For the last 12 years, Juniper Networks has been edging its way toward becoming a leader in the enterprise networking space. Yet it has also been missing a key element offered by its primary competitor, Cisco Systems — namely, a switch portfolio.
That changed today. In a launch event Webcast on Juniper.net, the company’s founder and CTO, Pradeep Sindhu, literally pulled the sheet off the company’s new switching portfolio.
Juniper CEO Scott Kriens said the product launch marked the beginning of a transcending chapter in Juniper’s history, declaring, “The switch is on.”
Juniper’s new switching portfolio is called the Ex series and was built entirely by Juniper.
“We’ve heard the questions of why aren’t you in switching or who are you going to buy?, ” said Hitesh Seth, an executive vice president at Juniper. “We’ve been listening and the results are on this podium. We made a conscious decision to build versus buy.”
Three key products will make up the Ex series at launch: the EX 3200, EX 4200 and EX 8200.
The EX 3200 is a fixed-configuration device available in 24- and 48-port configurations for 10/100/1000BASE-T connectivity. The EX 4200 includes what Juniper calls “Virtual Chassis” technology, which enables expansion up to 480 10/100/1000BASE-T ports.
At the high end is the EX 8200, which is available in an eight-slot, 1.6 terabit configuration, as well as a 16-slot, 3.2 terabit chassis. The unit is also optimized for 10GbE routing.
Juniper also said every slot on the EX 8200 is ready for 100GbE, once the standard is actually finalized.
A key unifying theme for Juniper’s new switch portfolio is the fact that the EX 3200, EX 4200 and EX 8200 all run the same JUNOS operating system used by the rest of the company’s networking equipment.
Having a single operating system provides many benefits, Seth said.
“We’re delivering simplicity though JUNOS,” he said. “For the first time, routing and switching infrastructure can run on the same OS. We will also have a common management system that will deliver operational benefits to enterprise customers.”
JUNOS is the same operating system that powers Juniper’s high-end terabit carrier router. One key feature of JUNOS is that it enables new services to be added seamlessly to the network.
Additionally, other elements of Juniper’s networking infrastructure, including its UAC access control solution and intrusion prevention security systems will work with EX switches from day one.
“What we’re doing with our switching portfolio is we are advancing the economics of networking,” Seth said. “The time has come for the network to catch up with applications and for customers to expect and get a network that is fast, reliable and secure.”
“With the combination of routing security and now switching ports, we are in position to deliver an end-to-end infrastructure, so finally customers can have a vendor that delivers a high-performance network to them,” he added.
Juniper’s switching news comes the day after Cisco announced its own big switching news — the launch of the Nexus 7000 as its new, high-end switch.
While Juniper uses JUNOS throughout its portfolio, Cisco created a new OS, the NX-OS, for its new switch.