Juniper Bolsters SDN Strategy With New Programmable EX9200 Switch


Juniper Networks this week continued to define the software-defined networking (SDN) strategy it laid out earlier this year, launching its core switch for data centers and enterprises embracing the trend.

The new switch, dubbed the EX9200, comes in a four-slot, eight-slot or 14-slot chassis, and it is based on the Juniper One programmable application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a feature Juniper said allows the switch to easily accommodate new networking protocols without requiring customers to rip out and replace -- or perform a "forklift upgrade" -- on their existing networking gear or software.

"We want this switch to stay in the customer's network for the next decade," said Dhritiman Dasgupta, senior director of product marketing at Juniper. "That's why we have added a lot of programmability, so as new protocols come into the network -- whether it's because of some new virtualization technology from VMware or Microsoft, or some new encapsulation method from a wireless technology -- this new switch is designed to support all known protocols today and all unknown protocols for the next decade."

[Related: Juniper Router Failure Blamed In CloudFlare Outage]

The new EX9200 support 1-, 10-, and 40-Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) line card, with support for 100 GbE expected later this year, Dasgupta said. The EX9200 also features an integrated virtual WLAN (vWLAN) controller, along with Junos Space Network Manager, Juniper's homegrown network and application management platform.

Dasgupta stressed that the launch of the EX9200 does not signal the end or Juniper's EX8200 core switch or its QFabric data center system.

"[The EX9200] does not mean there will be a slowdown in go-to-market activity for QFabric or EX8200," Dasgupta said. "There is a place for each of these platforms. The customer environments are very different."

Dasgupta said Juniper's QFabric offering -- and the cornerstone of Juniper's overall strategy to "flatten" the traditional three-layer data center and make it more simple to manage -- is really aimed at high-performance data centers, while the lower-end EX8200 switch, which supports 10 GbE, is ideal for enterprise campuses. Meanwhile, the new EX9200 is being positioned as Juniper's core switch for SDN environments.

When Juniper first lifted the curtain on its SDN strategy at its Global Partner Conference in January, partners told CRN they needed to see the execution of that strategy -- meaning concrete sales plans and more -- before gauging just how successful it would be.

The EX9200 switch, which was first teased at Juniper's Global Partner Conference, seems for some partners to be a step in that direction.

"Juniper is ahead of the SDN market curve with the EX9200," said Gary Fish, CEO and founder of FishNet Security, a Kansas City, Mo.-based solution provider. "I think it is safe to say that the programmable network, in whatever form it takes -- OpenFlow, APIs or something new -- is here to stay. While not widely adopted, our customers are all asking the questions and talking about the possibilities software-defined networking might hold for them."

PUBLISHED APRIL 1, 2013