Juniper 'Hurricane' in the forecast

Analyst expects wide ranging enterprise switch launch in early 2008

Industry watchers expect a "Hurricane" to hit New York in late January. That's because Jan. 29 is when Juniper Networks has scheduled a daylong event in New York City to unveil its "vision, strategy and technology innovations" for the enterprise market. And analysts expect the company to roll out its widely anticipated LAN switches with a custom ASIC they say was developed under the code-name Hurricane.

"It's a range of Ethernet switches from wiring closet/branch office (to) modular data center-class products," says Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at The Yankee Group, who was not briefed by Juniper but by channel partner sources. "I believe it's built off Marvell chips. Hurricane is the code-name for their custom ASIC that they're putting in the product. Really, that's the thing running JUNOS," Juniper's operating system.

Kerravala says the data center switches are supposed to be "100G ready," meaning he expects each slot in the modular form factors to support 100Gbps of bandwidth. Kerravala expects the 6-, 9- and 13-slot modular switches to eventually support line cards with 10 10Gbps Ethernet ports, but not at initial launch.

"The initial launch will be wiring closet only" due to product development delays, he says.

Kerravala expects the top-end switch to support 4.5Tbps of switch capacity. He also says Juniper's Hurricane switches will be comparable in price to Cisco and Foundry switches.

Though the switches are expected to emerge at the Jan. 29 event in New York, Kerravala doesn't expect first customer ship until the second or third quarter of 2008.

Juniper had no comment on the Hurricane launch. The company unveiled Carrier Ethernet switches late last year.

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