look at Cisco’s entrance into the server business as having a ripple effect of server vendors expanding into the networking space, most notably with HP’s acquisition of 3COM and to a lesser extent IBM’s BNT purchase. This week, Intel signed an agreement to acquire merchant silicon vendor Fulcrum Microsystems and Dell announced the intent to acquire networking equipment vendor Force10. While financial terms have not been disclosed, both of these deals are estimated to be in the hundreds of $Ms and complement existing portfolios rather than changes in market direction or severing of existing partnerships.
Optimism was abundant at Interop in Las Vegas this week. Attendance and energy was up from the more economically subdued shows of the last two years. While I only got to spin through the event for a few hours, I did get to talk to a bunch of the companies and bloggers at the show. While cloud (and the fabric networking that enable scalable architectures) may have been the big theme, but the undertone in the networking space was attacking Cisco while they are believed to be vulnerable due to some soft financial results and restructuring.
This week in Las Vegas, just about every networking vendor will release one of more press releases at Interop telling you about all of the latest and greatest products and technologies. Even for those that watch the industry closely, it can be difficult to squint through the details to figure out the differentiation between the product lines. From a size, density, power and performance standpoint, vendors leapfrog each other all of the time from one generation to the next. Thanks to the big trends of virtualization, cloud computing and the transition to higher speed architectures (10Gb Ethernet getting broad traction and 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet products now starting to go into production environments), there are real areas to differentiate.
I have to admit, when I first heard that Juniper was looking to deliver a “single tier” for networking, I thought it was a case of marketing one-upmanship. Every networking vendor has been pitching its own version of how to flatten a network to gain greater efficiencies and support the different traffic patterns driven by virtualization. I wrote last year that there wasn’t much differentiation between the various high level messages of moving to a two-tier network. Juniper has announced the architecture of it’s Stratus Project – the first hardware component, the QFX3500 starts shipping this quarter and the full QFabric solution is expected to ship by Q3’11. Juniper’s deconstruction of a switch, which allows for greater scale, lower latency and most importantly an order of magnitude in the number of devices to be managed, is truly innovative (not a term I use lightly).
Today, IBM officially announced the formation of its System Networking group (it’s buried in this PR). I’m on the record saying that IBM’s acquisition of BNT is not to attack Cisco. IBM is a master at the practice of co-opetition, and has a stated commitment to maintain partnerships, unlike HP, which has openly declared war on Cisco. The networking industry has undergone a realignment that will challenge Cisco’s dominance in the space.
Current network topologies are inadequate to meet the flexibility and scalability demands of burgeoning virtualized data center environments. New switches and new network architectures are emerging that transform the data center to Infrastructure 2.0 (comment or edit a vendor-independent definition of Infrastructure 2.0 on the wiki). Users should be aware that moving to this new environment is a disruptive, rip and replace initiative that requires substantial planning. Despite this caveat, a modernization process provides the opportunity to streamline current siloed infrastructure spanning network and servers in a virtualized context.