I was intrigued and excited about the Junipers announcement last week of QFabric. I was vaguely aware of TRILL and Cisco implementation (Fabric Path), but came to the table (so to speak) with no pre-conceptions of what I might expect.
SCI-FI – Is this just me?
Is the Q in QFabric taken from sci-fi TV ? I canít help but wonder if the Q in QFabric is taken from Star Trek the Next Generation where Q appeared in the first show of the first season as the omnipotent life in control of everything and can transport anyone, anything anywhere in an instant (Interconnect). There is also a Borg like undertone of all these independent units(Nodes) acting as a single entity, under the control of the Borg Queen (Director). The qfx3500 being the drones (decision engines) which can adapt to Fibre Channel or Ethernet with the correct attachment.
Okay maybe it’s just me.
Standout Points for Me
There are two things that really jump out of the announcement.
- QFabric implements virtual Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks to support multiple tenants each running multi-tier applications
- Single logical device: Despite its distributed implementation, QFabric acts as a single logical packet switching device.
QFabric implements virtual Layer 2 and Layer 3
During the announcement packet forwarding was described in such terms that you make a decision once about the destination for packet, not at each junction on network. If you could build out a datacentre using this QFabric and still have the ability to subdivide the network at layer 3 whilst taking full advantage of the low latency high bandwidth transport across your datacentre, then this is truly exciting.
I have to say I would be very surprised if this is in fact a case because the companies who do divide the network into service zones generally protect these with at least some access control list or perhaps even firewalls. †I just canít see how Juniper could maintain the low latency forwarding while performing these functions across the entire Fabric. I could imaging within a Node (Edge Device) doing inter VLAN routing, but not routing (packet switching ) to a† VLAN on another Node.
Single Logical Device
I just hope when Juniper say single logical device, they actually mean the network as a single entity and not just a bunch of independent network devices being viewed through a GUI to make them look like a single entity.
There edge nodes described QFX3500 during announcements seem to be fairly independent devices therefore what changes when they are tied into the QFabric, letís hope they become fully integrated into the fabric.
There were two key points on the Q fabric announcements that got me excited, Layer 3 and Single and Management instance, I just hope the ìsales talkî in the announcement does deliver on a technical level and that my excitement based on this does not turn into disappointment.