"VCF is relatively new, and more and more of our customers are moving to a Layer 3 leaf/spine architecture within the data center," Rahim says. "Some of our largest customers are actually deploying MPLS technology in the data center and that again gives us another point of differentiation because we are leveraging our Junos software system."
QFabric's single-tier implementation "is not for everybody," Rahim acknowledges, but it does give Juniper some market differentiation.
"There are a lot of players in the industry today that talk fabrics but really as far as single tier...there's nothing else like it," he says. "More of our customers are comfortable with the two-tier approach than a one-tier approach, but the one-tier really give us a point of differentiation right now in the industry."
That differentiation comes down to the silicon that powers Juniper routers and switches as well. There's been speculation that QFabric, which is based on merchant silicon, might attain a custom Juniper ASIC in a follow on generation, like the programmable ONE/Trio ASICs in the company's EX9200 switch and MX routers.
Rahim downplayed that possibility.
"There's a place for merchant silicon and for custom silicon across all of our product lines," he said, "especially in switching. The programmability and high scale in our own silicon technology can add a tremendous amount of differentiation. But the key is to not reinvent something that already exists and we can buy off-the-shelf. We don't need programmability in QFabric, which is designed for high scale and low latency. Programmability will sit at the edge of a QFabric."
Rahim says Juniper's current switching lineup, highlighted by the EX9200 and QFX5100, address a "very large segment" of the enterprise and service provider private, hybrid and public cloud data center market, and this is what helped the company grow its switching business 46% in the first quarter.
Juniper's experience in data center fabric and automation technologies also catalyzed that growth, and helped win business in AT&T's Domain 2.0 SDN project and with global bank UBS, he says. In the AT&T win, Juniper worked with the carrier in a DevOps model to align software development with operations and then quickly cut over to production mode.
In SDNs, Rahim says Juniper has 20 paying enterprise and service provider customers for its Contrail SDN controller, including CloudDynamics and CyberPort, and 1,300 downloads of its OpenContrail open source SDN controller.
Juniper is also paring its product line as part of the IOP. The company recently allied with Aruba Networks for wireless LAN integration with Juniper switches, and for joint development and marketing, a development some see as an eventual exit from internal WLAN development based on Juniper's 2010 acquisition of Trapeze Networks.
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