Juniper flat-packs data centre networking

One layer is all you need

Cat 5 cable

Juniper Networks has announced its QFabric "flat pack" single layer data centre networking scheme.

Designed for virtualised data centres heavy on virtual servers, QFabric is the fruit of Juniper's Project Stratus.

Network-using devices connect to the QFabric via QF/Node products, the first one being the QFX3500. These edge nodes connect toothier edge nodes across the network through QF/Interconnect products, high-speed transport devices.

The entire QFabric is managed through QF/Director, which provides a common window through which all QFabric devices can be controlled.

The QFX3500 is described as a high-performance, ultra-low latency, Layer 2/Layer 3 switch delivering wire-speed 10GbitE throughput through all ports. It supports Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), both as a FCoE transit switch and FCoE-to-Fibre Channel gateway.

The 1U device has 48 dual-mode, small form factor pluggable transceiver (SFP+/SPP) ports and four quad, small form factor pluggable plus (QSFP+) ports.

There is 1.28Tbit/s of throughput and 960MBit/s of switching capacity. It has a large MAC address table to support, Juniper says, large-scale server virtualisation deployments, and can be managed by Junos Space.

In a QFabric white paper (pdf), Juniper chief technology office Pradeep Sindhu outlines seven principles behind QFabric. He says the ideal data centre fabric "has fixed interface bandwidth but infinite internal bandwidth and zero interface-to-interface latency. QFabric comes very close to the ideal."

We can't actually know that yet, as the QFX3500 is the only QFabric product released, being orderable now. The QF/Interconnect and QF/Director products will apparently be orderable in the third quarter of this year. ®

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