When building a winning Formula One™ car, teams can find themselves faced with a long list of choices, and each must be carefully weighed against the others. Choosing the right engine, for example, is a big factor, but not the only one. They also need to carefully consider everything from chassis design to thermal systems to tires. To achieve peak performance, they need to make the right calls for each of those components and achieve balance across all of them.
Juniper Networks isn’t building race cars, but there are many similarities in designing a high-performance Formula One car and a high-performance routing platform. As announced today, Juniper is reimagining yesterday’s “retro metro” networks with a new generation of Cloud Metro solutions designed for sustainable business growth. This starts with our newly expanded ACX7000 Family, all built for sustainable performance, energy consumption and scalability far into the future.
Our enhanced Cloud Metro ACX7000 Family portfolio combines the latest generation forwarding ASICs, power innovations, unique chassis design and more. Just as important, it achieves the right balance of density and scalability for today’s metro demands, with ample room to grow. The results:
- The industry’s highest scalability for a metro portfolio, from 1 Gbps up to 345 Tbps
- The most flexible port options, with support for 1/10/25/40/50/100/200/400GE and ready for tomorrow’s ultra-dense 800G and 1.6T ports
- The highest router line card capacity per slot, up to 21.6 Tbps
- The highest 400GE port density, with support for high-power XR, ZR and ZR+ digital coherent optics on all ports (up to 54 per slot) simultaneously
- The highest timing accuracy (Class-D), verified by EANTC
- Accommodates up to 48 times bandwidth growth within the same chassis with removable and modular power shelf design, and extends system lifetime and reduces e-waste
- The highest rating for power efficiency: Titanium-grade, certified by the CLEAResult 80Plus program
- Up to 77% lower energy consumption, 71% lower total cost of ownership and four to seven years longer system lifetime than the competition
It adds up to the industry’s leading, most sustainable, highest-performing networking systems for the new Cloud Metro —today and well into the future.
Designing for Balance
Survey both race cars and networking systems, and you’ll find many similarities across their designs. Competing Formula One cars, for example, often use the same car engines and tires. The governing standards body for F1 racing, the FIA, is a documenting system which states the standards that all teams must comply with to be viable to race. Similarly, metro networking systems from different companies may use the same ASICs, pluggable optics and connectors, and need to comply with the same IP, MPLS and Ethernet protocol standards from the IETF, ITU and IEEE. Yet, like in racing, different teams achieve wildly divergent results with common components and adherence to the same standards. The difference? Some just make better design choices to get the most from those components.
It comes down to balance. And sometimes increasing one parameter has the exact opposite effect on another linked parameter. Want the highest throughput performance with high-power optics? That requires advanced cooling, which could limit port density. But maybe the pursuit of improved cooling leads to increased linecard slot pitch to provide more physical space for airflow and heat sinks, which could actually reduce net port density of a system within a given height and depth limitation. Want maximum density? Then it’s important to keep power requirements under control. Building sustainable systems means successfully navigating these kinds of tradeoffs to maximize all design elements in optimal balance.
At Juniper, that’s exactly what we did with the new ACX7000 Family portfolio. We relied on decades of system design know-how to achieve the optimal balance between chassis height and depth, quantity of slots and linecard pitch size in a modular chassis, “engine” (silicon) choice and quantity of slices per system or linecard, thermal design to allow maximum scalability with minimum power consumption and more. And we applied it across a full portfolio of platforms optimized for different Cloud Metro locations and requirements.
Reinventing Metro Networking System Hardware
Reading through the list of industry’s “most” and “fastest” and “only” capabilities above, one might wonder how Juniper could put so much distance between our Cloud Metro portfolio and the rest of the market. One big factor is groundbreaking hardware innovations.
Juniper’s flagship highest-capacity Cloud Metro offering is the ACX7900 Series. The first system in the series is the ACX7908 (expected to be available 1H’23), a modular chassis with distributed forwarding and a blistering 21.6 Tbps of bandwidth per slot. That equates to a market-leading density of 54 ports of 400G per slot, with the ability to support high-power pluggable DWDM digital coherent optics (DCO) such as 400G ZR, ZR+ or XR on all ports simultaneously. How did we achieve such an incredible breakthrough in port density for the ACX7900 Series while balancing high thermal tolerance yet low power consumption at the same time? Well, this is how:
- Optimized Airflow, Thermal and Power Design: The more power-efficient a system is, the better performance it can deliver at a lower cost and with lower emissions. That’s sustainability in action. Here, the ACX7900 Series leapfrogs the competition thanks to novel thermal design and adaptive power innovations. That includes direct front-to-back airflow through a modular chassis with orthogonally-mated fabric spines and a larger slot pitch size that enables use of QSFP-DD or OSFP pluggable optics cages, with belly-to-belly or vertical cage mounts with local heat sinks to reduce thermal “hot spots” when using high-power ZR/ZR+/XR optics, all optimized for maximum airflow and cooling. In addition, the ability to automatically turn off Packet Forwarding Engines (PFEs) and software functions when not in use further optimizes energy consumption. The ACX7900 even features the industry’s only modular, removable power shelf for metro networking. Other vendors offer removable power supplies, but fixed power shelves that require forklift upgrades of an entire chassis to modify or expand. In contrast, the ACX7900 series enables customers to simply add extra stackable power shelves to supply on-demand power as they expand or upgrade bandwidth capacity without having to rip and replace the chassis. Design innovations like these help Cloud Metro systems deliver higher performance—including the ability to use high-power optics on all ports simultaneously—with less power and space. We also offer the industry’s most efficient power supply, with up to 96% power efficiency, certified by CLEAResult’s 80Plus program at Titanium grade. With innovations like these, the Juniper ACX7900 Series delivers the industry’s highest 400GE port density per slot, at the lowest power per bit, and is fully ready for expansion to dense 800G and 1.6T interfaces in the future.
- Optimized Fabric Design: The ACX7900 Series uses the latest-generation orthogonal fabric connectors to achieve 50% higher 400GE density per slot than existing networking systems from other vendors. And with as much as 33% more fabric pins per slot than alternate platforms from the competition, the ACX7900 Series more easily scales to 800G and 1.6T port generations in the future without requiring exotic, high-speed Serdes lanes that will push boundaries for electrical interconnects. This means more speed with less worry and less power, well into the future.
But Juniper didn’t reserve innovation just for the highest-end modular systems. The ACX7500 Series of modular aggregation platforms delivers compelling TCO advantages for customer networks, borrowing a page from Juniper’s storied routing history to once again deliver a new router using centralized forwarding coupled with simple interface modules. Available today, the ACX7509 delivers the perfect, optimized balance of power, performance, price and space for the Cloud Metro. Compared to the nearest competitors, the ACX7509 offers:
- Lower power, and thus lower OpEx: The ACX7509 sips power with a degree of efficiency that the competition can’t match, consuming as much as 70% less power than competitive platforms with comparable port densities and redundancies. Less power consumed means less OpEx and profits wasted for customers and a more sustainable future for the planet. This is the advantage of a next-generation Cloud Metro solution.
- Lower CapEx: Centralized platforms are inherently lower cost than systems with fully distributed forwarding on each linecard, simply because the centralized systems are simpler and require fewer chips to do the same thing. The ACX7509 utilizes the latest silicon on a centralized forwarding engine to deliver high performance with half the CapEx required by competitors to deliver similar port densities. The ACX7509 saves customers money while also saving the planet.
- Less height and depth: At just 5RU in height in 600mm depth, the ACX7509 is more space efficient than competitor platforms which start at 7RU and rack-busting depths greater than 800mm. And when colocation providers charge customers by space and power consumed in a rack, the ACX7509 continues to save customers money by being able to deliver the same density and services in a smaller space and with less power.
- More availability: With fewer components as a centralized forwarding design, the ACX7509 offers better mean time between failures (MTBF) by design. And with optional, separate full redundancy for routing engines (REs) and for packet forwarding engines (PFEs), the ACX7509 is designed without any single point of failure.
- More flexibility: Not only is the ACX7509 shorter and less deep than competitors’ products, it also offers more flexibility with nine modular interface bays vs. just four slots with the competition, supporting everything from 1G all the way to 400G today and expansibility to 800G and beyond in the future.
Our fixed-system platform access and aggregation options for the Cloud Metro are just as compelling, albeit small-scale and more compact. Sometimes, the best things do come in small packages!
- The ACX7000 Series is the perfect access layer on-ramp into the Cloud Metro. The ACX7024, orderable now, sets a new benchmark for a 5G-optimized cell site router (CSR), offering highly-accurate Class D timing support, next-generation transport options such as SR/SRv6 with EVPN, and compelling interface support including 1G, 10G, 25G, and 100G port options. 5G xHaul has never been so well supported – until now!
- The ACX7100 Series, available today, fills flexible roles both as spine and leaf options for a distributed Cloud Metro IP Services fabric, either for aggregation or access alike depending on the port interface need.
- The ACX7100-48L offers category-leading port speed options to help customers grow in-place as their capacity needs grow, with 48 ports capable of supporting 10G, 25G, and even 50G interfaces on every port simultaneously to meet demanding bandwidth needs for 5G xHaul or Cable R-PHY aggregation, or even local connectivity for high-speed NICs from distributed edge compute nodes deep in the Cloud Metro. This is complemented by 6 ports of 400G with QSFP-DD optics for non-blocking uplinks, allowing easy growth from 100G to 400G with different choice of optics population and support for 400G ZR/ZR+/XR on each port.
- The ACX7100-32C is unique in the industry by offering 32 ports of 100G QSFP28 ports, capable of supporting 100G ZR optics on each and every port simultaneously, along with 4 ports of 400G with ZR/ZR+/XR support. Competitors are only able to support 100G ZR optics on half of their ports at any given time. Why compromise when there’s no need? Juniper’s ACX7100 series leads in sustainable expansion for the future, here today.
- The ACX7348 (expected to be orderable 1H’23), is a hardened router designed for multiservice applications. It combines the value of a fixed redundant platform with three bays of modularity that provide highly customizable build-as-you-grow scalability, high availability and exceptional performance.
One of the hallmarks of the ACX7000 family is consistency. Juniper has developed the portfolio so the software is identical across the entire portfolio and based on Junos Evolved OS as the market-leading modular operating system for enhanced operations, simplicity and scalability. When a new feature is developed, it’s instantly available across the full range of ACX7000 Family platforms, from the smallest fixed box to the largest modular, distributed platform.
Juniper’s ACX7000 Family of Cloud Metro routing platforms started fresh with the latest-generation silicon, based on pipeline processing that’s optimally balanced to maximize throughput and low latency, with lower power consumption and cost per bit. This extensible family of modern silicon brings huge improvements in features and scale, leapfrogging competing systems, which mostly remain a generation behind on older silicon with inherent scale and feature limitations. These forward-looking silicon choices protect Cloud Metro investments far into the future. Just as critical, we deliver them end to end across our entire Cloud Metro portfolio, which gives SPs compelling options for different throughput, performance, services scale, physical size, temperature hardening and redundancy. They can tap into the latest silicon capabilities not just at one or two types of sites, but every new Cloud Metro location.
This also means the ACX7000 Family is free from any burden of carrying forward legacy scale limitations from prior-generation silicon. As a result, Juniper’s ACX7000 Family sets new benchmarks for high logical scalability for distributed service delivery in a next-generation Cloud Metro architecture.
Hardware design makes a huge difference, but even in high-performance race cars, software matters as well. The latest Formula One™ cars feature integrated security features and advanced sensor systems to continually monitor and optimize vehicle performance. Similarly, the Juniper ACX7000 Family features new software innovations to secure metro networking systems and architecture, automate operations and continually analyze and optimize solution performance. These include:
- Built-In Zero Trust Security: Cloud Metro platforms feature built-in Zero Trust Infrastructure S A unique Device ID is cryptographically bound to every ACX7000 Family platform during manufacturing, and SPs can automatically verify that the device hardware and software haven’t been tampered with. Cloud Metro platforms also feature data security, including native file encryption to protect at rest and MACsec on all ports to safeguard data in motion. (For more details, read the blog here).
- Embedded Active Assurance: The differentiated Cloud Metro services of tomorrow won’t be measured in speeds and feeds, but in quality of experience. That’s why Cloud Metro is built for experience-first networking. Paragon Active Assurance test agents are now natively embedded into the Junos OS Evolved in every ACX7000 Family platform. We’ve turned the metro network itself into a “sensor” that actively measures and proactively enables user experience. (For details, read the blog here).
- Peerless Model-Driven Manageability: All Cloud Metro platforms are based on next-generation principles for device management and instrumentation for closed-loop automation. Each ACX7000 platform uses model-driven configuration and telemetry based on standards-based OpenConfig as the primary management interface into the systems, compliant to gNMI (gRPC-based Network Management Interface) and gNOI (gRPC-based Network Operations Interface).
- AI-Enabled Automation: Sustainable systems don’t just reduce emissions and protect investments. They also make life easier for IT teams, so they can focus on higher-value innovation, enabling superior experiences for end users and operators alike. To help SPs, Juniper’s Cloud Metro portfolio is supported by Juniper’s proven AIOps technology, delivered from the cloud with Paragon™ Automation as a Service.
Similar to our hardware and power innovations, these features aren’t reserved for one or two form factors in the portfolio. They apply to every ACX7000 Family platform, embedding security, assurance and automation at every metro location.
Building for the Future
Whether you’re building a winning Formula One car or a winning networking portfolio, optimal design is always about balance. At Juniper, we balance design choices not just for the next race, but for the next decade.
You may not need to use the highest-performing optics on every port or require Class-D timing precision today. But a few years down the road—when you’re dealing with 500% more metro traffic and trying to offer new ultra-low-latency services—your Cloud Metro will be ready. With a complete portfolio, state-of-the-art system design and the industry’s most flexible interface options, you can grow at your own pace, adding capacity where and when you need it. You can build a more sustainable metro and business—for your people, the planet and your profit.
 EANTC: https://eantc.de/fileadmin/eantc/downloads/events/2022/EANTC-InteropTest2022-TestReport.pdf (ACX7100-32C and ACX7100-48L were tested)
 ACG Research: https://www.juniper.net/content/dam/www/assets/white-papers/us/en/2022/acg-research-the-tco-and-environmental-benefits-of-juniper-cloud-metro-network-solutions.pdf (ACX7509 was used in this study)
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