Juniper Outlines Vision for ‘Major Shift’ to SDN

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At its annual Global Partner Conference Juniper Networks (JNPR) announced  a comprehensive vision to transition enterprises and service providers from traditional network infrastructures to software-defined networks (SDN) and outlined its strategy to lead the SDN market.

“SDN is a major shift in the networking industry,” said Bob Muglia, executive vice president, Software Solutions Division at Juniper. “At Juniper, we think the impact of SDN will be much broader than others have suggested. It will redefine networking and create new winners and losers.”

In seeking to position itself among the winners, Juniper will focus on six principles that address key challenges that customers face with networks today. The six principles are:

  • to cleanly separate networking software into management, services, control and forwarding layers
  • to centralize the appropriate aspects of those layers to simplify design
  • to use the cloud for elastic scale and flexible deployment
  • to create a platform for network applications, services and integration into management systems
  • to standardize protocols for interoperable, heterogeneous support across vendors
  • to broadly apply SDN principles to all networking and network services.

Juniper defines a set of four clear steps that can enable customers to start taking advantage of the promise of a SDN-enabled network.

Step one is to centralize network management, analytics and configuration functionality to provide a single master that configures all networking devices. The second step is to create service virtual machines for extracting networking and security services from the underlying hardware. Step 3 introduces “SDN Service Chaining” — using software to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic. It is a centralized controller that enables multiple network and security services to connect in series across devices within the network. The fourth step involves optimization of the usage of network and security hardware to deliver high performance.

While SDN steps one through three enable new network and security capabilities, optimized network and security hardware will continue to deliver 10 times or better performance for critical networking functions than can be accomplished in software alone.

“We’re embracing SDN with clearly defined principles, a four-step roadmap to help customers adopt SDN within their business, and the networking industry’s first comprehensive software-centric business model,” said Muglia. “We’re incredibly excited about the value that SDN will deliver to our customers and are committed to leading the industry through this transition.” Muglia discusses Juniper’s SDN strategy in a blog post.

New Licensing Model

Juniper also announced a new software licensing and maintenance model that enables customers to exploit software value over time. It allows the transfer of software licenses between Juniper devices and industry-standard x86 servers, and allows customers to scale their purchases based on actual usage. Juniper’s Brad Brooks discusses the new Juniper Software Advantage licensing, and value creation with SDN.

“SDN is frequently discussed in narrow terms rather than holistically, with solutions focused mostly in the forwarding and data planes, said Vernon Turner, senior vice president research at IDC. “Juniper’s approach is one of the most comprehensive that we’ve seen to date from any networking provider — from both a technology and business model perspective.”

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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