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JUNOS High Availability by Orin Blomberg, Senad Palislamovic, Kieran Milne, James Sonderegger

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Divide and Conquer

Have you ever had someone in management, three tiers above you, send you email because you didn’t use the new report cover or you missed some checkbox on a minor network form? This type of micromanagement can hamper efficiency, forcing individuals in an office to be responsible for a wide range of tasks and making them less efficient on the core tasks for which they are responsible.

Just as with the overworked employees in the micromanaged office, data processing chips in network equipment based on generalized designs, performing a multitude of functions such as routing protocols, packet forwarding, encryption, and system management, are less efficient in each of those processes because they are doing them all. By incorporating application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that perform very specific tasks, Juniper Networks equipment is able to provide efficient processing of packets and a stable foundation on which to build networks that provide high availability.

Since the beginning, Juniper’s hardware design has steered clear of the monolithic processor trying to perform every task in the network device. The design architecture has instead been divided into the RE as the brain and the forwarding engine as the brawn.

Imagine if you will that all packages transiting a post office were required to be examined by the head postmaster to ensure that they were being handled properly. Package delivery would be totally unfeasible, which is why the head postmaster is ...

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