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Juniper Networks Brings Computing Network Power to Wall St. 

Juniper Networks today (April 6) unveiled an application acceleration switch and packet flow accelerator module designed to bring computing performance and customizable logic into the network to accelerate critical business applications for financial institutions relying on real-time data.

The QFX5100-AA application acceleration switch and QFX-PFA packet flow accelerator module, to be sold through Juniper's indirect channel, are based on Juniper's QFX product family. Juniper developed the systems in partnership with Maxeler Technologies, which creates programmable dataflow platforms.

The networking solution is designed to vastly improve the performance of applications that handle market and social media data feeds, execution routing, and big data analytics, empowering financial firms to make decisions faster, using real-time information, Andrew Bach, chief architect for financial services at Juniper Networks, told Enterprise Technology. By focusing on a distributed environment, Juniper Networks found a way to move more functionality into the network and away from servers, he said. Stock traders, investment firms, and other Wall Street financial brokers of all sizes are the target market for this solution.

"Because you're redistributing the processing burden you can move some of the less effective tasks from your environment. They tend to use servers for simple tasks like protocol inversions and routing orders based on stock symbol. While it works on a server, it fits much better on an FPGA in a network," Bach said.

Locating the right partner also was key. Because Maxeler's solution supports several programming languages, organizations save money, expand IT productivity, and reduce overhead costs, he said.

"We didn't want just to put the product out there and say, hire some specialized programmers and have fun. Maxeler really centered a lot of their product around data flow engines and data flow technologies and they're bringing up an app store," said Bach.

Added Oskar Mencer, CEO and chief technology officer of Maxeler: "Maxeler adds programming capability to the dataplane of the QFX5100-AA switch via a dataflow compute model. MaxCompiler and MaxelerOS provide a seamless programming environment with Java as the description language for dataflow graphs. Programs can run via MaxSkins in C/C++ but also R, Python, and even Fortran. Dataflow computing significantly reduces latency of computations, minimizes energy consumption, as well as shrinking the required footprint of any large scale task in the data center.

Scheduled to become available in the third quarter of this year, the QFX5100 and QFX-PFA benefits include:

  • A data center network architecture, built on Juniper Networks' QXF5100, featuring a new 40G Ethernet switch. The switch melds together the Intel Xeon processor E3-1125C v2 with Broadcom switching silicon and the QFX-PFA module based on the Altera multi-100G field-programmable gate array.
  • Both Juniper technologies use Maxeler's dataflow programming environment for specific application programming, allowing customers to develop and customize applications.
  • Using customizable logic to offload the processing of compute-intensive, real-time, deterministic, and latency sensitive applications, enterprises realize performance acceleration at the application level.
  • Data center automation, scale, and computer power speeds up packet flow processing, and leverages Juniper Networks' Junos operating system.
  • Because the solution supports Java, logic programmability is simplified.
  • IT has an automated single point of control via integration with Junos Space Network Director
  • Juniper's Cloud Analytics Engine delivers improved visibility and an application-centric view of the network, including both high-frequency network monitoring and data analysis.

"Dataflow computing significantly reduces latency of computations, minimizes energy consumption, as well as shrinking the required footprint of any large scale task in the data center," Mencer said.

Juniper is participating at the HPC for Wall Street – Cloud Technology Show and Conference today in Bach and Ryan Eavy, executive director, architecture at CME Group, will be presenting at 12 p.m. ET on “The Disaggregation of Compute.” Juniper will also be demonstrating its latest financial services cloud networking solutions.

About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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