The trend toward Software Defined Networking (SDN) is one that nearly every single networking vendor has embraced. During Juniper Networks’ third quarter fiscal 2012 earning call, Juniper’s CEO revealed his company’s SDN strategy.
Juniper’s SDN strategy comes as the company faces continued competitive and market pressures. For the quarter, Juniper reported revenue of $1.12 Billion up by 1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Net income was reported at $17 million, or $0.03 per share. Kevin Johnson, CEO of Juniper emphasized that SDN is part of the way forward for his company.
“First, we continue to believe that a software-driven network platform will ultimately deliver maximum business value for our customers,” Johnson said during the earnings call. “This is the vision behind the new network that we laid out 3 years ago and continue to deliver upon.”
At the core of the strategy is Juniper’s Junos operating system that runs on nearly all of the company’s routing, switching and security equipment offerings. Johnson noted that it is Juniper’s view that the focus of SDN is initially should be around data center switching.
“The data center is where SDN solutions can drive the most business value for customers,” Johnson said.
One of Juniper’s core data center switching solutions is QFabric which Johnson said was architected with some common principles of SDN. QFabric was officially announcedback in 2011 after years of development efforts under the banner of Project Stratus. QFabric aims to reduce network layers and simplify data center packet transport and management. Johnson said that the QFabric Director, is a software-driven controller for the QFabric system.
“We know that lots of people are building SDN controllers,” Johnson commented. “What that means for us is that we need to make sure our network systems work with as many of those controllers as possible.”
The market for SDN controllers includes vendor large and small, including startup Big Switch Networksand HP.
Much of the SDN work being done by major networking vendors today involves support for the open source OpenFlow protocol. Johnson stressed that Juniper is also supporting OpenFlow across an increasing number of switches.
Juniper first began to talk about OpenFlow supporta year ago in November of 2011.
“We will have a productized version of OpenFlow 1.3 on the MX, EX and QFabric next year, so that our data center solutions can inter-operate with these many SDN controllers that are being built,” Johnson said. “We are actively engaging with several customers on the use cases where we think SDN can deliver the most value.”
“We are also building SDN APIs including OpenFlow into our systems,” Johnson added. “And as we do this throughout our product roadmap, we are continuing to evolve the portfolio. “