Juniper keeps the pressure on Cisco with new network fabric

Juniper networks rolls out the first of their single-layer network fabric products. Will their $100 million investment pay off?
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

While it's not like Cisco is running scared, it certainly seems that every competitor is taking their shot at technologies that are traditionally seen as Cisco strengths. Juniper Networks is just the latest competitor to take a shot at Cisco's core networking businesses, routers and switches, which, even with a decline of 3-5% of overall market share over the last two years, are still networking markets that Cisco dominates.

But while competitors like HP are grabbing their market share via the unified computing / converged networks approach, where a single vendor is responsible for end-to-end infrastructure, servers, and as much software as possible, Juniper is going after the just the core network infrastructure itself with their QFabric product line. QFabric is Juniper's approach to the flattened network and they've spent over $100 million developing this single layer network fabric.

The complete set of product announcements is expected tomorrow, but Juniper has confirmed the first product in the line, the QFX3500 node, designed to connect servers and storage systems to your datacenter networks, priced at a competitive $34,000, is available to order as of today.  The other units in the product line will be available before the end of 2011.

Flattening datacenter networks is an important component in the process of preparing for cloud deployment and utilization. If a specialized networking vendor with a very narrow focus, as opposed to a vendor looking to expand their operations beyond their original scope, can deliver an cost effective (both OPEX and CAPEX) solution there is a major market opportunity and the chance to get the lead role in the future of cloud networks.

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