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Dell, Juniper hook up in networking alliance

Under a new deal, the partners will work together on products for virtualised datacentres and Dell will resell Juniper gear under its PowerConnect J brand
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Dell and Juniper Networks have signed a networking technology collaboration deal that will see them develop products for virtualised datacentres.

On Tuesday, the companies announced they will work together on the open standards-based virtualised datacentre lineup. They will also collborate on products based on Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) and iSCSI, both technologies being aimed at making networks more cost-effective to run.  

As part of the agreement, Dell will resell networking gear from Juniper Networks, following on from a similar deal with Brocade, which was expanded in September. It plans to rebrand Juniper routers, switches and services gateways under its PowerConnect J-Series of products, while continuing to sell Brocade storage and networking gear under the PowerConnect B-Series brand.

The deal is designed to allow enterprises to build out their datacentre and network infrastructure — including branch offices, remote workers, customers and business partners — with equipment from a single vendor, the companies said.

"This agreement will help address many of our customers' biggest challenges, including the dramatic rise in security concerns, an increasingly dispersed workforce and challenges brought on with the advent of the virtualised datacentre," said Dell senior vice-president, Brad Anderson, in a statement.

Dell will market, service and support the Juniper products — including the MX Series routers, EX Series Ethernet switches and SRX Series services gateways, which all run on its FreeBSD-derived Junos software. The products will be available via Dell's direct and PartnerDirect channels.

A number of companies are looking to technologies such as convergence onto Ethernet and the use of virtualised servers to simplify the rollout and maintenance of datacentres. For example, networking company Cisco earlier this year introduced its first blade and rack-mount server products under an initiative it calls Unified Computing (UC), a move analysts say has prompted enterprise hardware makers such as IBM and Dell to work more closely with networking firms such as Brocade and Juniper. IBM announced an original equipment manufacturer agreement with Brocade in April.

The enterprise is a relatively new market for Juniper, which made its name with routers used by telecommunications carriers. The company launched its Ethernet switch portfolio last year, and it has sold switches to the likes of NYSE Euronext, which is using them to build datacentres in New York and London.

Juniper is competing with Cisco's UC and HP's BladeSystem Matrix with a project called Stratus, aimed at simplifying and speeding up networks. Stratus-based products will not arrive until 2010 or 2011, but in theory at least, Juniper's plans go further than either Cisco or HP, according to Datamonitor analyst Rik Turner.

"Neither vendor [Cisco nor HP] is proposing anything as radical as the single-tier architecture of Stratus," Turner said in a July report, published at the time of Juniper's deal with NYSE Euronext. "The fact that the world's largest stock exchange operator, whose tolerance of latency is evidently minimal, has gone with Juniper is a powerful endorsement of the vendor's roadmap."

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