Juniper Networks has dived headlong into the enterprise market by unveiling a line of Ethernet switches it claims will change the face of corporate networking.
The switches, developed under the code name 'Hurricane,' are the Juniper EX line of modular, chassis and fixed-configuration stackable devices.
At the high end, EX can support 128 10Gbit Ethernet ports. As many as 10 of the fixed-configuration stackables can be interconnected into a virtual chassis of 480Gbit Ethernet ports. The switches support features including high availability and network access control, which enables the switches to enforce access policies rather than rely on firewalls, VPN gateways or other vendors' switches.
Juniper also announced partnerships with IBM, Microsoft and Oracle in an effort to kick-start its assault on the enterprise switching market. These vendors have pledged varying degrees of software and application integration and interoperability with the new Juniper platforms.
Juniper claims it can exploit its heritage in high-performance routing, single operating-system architectures and enterprise-security leadership perhaps to grab as much market share from Cisco in switching as it did in carrier routing. Juniper took up to a third of Cisco's share in carrier routing a few years after it started up business in 1997.
Switching will be a much more daunting task, with Cisco controlling two-thirds or more of the market, and earlier this week making a major play of its own with a powerful new datacentre switch, called the Nexus 7000. Indeed, pundits refer to the Ethernet switching market as Cisco and the Seven Dwarfs.
Juniper is determined not to become the eighth dwarf by unleashing a line of switches that share a common heritage with the company's routers and NetScreen firewall and VPN products. The commonality among core and edge routers, switches and firewalls should provide consistent performance and manageability end-to-end, reducing operating costs and downtime, Juniper officials say.