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Juniper decouples SDN switch from Junos operating system

This week, software-defined networking bloggers explore Juniper's decoupled QFX5200 switch, the basics of VXLAN and how Cisco's APIC-EM system lets users ease into SDN.

As we discussed in a previous round-up of SDN blog posts, Juniper is decoupling its QFX5200 switch from the Junos operating system (OS), and now another blogger is weighing in on the news. In a recent post, Packet Pushers' Drew Conry-Murray shared his thoughts, saying that Juniper is trying to stay competitive as white-box switches and disaggregated operating systems become more popular. Such offerings are already available from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Big Switch Networks Inc., Cumulus Networks, Dell, Pluribus Networks and others.

Juniper customers will have the option of loading a third-party OS onto the QFX5200 SDN switch using Open Network Install Environment, a boot loader for bare-metal switches. The Junos OS will also function on third-party switches. So far, however, Juniper has not announced which operating systems the QFX5200 SDN switch will support or what third-party hardware will be able to use Junos.

Conry-Murray also notes that the new QFX5200 SDN switch series, based on Broadcom's Tomahawk chip, will support 25 and 50 Gigabit Ethernet.

Read more from Conry-Murray.

What's VXLAN all about?

Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) basics take center stage in a recent webcast from blogger Ivan Pepelnjak. In the introduction to the technology, Pepelnjak says VXLAN addresses the need for virtual segmentation when it comes to implementing virtualized applications in hyperscale environments. A large public cloud, for example, must provide each individual tenant with its own segmented logical network. Ideally, he says, segmentation should support firewalls, load balancing and Layer 2 and Layer 3 connectivity within an individual segment and between segments.

Pepelnjak explains that engineers traditionally met virtual segmentation needs with virtual LANs (VLANs), but they didn't scale well in extremely large environments. VLANs only allow for about 4,000 network IDs at any given time. VXLAN uses a 24-bit segment identifier to expand the VLAN, allowing 16 million segments to co-exist on a shared Layer 3 infrastructure.

Listen to Pepelnjak's webcast. 

Low-risk SDN deployment with Cisco APIC-EM

Dan Conde, an analyst with ESG Global in Milford, Mass., recently explored Cisco's Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module (APIC-EM), saying the platform offers a "low-risk, incremental approach to adopting SDN" in the WAN and access networks. According to Cisco, the APIC-EM -- which became widely available in November -- can run on existing network infrastructure and requires no investment in new hardware.

The SDN controller's applications automate deployment and control of WANs, campus networks and access networks sharing a policy framework with ACI in the data center. In Conde's view, APIC-EM helps meet enterprises' need for end-to-end consistency in network policy implementation.

Read more of Conde's thoughts on APIC-EM.

Next Steps

Exploring Juniper's ToR switches

Understanding VXLAN

Cisco's APIC controllers reach beyond the data center to campus and branch networks

Dig Deeper on Software-defined networking