Facebook offering network switches?

Cat5 CableWell, maybe not Facebook, itself, but with the community it has spawned.

The news is sparking again with SDN buzz, as Facebook’s OCP project (Open Compute Project) has signed up a network hardware manufacturer to build and sell the ‘Wedge’, as Facebook calls it. The Wedge started as a design idea built on an open-source community to build and weave different pieces of hardware to accomplish a task. It could be a web server, or, as you may have guessed, a network switch, with SDN being a core-concept in it’s use. As such, specific software-defined interfaces are built into the design.

On December 3, 2014, Juniper announced it’s plans for a new product built on the OCP platform, and tied into it’s Junos Operating System. The product is called OCX1100, and is the first commercially-available switch (and possibly the first switch of it’s kind) to be offered to customers. With the 6 40GbE ports available on it, it seems to put this switch in the top-of-rack, along with the 48 10GbE ports and a max throughput of 1.44Tbps. While Juniper is working with Alpha Networks, based in Taiwan, to design and manufacture the device, Juniper will support the device 100% from J-TAC.

Some specs on the OCX1100:

  • 48–1GbE/10GbE SFP/SSFP+ ports; 6 40GbE QFP+ ports
  • Fixed Form-Factor
  • 1+1 Hot-Swappable Power Supply Redundancy
  • 4 Hot-Swappable Cooling Fans (reversible flow)
Juniper OCX1100 (click to enlarge)

Juniper OCX1100 (click to enlarge)

And because it’s running the Junos OS, customers can enjoy the usual benefits and protocols that the operating system has to offer, including Chef, Puppet, Ansible, and full L2/L3 Protocol support.

No doubt, Cisco is not going to like this. With their recent lawsuit with Arista, this is going to be one more thorn in their side. Will it topple the networking behemoth? Certainly not. But it will cause a few heads to turn, and dent their revenue in the years to come. But, this should not be a surprise, as “White-box networking” has been forecasted for some time now. What that means, is that a network device would function the same, regardless of manufacturer.  Juniper is just the first to join in. The OCX 1100 is planned for availability for 1Q2015, but I have not received pricing yet.

Plus, it just looks pretty, going for the minimalist artisan design and the modern bland color.

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