Juniper switch enables mega-router creation

TX Matrix Plus can unite core routers into a higher-density, more scalable system

Juniper this week is unveiling a matrix switch for interconnecting core routers into a higher density, more scalable system.

The TX Matrix Plus is designed to enable service providers to unite up to 16 Juniper T1600 core routers into a single 25Tbps system. It can also work with the company's Juniper Control System (JCS) 1200 to allow the virtualization of routing systems, networks and services to create efficiencies by consolidating networks, services and functionality, Juniper says.

The JCS 1200 is a separate modular chassis that makes it possible to scale the control plane hardware totally independent of the forwarding plane hardware. This means that as new services are added to networks, enough control-plane processing can be added so the new service doesn't slow down existing ones on the routers.

Juniper says the JCS adds hardware-based service virtualization to the T Matrix Plus multichassis cluster. Virtualization allows service providers to increase efficiency and reduce costs by sharing and consolidating resources.

But virtualization in core networks is more challenging than that in data centers due to regulatory, operational, organizational and security issues, Juniper says. With the TX Matrix Plus and JCS 1200, Juniper core routers can be partitioned--on a per slot basis--into virtual routers, each of which might represent services or network element types, and which can share resources such as interconnecting links and uplinks.

This helps service providers maintain the levels of administrative and service-specific separation, security and management, Juniper says. They can also introduce new services on their existing infrastructure, while still managing each network and service individually.

"Virtualization in edge and core routers previously was done in software," says Eve Griliches, an analyst at IDC. "And there have been lots of concerns about security because when you're using BGP for virtualization, you can expose what all of the roters are in the network. By doing hardware virtualization, you're carving out memory and slot [capacity] where's there's absolutely no way" for exposure.

Griliches says Juniper rival Cisco employs both hardware and software-based virtualization on its CRS-1 core routers.

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