Dell is going to OEM Juniper networking gear as well as Brocade's, because of Juniper's superiority in wide area networking and security.
It is going to take certain models of Juniper's MX Series services routers, EX Series Ethernet switches and SRX Series services gateways, all of which run Junos software. Dell will supply them as PowerConnect J-Series products, complementing its existing Brocade-based PowerConnect B-Series products, which include Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches and FCoE CNAs (Converged Network Adapters). Dell will also use Juniper's network management product.
Brad Anderson, Dell's senior vp for its Enterprise Product Group, said the Juniper agreement will help Dell "address many of our customer’s biggest challenges, including a dramatic rise in security concerns, an increasingly dispersed workforce and challenges brought on with the advent of the virtualised data centre.”
The background is the move to unified data centres, featuring virtualised servers and network fabric converged into Ethernet, which carries WAN and LAN traffic as well as storage networking traffic, currently sent via Fibre Channel cables and switches. The convergence onto Ethernet and use of virtualised servers and storage will help make data centres easier to implement and operate and increase their efficiency. This will help as organisations move to a cloud-like IT service model, where services are provisioned on demand and dynamically.
In response to this, Cisco and server/systems companies such as Dell, HP, IBM and Oracle/Sun are building integrated stacks of servers, networking and storage gear. Dell is using open standards to interconnect its stack components, as it believes many customers may still want to buy component layers of their unified data centres separately, rather than as a single all-in-one stack from a one-stop-shop.
Why Juniper? Larry Hart, Dell's senior manager for storage and networking, said: "We believe Juniper is a leader in WAN and security."
Broadly speaking, Juniper makes networking gear with bigger and faster switches than Brocade. Its products have been used, for example, by the New York Stock Exchange for backbone networking.
Juniper has a market capitalisation of $13bn versus Brocade's $3.2bn. It does not have an FCoE range but there is an overlap with Brocade in the Ethernet chassis area. Dell says it can offer complete IT for the virtualised data centre through the Juniper technology, including application mobility for disparate data centres and Ethernet Virtual Chassis technology. The Brocade technology will be used for FCoE applications "that will interoperate with legacy Fibre Channel SANs and provide customers with a transition to iSCSI."