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Data Centre

50 BILLION devices: The future that Juniper Networks wants to tap

Someone's kit needs to handle all that traffic

Juniper Networks wants to produce products capable of transforming networks to capitalise on new growth opportunities brought on by the connected world. That is, essentially, its raison d'être.

The firm says that with new devices we get new content and therefore new network traffic flows. This is a logical enough supposition for anybody.

By way of an answer, Juniper says its new solutions boast really good (okay, it said “unprecedented”) levels of network performance, automation and scale.

This isn’t enough for Juniper founder Pradeep Sindhu, who reckons his firm has improved networking performance more than any other single company over the last couple of decades.

If we believe estimates from Morgan Stanley and the Broadband Commission, then by 2020 there will be 7.6 billion internet users with 50 billion connected devices. Juniper reckons it is well placed to provide for the “massive changes” needed across business and network infrastructures to support the anticipated resultant explosion in mobile data usage here.

Showboating and big-picture marketing-speak out of the way for a moment, what is Juniper actually distilling just now?

In March, the firm released an open switching platform: the snappily named Juniper Networks QFX10000 is a new line of spine switches to give data centers deployments both physical and logical scale.

As network topology enthusiasts and hobbyists will already know, spine (or leaf-spine) technology is a network structure where a series completely interconnected switches are used together to establish the network access layer.

The sporty QFX10000 also revs up performance, yet it still has enough port density to grow flexibly with customer demands. It’s an old chestnut. What’s the good of scalable switch topology without port density? Answer: well, not as much as if you have it.

Juniper has also made sure its product integrates with a range of solutions from vendors such as VMware, as well as open source solutions, like OpenStack and OpenContrail for automated network management and provisioning.

Also new from Juniper is its enhanced Converged Supercore Architecture. This is intended to give service providers running cloud data centres the ability to manage their networks by combining the ExpressPlus chip (said to be the industry’s most advanced new custom silicon), with improved hardware capacity and expanded software-based traffic optimisation via the NorthStar Controller.

It’s an interesting proposition. As much as we focus on managed cloud services and data centre application processing and storage metrics, without a bit of base-layer wiring none of the lights would actually come on. ®

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