In modern data centers, applications reflect the business imperatives that drive the company. And as the application consumption model changes from legacy client/server to the new model of everything as-a-service from the cloud, IT organizations find themselves under increasing pressure to deliver more, faster, and with greater flexibility and scale—all while reducing costs.
The underlying infrastructure of today’s IT data center must be built on a solid foundation, but one that’s flexible enough to adapt to ever-changing business needs. That flexibility should also extend to the data center networking hardware and software; they must allow users to turn on new features, functionality, and services with the same velocity as today’s changing business requirements.
At Juniper, we saw a need for a disaggregation of networking hardware and software to give IT organizations the flexibility to run the software they need, when they need it, on the hardware platform of their choice. This disaggregation also allows companies to leverage their software investment over time, while replacing hardware as required.
To address this need, we developed a disaggregated version of the Junos® software infrastructure. It’s modular, based on Linux, and built from the ground up for automation and programmability. The disaggregated software allows users to manage the data center switch just like a server—you can run third-party applications, tools, and virtualized services in a virtual machine (VM), or as containers directly on the switch.
This enhanced software infrastructure delivers a multitude of benefits. Managing the system as if it were a server breaks up existing IT silos, and it allows DevOps and NetOps teams to collaborate, so they can reduce delivery time and costs for IT services. The infrastructure also leads to higher reliability, incorporating In-Service-Software-Upgrade (ISSU), with Junos software running on a VM. And with the modularized components, the software can contain faults within an impacted module.
Disaggregated software lets enterprises install whatever third-party applications, tools, and services they want directly on the switch. They can upgrade applications that are running natively by using typical Linux repositories, without waiting for a new Junos release.
Automation and programming tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and services like firewall, analytics, deep packet inspection, Wireshark, and zero touch provisioning (ZTP) can run directly on the switch. IT staff can program the switch’s control or data plane directly through APIs, improving network operations.
Our disaggregated software infrastructure opens up a new platform that enables enterprises and Juniper partners to bring more IT innovations and value-added services into the data center, in a model comparable to app stores for smart phones.
Complementing the enhanced Junos software infrastructure, we introduced a data center switch that supports our disaggregated hardware and software model. The QFX5200 combines high-performance switching with the features, functionality, and power of a quad-core CPU server, offering speeds from 10GbE to 100GbE and supporting the emerging 25GbE and 50GbE Ethernet standards.