Julien Goodwin
Thoughts on Juniper's new switch introductions 
3rd-Oct-2011 02:22 am
southpark cartoon
So Juniper have released new switches, what's my view?

Lets go from small to large.

That means starting off with the EX2200-C, a 14-port Gig-e switch, with the last two ports being copper / SFP combo. Fanless and with an optional 100W of PoE this promises to be a wonderful access switch, with its only real disappointment being the lack of a model with 10g uplinks, most likely not done to avoid cannibalizing sales of the higher end when used as 10g fanout switches (at this point the cost of the chips would be minimal, although overall integration might still have increased the cost too much). It even does "enterprise" routing (ie, OSPF & RIP, but no IS-IS or BGP, no dynamic routing of IPv6 either). This would be a wonderful replacement to the switch running my home network in Melbourne (a generic Chinese brand 12-port PoE switch), and if the price (and shipping time) is right I may well put one in there. If the price is exceptional I might even grab one for my place in Sydney, not that I currently use any copper ports at all here.

Next up the chain is the EX3300 series, essentially a simple upgrade of the EX3200, just with four 1/10g combo SFP+ uplinks. The hardware looks wonderful, but the software is the problem here with it using the EX2200 line, not the EX3200/4200 line, so again no v6 dynamic routing or BGP. Also at only 8k routes and 4k ARP entries this is a shrink from the 3200. So if you only need L2 this could be great, but buying an L3 switch that can't do IPv6 (in a useful way) in 2011 is beyond stupid, no matter how much you might not care about IPv6 today. The real curve ball here is integrating Juniper's VC stacking, albeit in the slower version using 10g ports and limited to six switches at maximum. I'm not so sure how useful this is once the software limitations start hitting. The real test will be if Juniper allow these to be used as Qfabric management switches.

Finally, there's the switch that makes no sense to me, the EX6200, which seems to simply be a cheaper build EX8208 with PoE support. It *is* more then that, really targeted as a Cisco Catalyst 4500 replacement. Again the lack of 10g is strange, with only the fabric / control modules having any. There isn't even a 4x 10g line card (at least for now), or any line cards other then 48-port gig-e. Again this is aimed at "enterprise" (and access at that) with similar shrunk limits from the original EX line. Even the software is still neutered, with BGP, IS-IS and IPv6 simply listed as "roadmap" features, making this useless for many.

So in short one nice compact access switch, one nice 1ru switch let down by software, and one chassis switch let down by lack of 10g and software.
12th-Oct-2011 03:00 pm (UTC) - Fanless and 10GE
Re the EX2200-C, the lack of 10GE is more likely to be the design issue of removing the much larger heat load from a fanless chassis than any marketing concerns. It's not impossible, but the cost of the amount of heatsinking required for the occasional 10GE purchaser would undermine their GbE pricing.

Cheers, Glen Turner
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