Web hosting provider transforms service delivery with automation

Cape Town, 15 Nov 2016
Read time 3min 10sec

To meet ever-increasing service demand, Hetzner needed to significantly expand its network capabilities with a new data centre.

It had reached the limits of its existing network infrastructure and seized this opportunity to build its ideal network from the ground up.

Key drivers for the new design were high availability and reliability, horizontal and vertical scalability, ease of management and network automation.

"After evaluating various network equipment vendors, we decided to deploy Juniper from the network edge to top of rack," said Juan van Zyl, data centre manager at Hetzner.

"We'd been using Juniper's edge routers in our network for a long time, so we understood the benefits they brought in terms of reliability and ease of operation.

"In the end, it was an easy decision to implement Juniper equipment across the board."

Hetzner selected Juniper Networks EX Series Ethernet Switches, carrier-class switching solutions that are optimised for converged enterprise branch offices, campuses, and data centres, as well as for service provider deployments.

Specifically, Hetzner has deployed:

* Juniper Networks EX2200 Series Ethernet Switches as top-of-rack switches,
* Juniper Networks EX4200 Series Ethernet Switches configured as a virtual chassis, with link aggregation and rack level routing providing resilient connectivity as aggregation switches,
* Juniper Networks EX4500 Series Ethernet Switches configured as a virtual chassis to build out its data centre core

Juniper's virtual chassis technology is used to connect multiple EX Switches as a single, logical device, delivering an easily managed and scalable solution that is perfect for data centre installations.

Hetzner also upgraded its current edge routers to Juniper Networks MX80 3D Universal Edge Routers to increase capacity.

With modular interface and services support, the MX80 provides a flexible and full featured routing solution that is ideal for space and power-conscious facilities.

By taking advantage of Juniper's open and programmable architecture, Hetzner built a highly automated operations environment that includes 'zero touch' provisioning, which enables it to support new customers and deliver new services with the click of a button.

"This has allowed us to create a really disruptive value proposition," added Van Zyl.

"Automation allows our customers to self-manage their services, isolated in their own VLANs, with the Junos script setting up the routing and virtual LANs to the top-of-rack with a single API call.

"Being able to manipulate the network via an API makes it easy for other departments to interact with the network in a safe environment, while reducing the management overhead of rolling out changes and keeping tabs on configurations."

Since deploying the new network, Hetzner has seen a 600% increase in throughput, supporting over 100 racks of co-location equipment and nearly 4 000 self-managed servers.

Virtual chassis technology has enabled massive horizontal scaling and allows Hetzner to deploy new infrastructure without any downtime, or added management complexity.

Hetzner has also achieved zero touch provisioning for all non-edge network infrastructure.

The network team installs them in advance, then uses a templating system to generate the type of switch it needs.

Hetzner is already planning for future growth, considering higher capacity switches and upgrading its aggregation layer to 40 Gbps.

"This architecture is solid, it scales and has a modular design we can easily upgrade when we need to," concluded Van Zyl.

"When we need to expand our network, we're able to deploy new services from core to aggregation to top-of-rack in minutes."

To find out more about Juniper Networks products and solutions, please visit

Editorial contacts
Hetzner Athena Turner (+27) 21 970 2000
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