Juniper Goes All in for SDN

Juniper embraces Linux and containers to disaggregate its Junos networking firmware.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 4, 2015
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At the core of Juniper Networks technology since the company's inception has been the Junos operating system. Throughout Juniper's history, Junos has been closely coupled with Juniper's hardware. That's now going to change with a new effort to disaggregate software from hardware, something that the industry as a whole typically refers to as Software Defined Networking (SDN).

"85 percent of all our engineering resources go to developing software, but the value is extracted and monetized on a per port basis," Juniper CEO Rami Rahim said during Junipers' NXTWORK customer event.

Disaggregated Junos software is part of Juniper's effort to extract that software value in a more meaningful way, while providing more choice to customers. With the disaggregated model, instead of simply just putting Junos on top of hardware, now there will be a thin Linux kernel with containers into which Junos, services and other third party tools and apps can be deployed.

As part of the disaggregated Junos effort, Juniper is also debuting the QFX5200 line of switches, which support the new model for Junos as well as the emerging 25 and 50 Gigabit Ethernet standards.

Going a step further on the disaggregation journey, Junos will also be able to run on third-party hardware that supports the Open Compute Project's Open Network Install Environment (ONIE). ONIE enables white box switch users to load any ONIE-compliant operating system on top of the switch.

Juniper is also advancing its cloud effort with a Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) solution. Juniper's Cloud CPE is heavily based on open-source technology, including Juniper's OpenStack cloud platform distribution and the Contrail Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller.

Rahim emphasized the importance of automation as part of virtualization and cloud, which is a core element of the new Cloud CPE product.

"Virtualization without automation is like taxation without representation," Rahim said.

While the early days of SDN were full of hype, Rahim commented that reality is now setting in.

"Finally SDN is here and it's pretty awesome," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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