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MetaFabric Architecture Overview

Cloud, mobility, and big data are driving business change and IT transformation. Enterprise businesses and service providers across all industries are constantly looking for a competitive advantage, and reliance on applications and the data center have never been greater (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Applications Drive IT Transformation

Applications Drive IT Transformation

Traditional networks are physically complex, difficult to manage, and not suited for the dynamic application environments prevalent in today’s data centers. Because of mergers, acquisitions, and industry consolidation, most businesses are dealing with data centers that are distributed across multiple sites and clouds, which adds even more complexity. Additionally, the data center is so dynamic because the network is constantly asked to do more, become more agile, and support new applications while ensuring integration with legacy applications. Consequently, this dynamic environment requires more frequent refresh cycles.

The network poses two specific problems in the data center:

  1. Impedes time to value—Network complexity gets in the way of delivering data center agility.
  2. Low value over time—Every time a new application, technology, or protocol is introduced, the network needs to be ripped out and replaced.

The growing popularity and adoption of switching fabrics, new protocols, automation, orchestration, security technologies, and software-defined networks (SDNs) are strong indicators of the need for a more agile network in the data center. Juniper Networks has applied its networking expertise to the problems of today’s data centers to develop and deliver the MetaFabric™ architecture—a combination of switching, routing, security, software, orchestration, and SDN—all working in conjunction with an open technology ecosystem to accelerate the deployment and delivery of applications for enterprises and service providers.

With legacy data center networks, you needed to create separate physical and virtual resources at your on-premises data center, your managed service provider, your hosted service provider, and your cloud provider. All of these resources required separate provisioning and management (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Data Center Before MetaFabric

Data Center Before MetaFabric

Now, implementing a MetaFabric architecture allows you to combine physical and virtual resources across boundaries to provision and manage your data center efficiently and holistically (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Data Center After MetaFabric

Data Center After MetaFabric

The goal of the MetaFabric architecture is to allow you to connect any physical network, with any combination of storage, servers, or hypervisors, to any virtual network, and with any orchestration software (Figure 4). Such an open ecosystem ensures that you can add new equipment, features, and technologies over time to take advantage of the latest trends as they emerge.

Figure 4: MetaFabric – Putting It All Together

MetaFabric – Putting It All Together

The MetaFabric architecture addresses the problems common in today’s data center by delivering a network and security architecture that accelerates time to value, while simultaneously increasing value over time. The MetaFabric 1.0 virtualized IT data center solution described in this guide is the first implementation of the MetaFabric architecture. Future solutions and guides are planned, including a larger scale virtualized IT data center, IT as a service (ITaaS), and a massively scalable cloud data center.

Published: 2015-04-20