Juniper pitching fast applications

Juniper to announce a top-of-the-line IP WAN acceleration box and router

Juniper this week plans to introduce hardware and software that can speed remote-site and data center traffic while helping customers reduce hardware and save money.

The company is expected to announce a top-of-the-line IP WAN acceleration box that boosts application performance between branch offices and headquarters, and a router that scales down its carrier-grade technology to corporate needs and budgets.

It is releasing gear that accelerates Web transactions for less.

"These are a bunch of independent product launches, but they all have an impact on the data center," says Rob Whiteley, an analyst with Forrester Research, who adds that the gear will help Juniper compete with Cisco, Citrix and F5 Networks.

Juniper is uncrating a new WAN-acceleration appliance that supports 45Mbps of throughput as it compresses, caches, optimizes TCP flows and speeds up applications. WXC devices are deployed at both ends of WAN links to squeeze more data across the connections. The WXC 590 is designed for sites with high-bandwidth WAN links that have to make connections with scores or even hundreds of remote sites, he says.

Mustang Engineering, for instance, uses Juniper's current top-speed WXC 500 with 20Mbps of throughput at two sites with 40Mbps WAN connections. A WXC 590 could fill the entire link by itself, whereas it would take two WXC 500s and a separate device called a WX to tie them together to gain the same throughput, says Keith Wingate, network administrator for the firm.

The list price of the three boxes needed in that configuration is US$105,000, while a single WXC 590 with the same capacity costs US$46,000.

The new WXC 590s can be stacked in conjunction with a WX 100 to support a 155Mbps OC-3 link and connections with as many as 840 remote sites.

Wingate says Mustang's WXCs reduce traffic 40 percent to 70 percent of its original size, depending on the application. This makes applications perform quicker and reduces user frustration, he says. "As Mustang acquires other companies in various parts of the U.S. and the world, we need to have these remote offices tie back into our home office, and it has to be as painless and quick as if they are next door," Wingate says.

Beyond its WAN-acceleration gear, Juniper is announcing upgrades to its line of Web server front-end devices that load balance and offload processing from the servers. The boxes also protect servers from denial-of-service attacks and SYN floods.

The company is introducing two devices in its DX series of WAN-acceleration appliances that cost the same as the devices they replace, but one boosts transactions per second from 800 to 2,500, and the other, from 1,700 to 3,650. DX 3280 replaces DX 3250, and DX 3680 replaces DC 3650. The price of a DX 3280 is US$25,000 to US$45,000, depending on features. The price of a DX 3680 is US$50,000 to US$70,000.

For network access to data centers, Juniper is introducing the M120 router, a 120Gbps box that supports as many as 12 10Gbps ports or 120 1Gbps ports. The router has dual-routing engines with mirrored Border Gateway Protocol and Open Shortest Path First tables, so software can be upgraded on the device without downtime.

This is a notch down from Juniper's largest M-series router, the 320Gbps M320. The M120 might be an alternative to a Cisco 7200 series router, says Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group.

Some companies have been buying more expensive, carrier-grade routers for their data centers, Whiteley says. Part of the reason they might use these more expensive routers than, say, an enterprise-grade Cisco router, is that having a single vendor for headquarters and branch office devices can bring interoperability benefits and a single management platform.

The M120 costs from US$73,000 for a base model to US$285,000 for a large data-center configuration.

Along with this new hardware Juniper is announcing software for its WX and WXC devices that boosts the effectiveness of its sequence caching technology. Sequence caching delivers large chunks of data from a local WXC cache instead of calling it from servers at the other end of a WAN connection.

Juniper is upgrading its CMS management software on its WX and WXC boxes to support central management and configuration of the devices, no matter where they are. It also supports high-level performance of multiple links, as well as of individual appliances.

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