Juniper Advances Junosphere for Network Testing

Juniper Networks is expanding its Junosphere networking lab providing more options for those that want to test their networking models outside of production environments.

Cloud-based Junosphere gets a facelift

Junosphere first debuted in October of 2011, delivering a cloud based service that enables networking professionals to test different deployment models without the need for physical hardware. MSRP for Junosphere starts at $5.00 per day per virtual machine (VM).

Judy Beningson, vice president and general manager, Virtual Junos Business Unit, at Juniper Networks told Enterprise Networking Planet that since Junosphere launched users have logged over one million virtual machine hours using the platform.

The updated Junosphere platform now has a new graphical user interface (GUI), making it easier for users to get up and running. Beningson noted that the original interface was rudimentary but the new GUI is Java-based.

“It’s what you would expect out of a software application,” Beningson said. “The first iteration was just a prototype, now this is the real commercial one that we wanted in the first place.”

The initial user interface included a lot of manual processes. For example, if a user wanted a specific timeslot for Junosphere they would have had to either call or email Juniper. With the new release, that’s all automated with self-service provisioning.

Software defined networking trend gaining traction

The other thing that has changed is related to changes in the networking landscape. In recent months, the trend toward software defined networking (SDN) has become more pronounced. With SDN, the control and data planes of network traffic are separated providing a more programmable network. Testing out SDN on a production network isn’t an easy task, which is where Junosphere might be a big help.

Beningson explained that there is a software development kit (SDK) that enables users to build applications on top of Junos, Juniper’s network operating system. One of the application that has been built is an OpenFlow application.

“What Junosphere lets you do, is test it,” Beningson said. “So once you’ve built the application you can upload and see if it works.”

OpenFlow also requires a controller that can also be enabled in Junosphere. The controller is what controls the flows of traffic across devices. While Juniper does not have a specific partnership with an OpenFlow controller vendor, like Big Switch for example, the Junosphere offering can still run a controller.

“We offer a CentOS Linux virtual machine as a choice for a Junosphere topology that you can build, and you can load an application on top of that,” Beningson said.

The other way an OpenFlow controller could be enable is by way of a connector that connect the physical world to the virtual one.

“So if you’ve got a Big Switch OpenFlow controller in your physical lab and you want to run it against the virtual topology you’ve built in Junosphere, you can do that with the connector,” Beningson said. “It’s a fun way to blur the line between physical and virtual.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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