Data center-class switches: A buyer's guide
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Editor's note: This product overview is part of a series on data center-class switches and what to look for when getting ready to purchase them. This vendor-specific overview provides additional information about the features of Juniper's EX9200 series of data center-class switches (based on Juniper's MX series) for enterprises and service providers.
The Juniper EX9200 series is a family of data center-class switches designed for enterprise and service provider IT environments, especially those with large amounts of virtualization and cloud applications. The EX9200 series shares the Juniper ONE programmable application-specific integrated chip, which allows Juniper to add support for networking protocols such as virtual extensible LAN and network virtualization using generic routing.
The EX9200 series has three models: the 9214, 9208 and 9204, with 14, eight and four slots, respectively. The three models can be used by enterprise and service provider environments. All three models provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching capability and support for Juniper's MetaFabric architecture. The switch series also integrates with VMware's NSX controllers and is ready for software-defined networking (SDN) with support for technologies like OpenStack.
The EX9214 is Juniper's flagship data center-class switch. With 14 slots, 11 are usable for line cards (12 are usable if fabric redundancy is disabled). The switch supports up to 20 100 GbE ports, 48 40 GbE ports or 320 10 GbE ports. The EX9214 has up to 260 Gbps throughput per slot and a maximum backplane switching capacity of about 13.2 terabits per second (Tbps). It stands 16 rack-units (RU) tall and can have a data rate as high as 240 Gbps, depending on which line cards are chosen.
The Juniper EX9208 model has eight slots, five of which are available for line cards. It supports up to 10 100 GbE ports, 24 40 GbE ports or 160 10 GbE ports. It has a per-slot throughput of up to 260 Gbps and a maximum backplane switching capacity of 9.6 Tbps. The switch is eight RU tall, and like the EX9214, it can have a maximum data rate of up to 240 Gbps, depending on which line cards are installed.
The EX9204 is the smallest offering in the Juniper EX9200 series. It has four line card slots, of which two are available for line cards (three are available if fabric redundancy is disabled). It supports up to six 100 GbE ports, 12 40 GbE ports and 96 10 GbE ports. Like the other switches, the EX9204 has up to 260 Gbps throughput per slot. It has a maximum backplane capacity of 3.2 Tbps, and stands five RU tall.
All three switches run on Juniper's Junos operating system (OS), which comes with features including support for the MetaFabric architecture and OpenStack, which makes the EX9200 series SDN-ready.
In addition, the Junos OS has the Graceful Routing Engine Switchover feature, which enables a routing platform with multiple redundant routing engines to remain in service and to continue forwarding packets in the event of an engine failure. The routing engines run on quad-core 1.73 GHz processors, use 16 GB of memory, and have dual 32 GB solid-state drives for storing OS images and logs.
Pricing and support
Pricing for the Juniper EX9200 series is highly dependent on configuration, but a standard, fully configured EX9214 should cost about $100,000. A standard EX9214 bare chassis with multiple routing engine modules costs about $70,000. A standard EX9208 bare chassis costs about $40,000, and a standard EX9204 chassis can cost from $20,000 to $40,000.
In addition to the standard one-year manufacturer's warranty, Juniper offers the separately purchased Juniper Care and Juniper Care Plus support plans. Juniper Care offers features that include 24/7 technical assistance access, software release access, hardware replacement options, online support and more.
Juniper Care Plus offers all the features of the base Juniper Care plan but includes more features for learning and a more extensive knowledge base. Juniper Care Plus also allows the user to request an on-site technician for an additional fee.
Users with technical issues can create a customer service case in one of four tiers: Priority 1 -- Critical, Priority 2 -- High, Priority 3 -- Medium, or Priority 4 -- Low. Critical cases have a response time of about one to four hours; high-priority cases have a response time of 12 to 96 hours; medium-priority cases have a response time of 15 days; low-priority cases have a response time of 30 days. Users can escalate cases if necessary.