Juniper’s Virtual Chassis (VC) vs. Virtual Chassis Fabric (VCF)

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Juniper Networks has officially released their new data center solution known as Virtual Chassis Fabric (VCF) this week. This is a 20-member virtual chassis, based upon a spine-and-leaf architecture, using the new QFX5100 platforms. This integrates 1-gig, 10-gig and 40-gig access and trunk ports across platforms, into a single manageable data center switch. 

In essence, Juniper has doubled the capacity of a traditional virtual chassis.

A VCF provides the following benefits:

  • Latency—VCF ensures predictable low latency because it uses a fabric architecture that ensures each device is one or two hops away from every other device in the fabric. The algorithm that makes traffic-forwarding decisions in a VCF contains the built-in intelligence to forward traffic by using the optimum available path to the destination, further ensuring predictable low latency for traffic traversing the VCF.
  • Resiliency—The VCF architecture provides a resilient framework because traffic has multiple paths across the fabric. Traffic is, therefore, easily diverted within the fabric when a device or link fails.
    Flexibility—You can easily expand the size of your VCF by adding devices to the fabric as your networking needs grow.
  • Investment protection—In environments that need to expand because the capabilities of a traditional QFX5100, QFX3600, QFX3500, or EX4300 Virtual Chassis are maximized, a VCF is often a logical upgrade option because it enables the system to evolve without having to remove the existing, previously purchased devices from the network.
  • Manageability—VCF provides multiple features that simplify configuration and management. VCF, for instance, has an autoprovisioning feature that enables you to plug and play devices into the fabric after minimal initial configuration. VCF leverages many of the existing configuration procedures from a Virtual Chassis, so that you can configure and maintain a VCF easily if you are already familiar with the procedures for configuring and maintaining a Virtual Chassis.

The linked white paper below clearly differentiates each of these solutions, and also provides a detailed explanation of the new VCF topology.

vcf white paper.pdf

Contact Enterprise Networks Solutions today to learn more about how we can help you with Juniper Networks.