Book Review :: Juniper QFX5100 Series: A Comprehensive Guide to Building Next-Generation Networks

Juniper QFX5100 Series: A Comprehensive Guide to Building Next-Generation Networks
by Douglas Richard Hanks, Jr.
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
ISBN-13: 978-1491949573


Much more than just a book about the QFX5100

This was an easy weekend read, and quite honestly I’d never thought I’d say this about a technical book but I literally could not put the book down. Doug has amassed a wealth of great information, approaching the subject matter from a standpoint of brevity, applying the Goldilocks principle — not too much and not too little — but rather just the right amount of information.

Do not be confused by the title — this is not JUST a book about the QFX5100 series. As the subtitle might indicate, it’s more of a book on building next-gen networks, specifically Data Center networks, and serves as a fantastic primer on the various protocols and technologies that are becoming the mainstay of this world.

As the networking world works overtime to catch up to the virtualization offered by storage and compute resources, the reader tasked with creating the network of tomorrow will appreciate the coverage of building various types of fabrics of varying dimensions — whether it’s coverage of Juniper’s Virtual Chassis Fabric for building small to medium sized Ethernet Fabrics, or Clos Fabrics for building extremely large IP underlay networks, the coverage is top notch.  Readers will get a thorough introduction to the concepts of VXLAN and overlay networking with VTEPs using controllers such as Juniper’s Contrail or VMware’s NSX and their respective control plane signaling mechanisms such as EVPN and OVSDB.

I sincerely appreciated the in-depth coverage of the architecture of the QFX 5100 Series, the Broadcom Trident II chipset, as well as an inside look at the control plane virtualization that takes place on the QFX 5100 itself (apparently, Juniper is really taking virtualization to heart).  I also enjoyed the chapter on Performance and Scaling which covered the options for modifying latency throughout the box (cut-through vs. store-and-forward) as well as options for tailoring the Unified Forwarding Table to fit the needs of individual networks. The chapter on Network Automation is also a nice addition, with coverage of various automation tools such as PyEZ, Ansible, Puppet and Chef, just to name a few.

The astute reader familiar with Juniper’s website  will recognize that a few of the chapters comprising this book are borrowed from various white papers that Doug has authored – however, all in all, there is quite a bit more information in this book than can be gleaned  from resources on Juniper’s public facing collateral. There were a few minor grammatical and technical inconsistencies (largely text that didn’t match diagrams)… however this did not  detract from the overall value of the book and I can only ascribe this to the fact that Doug did not use me as a technical editor on this book. <hint hint>

Last but not least, although not specifically mentioned, I do believe this book as well his other QFX10000 book will prove to be invaluable resources for anyone preparing for the JNCDS-DC, JNCIP-DC, or the upcoming JNCIE-DC exams, as I strongly believe that technical content from all three exams will be likely be covered here.

All in all, an excellent resource, and one that I am sure to reference regularly in my day to day engagements working with customers building out next-generation data center networks. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to reading his recent book on the QFX10000 series.


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