Juniper makes new switch based on OpenCompute hardware
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December 9, 2014
So-called 'white box' switches are generally identified to be a form of a threat to traditional
network vendors, because server-based network appliances can't attract the same premium prices as
dedicated networking devices.
But now Juniper appears to be taking the next step, simply because the struggling manufacturer
has announced a switch based on OpenCompute hardware.
To be sure, the OCX-1100 is due to arrive in 2015's first quarter and is dubbed as an “open, cost-effective,
disaggregated switching platform”.
The new switch will run Junos OS so it should behave like any other Juniper device. Juniper's logic
is that network operators of exceptionally large data centres are keen on the concept of white box
switches but aren't happy with the prospect of building them from the ground up as hyperscale operators
Building a Juniper appliance on OCF hardware, basically servers tuned to the needs of specific workloads,
is seen as a nice half-way house-- not an expensive like proprietary network hardware but not an exotic new
thing to integrate into a data centre.
Juniper is also making much of the fact that Junos OS is a known quantity among carriers and
other large-scale ISPs and operators.
Other white box switches and alternatives like Dell switches will struggle to make competing and similar
The device Juniper plans to use will be an OCF-approved design designed and built by Alpha Networks.
Juniper's secured quotes from the likes of VMware and IDC saying how clever it is to pursue this path.
Analyst Forrester, however, has named Juniper as a vendor it thinks might be unhelpfully distracted by
white box networking.
There's not enough detail on offer about the OCX-1100 to assess whether it will be attractive to its
target market or help Juniper's bottom line.
The company is getting more and more into the software-defined business. Whether that counts for
something is very much to be observed in the coming year. We'll keep you posted.
Source: Juniper Networks.
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