Page 2 of 3
Juniper has tried several moves already to boost QFabric's momentum with Juniper's channel partners, including the introduction of a midmarket-centric QFabric -- an overall cheaper package, with a different interconnect device and less firepower -- in June. The EMC alliance is another step in that effort, executives explained, because it formalizes the good fit between EMC and Juniper products many solution providers already know about.
Juniper didn't provide numbers on how many of its solution providers also partner with EMC, but the majority of those targeted partners with which Juniper is working intensively on QFabric have storage practices, Juniper's Pataky said.
In a previous interview, Juniper executives told CRN that fewer than 10 solution providers sell the G-level QFabric, but that Juniper has more than 450 Select- and Elite-level partners certified to sell its data center products and that about 80 partners sell the end-to-end servers, storage and networking portfolio.
Earlier this year, Juniper's channel teams began aggressively marketing QFabric through those partners, including a select group of 30 Juniper partners to which it provided advanced sales and technical training around the systems. That work has gone well, Pataky said, adding that Juniper and EMC would lean on distributors like Arrow to help partners move the needle on QFabric, as well.
"If you go into a customer and have an architectural point of view backed up by great products and technologies, you've earned the right to have a different conversation with that customer," Pataky said. "We see this as opening up a massive opportunity around other areas like data center security. These can be much bigger than just switch fulfillment implementations."
Juniper will also be looking to expand its strategic relationships with other storage providers, including IBM, with which it quietly completed interoperability testing several months ago, Juniper's Dasgupta said. Juniper declined to name other potential storage partners.
Top Juniper partners agreed that the uptake of QFX switches has been strong and that overall QFabric adoption will be a slower, more deliberate process that'll pay bigger dividends in the long term.
"It's a big commitment, and it is complex, moving from a tiered system to a single switch in the data center," said Peter Jansson, senior system engineer at IGX Global, a Juniper Elite partner based in Rocky Hill, Ct. "In some cases in a QFabric deployment you're [addressing] 6,000 10-gig ports, and some data center architects do get scared by the sheer size of the numbers. But the response on the [M-level] micro-fabric in particular has been quite interesting and is definitely opening a lot of doors."
Jansson agreed with Pataky's assessment that the QFabric concept was a door-opener for customers looking to invest more strategically in data center assets.
"What we've been able to do is have quite in-depth conversations with our clients, especially when they're going from 1-gig server-attached architecture to virtualized 10-gig architecture and blade chassis," Jansson said. "It's something we believe in from a data center architecture point of view. It's a slow process, for sure. But the customers who have deployed the QFX-3500 in its initial stage, we've found, are very keen to explore what sort of solution the full Fabric can offer."
NEXT: Does Juniper Threaten EMC's Cisco Relationship?