JEDI Finds The Force With 'Infranet'

Juniper Networks' latest approach to public network infrastructure is dubbed a force to be reckoned with.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 3, 2005
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Juniper Networks is launching a major new security strategy and product initiative that integrates its SSL Virtual Private Network with a new approach to public network infrastructure.

Call it a new and improved "Infranet" offering, built on its so-called J.E.D.I (Juniper End Point Defense Initiative) that helps power security across the enterprise.

The "Infranet" concept is not something new from Juniper. It has been touting the term for years.

The latest announcement, however, includes products that will help make the vision a reality: a technological framework for securing application delivery and services across enterprise networks.

"The name Infranet really denotes infrastructure network which is what we're really trying to build here," Andrew Harding, director of product management at Juniper Networks, told internetnews.com. "It's about controlling what gets delivered, how it gets used and then stopping the threats that occur within that environment."

Juniper's Enterprise Infranet framework is a service layer that sits on top of an existing heterogeneous network. The Infranet layer uses policy to co-coordinate endpoint and application access and control on enterprise network services. That control is broken down into threat, use and delivery control functionality requirements.

Beyond Juniper's efforts, a group called the Infranet Initiative Council (IIC) is also working toward Infranet development. But the group's work is carrier-oriented in order to apply a service control layer across carrier infrastructure.

Juniper's approach, according to Harding, is for the enterprise environment. It proposes an Infranet that can connect with other Infranets via an IIC-compliant "Infranet Connector."

"The announcement is really new functionality on the firewalls, a new product, the Infranet controller and then an agent that is delivered from that controller," Harding explained.

To that end, Juniper's Enterprise Infranet Controller is the product that provides user authentication-based network access with conditions. Also, an Infranet Agent provides the host check as well as the encrypted transport to the "enforcement gateways."

Those gateway enforcers are essentially firmware from Juniper's NetScreen firewall systems and appliances. The product set is expected to be available in the third quarter of this year.

"What this announcement is really about is taking the security model and the usage model that we've achieved in the extended enterprise and extending it throughout the network," Harding said.

"It is doing that with the same simplicity and security as remote access but enabling it to scale to all pieces for the network because you can't put SSL network everywhere in your network. I think it (Infranet)is a disruptive technology and one that will increase security and reduce cost not unlike the SSL-VPN."

Juniper's enterprise Infranet strategy is intended to be complementary to a company's existing security software such as anti-virus. Harding said the Infranet controller can take intelligent signals from third parties. The third party software signals into the controller and then Juniper enforces policy. The system is based on open standards where possible, according to Harding.

"A service layer that enables co-coordinated and intelligent delivery and use of threat control is more than just something that is just Juniper," Harding added. "The notion of an Infranet is about heterogeneous solutions that just work."

Article courtesy of internetnews.com

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