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New Juniper SDN device portends forklift upgrades for core Ethernet switch

Jim Duffy | March 26, 2013
Any hopes Juniper EX8200 customers had that the core switch would grow to support next-generation 40/100G Ethernet, mobility, media-rich traffic, virtualization or cloud have been dashed.

Indeed, Juniper does not plan to end-of-life the EX8200, they say. The company will continue to invest in the platform with IPv6, high availability and network virtualization enhancements, they say.

But Juniper does not have a formal migration program to move existing customers from the EX8200 to the EX9200. The company plans to introduce a 40G "adoption program" when EX9200 ships to help drive initial EX9200 sales among new and existing EX customers, sources say.

Juniper is also instructing partners to encourage customers to stick with the EX8200 for campus and two-tier data center cores if they have no plans to move to 40/100G in the next two to three years, sources say. Also, they are instructing partners to recommend the EX8200 for customers looking for a "distributed core" of four EX8200s, linked via Juniper's Virtual Chassis technology, for multiple locations in the same metro area, they say.

The EX9200 will not support Virtual Chassis at first customer ship, sources say, but is planned for Junos 13.2 afterward. Virtual Chassis also will not require an external routing engine -- XRE -- on the EX9200 like it does on the EX8200, they say.

QFabric, meanwhile, remains Juniper's lead platform for single-tier, high-performance 10G-only implementations in the data center. With the QFX3000-M and QFX3000-G, as well as QFX series stand-alone switches with Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation Group (MC-LAG), there are several options and use cases that Juniper feels make QFabric "compelling," sources say.

The EX9200 will also support MC-LAG at first customer ship, they say.

QFabric will also continue to be positioned as the alternative to Cisco's Nexus 7000 with "F" series cards, which are optimized for high-density, low-power, shallow buffers and limited features, sources say. EX9200 will be positioned against the Nexus 7000 "M" series in the data center, and against Cisco's Catalyst 6500E and HP's 7500/10500/12500 switches in the campus core with large physical or logical scale, and/or 40/100G requirements.

The EX8200, however, will still be positioned as the lead campus core switch to go up against Cisco's Catalyst 6500, based on bandwidth per slot, feature set and the Virtual Chassis technology, sources say. Juniper plans to tout the "four member" implementation of EX8200 in a Virtual Chassis versus the "two member" virtual deployment of the Catalyst 6500, they say.

As for the MX router, which is the foundational platform for the EX9200, Juniper admits some functional overlap but recommends partners steer customers to the EX9200 for a "complete" switching refresh, and to the MX for a WAN refresh. The only components shared between the EX9200 and the MX router are power supplies, fan trays, air filters and power cables; EX9200 chassis, interface cards, routing engine, switch fabric and software license are unique to the platform, sources say.

In addition to 40/100G Ethernet, the EX9200 is being positioned as Juniper's key core platform for increased logical scale needed to support more devices and servers; increased 10G port density; and form factor alternatives, sources say.


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