All Signs Point To Juniper Stratus Debut Wednesday

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 09:57 -- Chad Mize

Juniper's next-generation data center fabric, under development for several years as Project Stratus, appears ready for lift-off.

Juniper won't confirm one way or another, but the company has planned a media event for Wednesday in San Francisco for which it's advertising that "the world's first true data center fabric is coming." Responding to a request by CRN, Juniper representatives pointed to the event but declined to provide additional details.

Several sources have reported Stratus' arrival as imminent, and on Feb. 15, a report in Network World cited unnamed sources who confirmed Stratus would indeed launch this week. Network World's sources indicated that the Stratus portfolio would include 10-Gigabit Ethernet top-of-rack and core switches, as well as Juniper's first 40-Gigabit Ethernet products.

It will also be "radically different" than the fabric approaches from Juniper competitors like Cisco (NSDQ:CSCO) and Brocade, the sources noted. Additionally, IBM (NYSE:IBM), which was a partner with Juniper on the Stratus project and is tightly aligned with Juniper in the enterprise, is said to have had limited involvement in the end products.

The project itself has been in development since at least early 2008 -- conceived as a "flat fabric" for lossless switching that's optimized for cloud computing environments. In February 2009, Juniper offered some initial details of Stratus, promising a "quantum jump in scale, performance and simplicity, with the flexibility to support fully converged and virtualized data center environments."

Juniper has continued to tout Stratus and update its data center product portfolio since. CEO Kevin Johnson and other executives have in the past year continued to reiterate a 2011 launch, and on Juniper's fiscal Q4 earnings call in January, Johnson said Juniper had shipped a beta version of Stratus to a service provider customer.

Johnson added that Juniper expects Stratus and Juniper's recently released Project Falcon to show up in Juniper's revenue by the second half of its fiscal 2011.

Juniper's data networking competitors are gearing up for Stratus' launch as well. Avaya, for example, this week made several product updates behind VENA, its data networking virtualization architecture.

By Chad Berndtson, CRN
Feb. 22, 2011 3:23 PM EST