Juniper unveils cloud-based lab for customer testing

Junosphere Lab allows virtual evaluation environment for Juniper gear

Juniper is harnessing the cloud to make it easier and less expensive for customers to test its products.

Juniper this week unveiled the Junosphere Lab, a virtual environment for designing, testing and operating Juniper-based networks. Junosphere Lab is cloud-based and designed to allow enterprise and service provider customers to create and run networks on-demand so they can model, test and plan at a scale that's impractical for physical, on-premise facilities.

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Companies can "rent" Junosphere Lab networks for $50 per day -- $5 per virtual machine, with a minimum of 10 VMs -- which Juniper says is a dramatically lower cost than operating an on-premise physical lab. With the virtual lab, customers can roll out new services more quickly, improve planning and better prepare for network changes, Juniper says.

Juniper's Junosphere strategy may translate into more customers for the company.

"They're trying to become a network software company," says Lee Doyle, IDC group vice president and general manager, Network Infrastructure and Security Products and Services. "In order to do that, Juniper needs people using JUNOS."

Doyle says the Junosphere Lab offering is a "seeding" effort to grow its JUNOS base.

"They're providing the tools, access, and for low money," Doyle says. "To the extent that Juniper can get more people to use JUNOS, the better it is for them."

Customers can also use Junosphere Labs as a substitute for or a supplement to physical test labs, Juniper says. To do that, Juniper also introduced Junosphere Connector, an optional application that enables users to connect their Junosphere networks to physical networks or lab environments.

Junosphere Labs also includes and interoperates with applications and products from select Juniper partners, such as Cariden Technologies for traffic management and simulation; Mu Dynamics for application modeling; Packet Design for Layer 3 visibility across an IP network; Spirent for testing and validating the performance of virtualized and cloud computing environments; and WANDL, for network planning, design and optimization.

Junosphere Lab is available now.

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