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Juniper adds core campus switch to EX series

Juniper has added to the EX series a core aggregation switch for companies that need less scale than the EX9000. The compact EX4650 campus switch supports the EVPN and VXLAN protocols

Juniper Networks has added to its EX series a core aggregation switch aimed at enterprises with campus networks that are too small for the company's EX9000 line.

Like the EX9000 series, the EX4650 -- a compact 25/100 GbE switch -- uses network protocols typically found in the data center. As a result, the same engineering team can manage the data center and the campus.

"If an enterprise has a consistent architecture and common protocols across networks, it should be well-placed to achieve operational efficiencies across the board," said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC.

The network protocols used in the EX4650 and EX9000 are the Ethernet VPN (EVPN) and the Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN). EVPN secures multi-tenancy environments in a data center. Engineers typically use it with the Border Gateway Protocol and the VXLAN encapsulation protocol. The latter creates an overlay network on an existing Layer 3 infrastructure.

Offering a common set of protocols lets Juniper target its campus switches at data center customers, Casemore said. "That's a less resistant path than trying to displace other vendors in both the data center and the campus."

Juniper released the EX4650 four months after releasing two multigigabit campus switches, the EX2300 and EX4300. Juniper also released in February a cloud-based dashboard, called Sky Enterprise, for provisioning and configuring Juniper's campus switches and firewalls.

Juniper rivals Arista and Cisco are also focused on the campus market. In May, Arista extended its data center switching portfolio to the campus LAN with the introduction of the 7300X3 and 7050X3 spline switches. Cisco, on the other hand, has been building out a software-controlled infrastructure for the campus network, centered around a management console called the Digital Network Architecture (DNA) Center.

EX4650 switch
Juniper Networks' EX4650 core aggregation switch for the campus

SD-WAN upgrade

Along with introducing the EX4650, Juniper unveiled this week improvements within its software-defined WAN for the campus. Companies can use Juniper's Contrail Service Orchestration technology to prioritize specific application traffic traveling through the SD-WAN. The capability supports more than 3,700 applications, including Microsoft's Outlook, SharePoint and Skype for Business, Juniper said.

Juniper runs its SD-WAN as a feature within the company's NFX Network Services Platform, which also includes the Contrail orchestration software and Juniper's SRX Series Services Gateways. The latter contains the vSRX virtual firewall, IP VPN, content filtering and threat management.

Juniper has added to the NFX platform support for active-active clustering, which is the ability to spread a workload across NFX hardware. NFX runs its software on a Linux server.

The clustering feature will improve the reliability of the LTE, broadband and MPLS connections typically attached to an SD-WAN, Juniper said.

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What benefits do you see in having the EVPN and VXLAN protocols in a campus switch?
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