Juniper Networks has unveiled a new architecture for data centres that is aimed at making infrastructure more dynamic in response to changing business requirements, while also pulling together multiple data centre sites and public cloud services into a seamless whole.
Announced today, Juniper's MetaFabric is as much of a vision for how the firm sees networks and data centre infrastructure moving forward as it is about new products and services. It pulls together existing Juniper products such as its Contrail software defined networking (SDN) controller with new switches and routers, plus a reference architecture and professional services to help organisations implement it.
Brett Ley, Juniper's EMEA director of data centre solutions, told V3 that MetaFabric is intended to address the challenges organisations face with existing data centre technologies.
"It's difficult for customers with traditional architectures to keep up with ever changing technologies and deploy new services to market in a timely fashion. They don't support a dynamic environment able to drive virtualisation at scale across the data centre in order to turn on applications and services, either within the company or an eternal public cloud," he said.
MetaFabric is about breaking down some of those barriers and turning the network into an enabler for more dynamic delivery of applications and services.
However, the firm claimed it is also an open approach, using open APIs and interfaces to integrate into heterogeneous environments. As an example, Ley said that Juniper Networks Contrail SDN now supports VMware-based infrastructure, and that MetaFabric allows customers to connect Juniper systems directly to OpenStack and CloudStack orchestration platforms.
As if to drive this home, Juniper released MetaFabric Reference Architecture 1.0, a reference model to provide real-world guidance for customers and partners deploying a VMware virtualised data centre.
"It's not just a Juniper best practice reference architecture model, it has been drawn up in conjunction with EMC and VMware for storage and virtualisation, with IBM from a compute perspective, and validated application deployments with Microsoft over the top of the environment," Ley said.
Juniper announced new hardware to form building blocks for MetaFabric, including the QFX5100 family of 10Gbps and 40Gbps top-of-rack Layer 2 and Layer 3 network switches optimised for virtualised environments, available in three versions, one with up to 96 ports (pictured).
The firm's MX Series of Edge routers now have enhanced capabilities to serve as universal SDN gateways and support for Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which enables customers to connect a group of sites using a Layer 2 virtual bridge.
Juniper also announced Junos Space Network Director v1.5, an update of its network management tool that provides enhanced data centre fabric visualisation, covering both physical and virtual infrastructure, Ley said.
The final piece of the puzzle is MetaFabric Professional Services, which Juniper will offer with key partners to help customers design and implement more flexible network infrastructure, as well as help them to migrate from older technology.
Summing up the new initiative, Ley said that the MetaFabric architecture is essentially about being open, simple and smart: "Customers can integrate with a broad array of hardware and software solutions from Juniper or other vendors with the assurance of interoperability and minimal disruption," he claimed.
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