Legacy networks are under increasing strain from a deluge of traffic, as a growing number of consumers and organisations look to cloud-based systems to help run their lives and businesses more efficiently, according to Juniper Networks.
At a press summit in Alicante, the company explained that the way businesses plan network migrations will determine their cost structure, performance and scalability for years to come, and will be the make or break for many service providers.
Cloud computing is seen by many as an effective way to access enterprise-class applications and services without the costly capital expenditure, while service providers can benefit from the economies of scale thanks to the development of technologies such as virtualisation.
"Datacentres are production facilities that create and deliver networked services to customers, partners, employees and regulators," said Andy Ingram, a vice president of product marketing and business development at Juniper Networks.
"Technology determines what they can do, but economics and the market determine what they must do: improve services despite ever-shrinking budgets, for example, or cope with explosive data growth without compromising service."
However, Ingram believes that most large datacentres today are too complex and cumbersome to make effective use of the cloud computing model, particularly as they are still fundamentally designed along the classic client-server model and cannot scale to serve tens of thousands of users. The explosion in media rich applications that spread traffic across multiple specialised servers, meanwhile, is placing new demands on the network.
Although these issues are not solely the domain of datacentre networks, the high demand usually found in these environments makes them one of the first places that shortcomings become noticeable.
"Today's oversubscribed switching resources, and sprawling aggregation and core layers, are symptoms of legacy problems," said Ingram. "Most networks were originally designed to accommodate the limited throughput and port densities of an older generation of switches and routers, and the traffic volumes and patterns of client-server applications."
The ideal scenario, according to Ingram, is a centralised, virtually partitioned network that can be implemented as a "single logical switch that is physically redundant and capable of delivering high performance, low-latency, any-to-any conductivity across the datacentre for all traffic".
This ideal is what drives Juniper's Stratus project, which aims to develop a single, flat, non-blocking, lossless converged datacentre fabric that dramatically simplifies the network, and eliminates the bottlenecks currently seen in most large-scale networks.
Underway for over a year, Stratus adheres to the widely accepted Converged Enhanced Ethernet datacentre fabric specification, and is designed to support tens of thousands of Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, with exceptionally low latency, full redundancy, and tightly integrated security, virtualisation and management.
As part of this enhanced focus on datacentres, Juniper has unveiled the EX8216 Ethernet switch, a 16-slot high performance platform with a switch fabric capacity of up to 12.4TB, which is optimised for high-density 10GbE datacentre and cloud computing environments as part of the EX8200 line of modular switches.
"A single, highly scalable datacentre network makes it easier to pool server and storage resources for more effective load balancing and better utilisation, " concluded Ingram.
"It simplifies provisioning, reducing the time needed to introduce new services or execute a cycle of continuous improvement. The bottom line is compelling: better quality services delivered in less time, at lower cost."
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