Juniper Networks is rolling out a new line of Ethernet switches aimed at helping enterprises deal with the increasing demand for better and faster access to cloud services and applications such as unified communications and virtual desktop infrastructures.
Juniper's new EX4600 switches, announced Aug. 13, are open and scalable, and offer high performance in a small and cost-effective form factor, according to company officials. The switches also leverage Juniper's Open Converged Framework (OCF), an approach to networking introduced by the company in June that calls for using open, published interfaces to enable the convergence of wired and wireless networks from different vendors.
OCF, which is part of Juniper's larger push around what officials call the "high-IQ enterprise network," is driven by the rapidly changing data center environment, where organizations must be able to manage a more mobile workforce, a rapidly growing number of mobile devices demand access to the network and the new types of applications that are running across them. The EX4600 switches are designed to handle the higher density in campus environments, according to company officials.
"IT organizations are concerned about having sufficient switching performance to support increasing access to applications in the cloud from the campus," Michael Leonard, senior technical market manager for data center and cloud computing at Juniper, wrote in a post on the company blog. "They need to support diverse devices for the current BYOD [bring-your-own-device] trend as well as support the demands of services like VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure], the growing use of wireless access and unified communications."
As they scale their networks, businesses need to address such concerns as security, connectivity and bandwidth, and do so with limited IT staff and money, despite increasing and changing network usage patterns, Leonard wrote.
The EX4600 Ethernet switches support Juniper's Virtual Chassis technology, which enables organizations to view up to 10 interconnected switches as a single device that is managed through a common interface by the vendor's Junos Space Network Director. The switches also are small—1U (1.75 inches)—which means they can fit into a number of different environments, and include such high-availability features as active and backup routing engines, graceful failover and quality-of-service capabilities. They also support automated provisioning and advanced analytics, company officials said.