Juniper claims leap in performance with Trio


The one thing that can be counted on in the network industry is the power and capacity of infrastructure devices never stops growing.

Juniper Networks Inc. is the latest manufacturer to prove that by claiming a significant leap in performance with its new Trio chipset, around which it will build routers and line cards for service providers and enterprises to support more bandwidth, subscribers and services.

It also announced Thursday an open attitude towards its Junos operating system by creating a development platform called Junos Space, around which developers and partners can build applications, and Junos Pulse, an endpoint client that unites the company’s existing separate enterprise access controls, remote SSL VPN access and WAN acceleration clients.

As evidence of its willingness to open its operating system, Juniper has inked a software licensing partnership with Blade Network Technologies, which will develop future blade switches based on the Junos.

Finally, the company outlined what it called a “cloud-ready data centre initiative,” which expanded previous solutions to help enterprises and service providers simplify their network infrastructures while allowing them to deliver cloud services.

The result, said company CEO Kevin Johnson told reporters and industry analysts in New York, will be “new and better experiences for our customers, new solutions for our customers [and] the opportunity to innovate in new business models and revenue sources.”

The Trio chipsets will be integrated into routers and line cards for Juniper’s MX series of routers to be released starting next month.

However, one industry analyst found gaps in the company’s strategy.

“The vision of what they outlined is interesting,” said Zeus Kerravala, senior vice-president of enterprise research at Yankee Group.

“But except for the Trio ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) , which is more of a carrier product, the details behind what they were doing was missing. The stuff around Junos Space is interesting – being able to use the network as a development platform. But the applications they showed off were the ones they [Juniper] built. So where are the third party developers?”

As for Juniper’s data centre strategy, Kerravala said he agrees the network is the heart of virtualization but found a lack of detail frustrating.

There were also unanswered questions about Juniper would leverage these new approaches in its wireless strategy for LANs and carriers, he added.

One of the problems Juniper faces is its size, Kerravala said: It’s a mid-size company that needs to grow, but isn’t large enough to buy competitors it needs to fill in gaps in its product lines.

For Kerravala, the company is still too narrowly focused to challenge network leader Cisco Systems Inc.

Pradeep Sindhu, Juniper’s vice-chair, founder and chief technology officer, said the new Trio chipset is the “single most significant advance in the history of networking silicon” since Juniper released its first ASIC.

Composed of four segments (a lookup engine, a memory engine, a queing engine and an interface engine), the 1.2 billion transistor chip offers 604 Gigabits per second of I/O performace. On a suitable Juniper router, the entire library of the U.S. Congress could be downloaded in less than a minute, he said.

New line cards and routers using the technology can process two to four times more traffic than the competition – up to 2.6 terabits per second – while using half as much power per gigabit, the company said.

What makes the chipset unique, is that customers can “tune” its performance through Junos to their bandwidth, subscriber and services needs over time.

In December the Trio chip will appear in first in the MX 3D Aggregation Line Card, a 120 Gbps card with 10GE density for aggregation, video distribution, data center and edge routing for Juniper’s MX 960/480/240 routers.

After that there will be two more cards, the MX 3D Universal Edge Line Card; and the MX 3D 100GbE Line Card, for edge uplink, inter-data centre and high-bandwidth aggregation.

Next year will also see fixed and modular MX80 Series 3D routers, the company’s smallest routing switch which is said to be eight times as fast as competing routers. They are designed for delivering carrier Ethernet services for multi-tenant buildings, as well as mobile aggregation, video and enterprise edge deployments.

With Trio, “we can support hundreds of thousands of subscribers on 100GB access ports,” said Tim Lambie, vice-president for Americas said in an interview, “providing all of the features and more that we’ve provided in the past in terms of allowing multiple queues for customers and enhancing our world-class platform through both functionality and bandwidth.”

Pricing was not announced, but Juniper claims a substantial total cost of ownership saving and lower operating costs than competing products.

The new applications for cloud services on Juniper SRX series services gateways include AppSecure, a suite of tools designed to provide visibility and control over access to applications running in cloud-ready data centres, including an AppDOS service that protects cloud users from the growing threat of botnet-based denial-of-service attacks.

The Junos Space development platform, which starts at US$15,000, ships with three applications: Ethernet Activator, which enables customers to quickly create and activate services, including activation of VPN services; Route Analyzer, which provides DVR-like recording and playback capability to plan, simulate and troubleshoot MPLS networks; and Service Now, which speeds resolution of service issues by having Juniper systems “call” Juniper support experts with troubleshooting data and details, said to save time for service technicians.

By creating the unified Junos Pulse client, Juniper hopes to make things more secure for network managers. Pulse will support the Trusted Network Connect (TNC) open standards and specifications, promising seamless migration between remote and local access while interoperating with third-party network and security devices. Pulse will be available in first half 2010. Pricing will be consistent with the concurrent user pricing of Juniper’s SSL VPN and UAC products, the company said.


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