Skip Links

Juniper finally talks SDNs

Virtually silent while Cisco, others plot software-defined networking strategies, Juniper's pushes new software licensing model

By , Network World
January 15, 2013 12:16 PM ET

Network World - Juniper Networks at long last has laid out its software-defined networking (SDN) strategy, which includes a revamped software licensing plan that the company says will change its business model and differentiate it from competitors.

Juniper has been the least vocal of the major network vendors in articulating a strategy for attacking the SDN market -- a market that IDC expects to be worth $3.7 billion in 2016. Last year, rivals Cisco, HP, Brocade and Arista all initiated plans to harness SDNs in various ways to help customers transition to more flexible, virtualized networking architectures from those dependent on the proprietary characteristics of physical infrastructure. And Alcatel-Lucent recently disclosed funding of a year-old startup company focused on cloud SDNs.

While Juniper in December did spend $176 million to acquire SDN controller startup Contrail Systems, it has not been forthcoming about its overall SDN plans, other than dropping hints and suggestions at financial conferences and offshore trade shows.

MORE: Juniper exec gets into nitty-gritty of SDN plan

TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH IN 2013: Cisco products, more maturity for SDNs

This week, that changes. Juniper's plan includes six principles that the company claims address the most pressing challenges facing the networking industry over the next two years:

  • separate networking software into four planes -- Management, Services, Control and Forwarding -- to optimize each plane within the network;
  • centralize the appropriate aspects of the management, services and control software to simplify network design and lower operating costs;
  • use the cloud for scale and deployment, and to enable usage-based pricing;
  • create a platform for network applications, services, and integration into management systems;
  • standardize protocols -- including OpenFlow -- for interoperable, heterogeneous support across vendors;
  • and apply SDN principles to all networking and network services, including security, from the data center and enterprise campus to service provider mobile and wireline networks.

In addition to those six principles, Juniper outlined four steps customers can take to implement SDNs this year. Those include implementing a single, centralized master network management, analytics and configuration capability for all network devices for comprehensive insight of network operations; creating network and security service virtual machines by extracting service software from hardware and housing it on x86 servers; using a centralized controller that enables service chaining in software, or the ability to connect services across devices according to business need; and optimizing hardware for high performance SDNs.

Juniper had previously stated that it was looking to coalesce the industry around an open source-based de facto industry standard SDN controller to go up against Cisco's Insieme development and the one obtained by VMware through its acquisition of Nicira. But the company's stance has "evolved" since disclosing that intention last September.

Analysts say Juniper's strategy is consistent with the way the rest of the industry is adopting SDNs.

Our Commenting Policies
Latest News
rssRss Feed
View more Latest News