Battle for the datacentre

24 Feb 2011

You have to applaud Cisco for putting up a good front. It issued a spoiler press release just before Juniper Networks announced one of its biggest technology pushes aimed at datacentre switching called Project Stratus.

The phrase used by Juniper Networks to describe the result of its new switching technology, called QFabric, is the "flattening" of the datacentre.

No doubt it also hopes to flatten Cisco’s lead in the datacentre switching market.

Flattening is the process through which Juniper's new technology will replace the tiered switching infrastructure in datacentres with its own technology, which disaggregates the standard data, control and interconnect planes into a distributed system offering 10Gbit/s any-to-any network connections.

Juniper Networks is promising faster throughput, lower latency, much better manageability, lower power consumption, savings on datacentre space, and big cost savings.

And, just so you know, the Cisco press release was about how "Cisco demonstrates leadership in scalable, cloud-ready virtualised data centers with customer and technology milestones".

The next day, Cisco put out another release questioning Juniper’s credentials on interoperability, which is a bit rich coming from the company with a reputation for proprietary technology. Is it April 1st?

OK, so spoilers are industry standard practice – witness, for example, Microsoft commissioning an ad in USA Today questioning the cost to firms of VMware's virtualisation technology before VMware’s VMworld event last year.

But the question stands. Can Juniper Networks put a dent in Cisco’s datacentre Unified Computing System?

Then again, how many people predicted Nokia would end up where it is now, seriously lagging behind Android and iPhone?

Cisco has just appointed a new chief operating officer, Gary Moore, who is one of the people who’ll be looking at the QFabric datasheet specifications in clinical detail.

Sadly, another Gary Moore, the rock and blues guitar meister, died earlier this year.

Moore the guitarist released many fantastic records, including the track Empty Rooms on the album Victims of the Future.

Cisco's Moore will undoubtedly be hoping that its datacentres aren't the empty rooms that are victims of the future.

Dave Bailey, Reviews Editor, Computing

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