Juniper's QFabric System: Questions And Converts


One Juniper solution provider firmly behind QFabric is Santa Clara, Calif.-based InterVision Systems, which has partnered with Juniper since 1999. The company sees QFabric as the next evolution in a software and converged systems approach from Juniper that logically stems from the data switching platforms it rolled out more than four years ago through the emphasis on Junos, its cross-functional network OS.

"We're very comfortable with Junos and have a lot of happy customers there," said Jason Gress, InterVision president and co-founder. "So we'd been close to the development of QFabric and, with customers, we have paved the way for the possibility they could go QFabric. We think it's going to be successful and are in the middle of testing."

As of August, InterVision had not yet completed a QFabric sale, but the company has invested about $500,000 in hardware, software and components for QFabric lab tests and to fully equip itself for explaining and demonstrating the value of the system to customers.

InterVision's bet is that QFabric ultimately will sway customers taking advantage of longer sales cycles, really putting the technology through the paces and understanding how transformative a model it can be for the next decade.

"Where we are in the sales cycle is that customers now have enough interest to take it to the next step," Gress explained. "What you see with emerging technologies like this is that a little bit of front-loading needs to take place. Remember the way Juniper rolled out its switching platforms -- there was a little bit of pensiveness, and market acceptance didn't really begin untll roughly 24 months. Now, we are very successful with their switching platform. We believe that being early adopters makes sense and that this could be very similar."

There are good channel opportunities in both the -G QFabric system and the -M QFabric system, Gress said, which InterVision views as the "major" QFabric and the "micro" QFabric.

"As a customer grows, you can scale that micro-fabric, and increase the interconnects and increase the management," said Sean McGrath, InterVision's vice president of technology and professional services. "You get a single management plane, so the whole thing operates like a single, giant entity, with a true interconnect. Oh, and it also conforms to the latest DCB [data center bridging] and SOE [standard operating environment] standards, which other vendors may or may not be able to comply with."

Gress and McGrath also like the idea of QFabric-centric data center "bundles" using technology from simpatico vendors.

"Not all customers want to standardize on Cisco," McGrath said. "So there could be a stronger play if Juniper got its business relationships together."

PUBLISHED SEPT. 4, 2012