By Jim Duffy

Juniper is preparing to announce how it plans to participate in cloud computing, according to a bulletin issued this week by an investment firm.

The firm, Avian Securities, expects Juniper to disclose details on integration of its new Trio chipset, Junos operating system, Junos partners and a “multi-chassis switch platform” into the cloud plan. Virtualization hooks in Trios and Junos may be key themes, the bulletin indicates.

“One thing they aren’t announcing is revolutionizing the Internet,” states author and analyst Catharine Trebnick in an apparent reference to Cisco’s recent hyped-up CRS-3 router announcement.

“We believe the announcement is the precursor to Juniper’s high profile Stratus project,” Trebnick states in her bulletin. Stratus is Juniper’s multiyear cloud computing project to construct a flat, converged fabric for consolidating and virtualizing server, storage and networking resources in multiple interconnected data centers. IBM is a strategic partner in this effort.

Juniper declined to comment on the Avian report. The company does have an announcement slated for Monday, May 17, but it is not expected to detail progress on Stratus.

Neither is the one Trebnick is referring to in her report. But she views the upcoming cloud announcement as “marginally positive.”

Stratus is viewed as Juniper’s and IBM’s countermove to Cisco’s recently unveiled Unified Computing System (UCS), a platform designed to consolidate and virtualize data center servers, storage access and networking. It includes servers developed by Cisco, which encroach on the traditional territory of -- and strain relations with -- longtime partners IBM and HP.

Cisco is partnered with storage giant EMC to move UCS.

Cisco and HP have already essentially severed ties due to the heightened competition in servers and in networking, where HP is ramping up its activity by acquiring 3Com. The stress between Cisco and IBM is less perceptible but IBM’s increasing reliance on Cisco rivals Juniper and Brocade for networking infrastructure tends to indicate a widening rift.

There is even speculation that IBM is sizing up data center switch start-up Arista Networks as a possible acquisition target. Doug Gourlay, vice president of marketing at Arista, declined to comment. Arista recently won the Interop Best of Show award for its new AN 7500 10Gbps Ethernet data center switch.

Further details on the multi-chassis switch Avian expects Juniper to unveil in the cloud announcement were not available.

Juniper recently said it would “be in touch soon” to discuss 40Gbps Ethernet updates to its switching roadmap.

Juniper is expected to realize revenue from Stratus in 2011.

“The introduction of the UCS platform in 2009 provided Cisco with first mover advantage in data center and cloud computing,” Trebnick writes in her report. “We believe Cisco’s introduction of technologies like (Overlay Transport) Virtualization (OTV) (a VPLS competitor) will marry Cisco to enterprise data center builds and create yet another barrier for competitors to overcome. Our industry contacts indicate Cisco is looking to integrate the OTV strategy as part of their UCS platform inter-datacenter communication.”

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Original story - http://www.networkworld.com/nwlookup.jsp?rid=209250

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