Juniper increases flexibility of its data-center automation and assurance platform

Juniper Networks' Apstra software now supports ‘anything goes’ data-center reference designs

Working in the data center

Juniper Networks has expanded the features of its Apstra intent-based networking software to include broader configuration and multiprotocol support, and has added a new licensing scheme.

The latest version of Apstra includes a feature called Freeform Reference Designs  for designing data-center networks that support any protocol, topology or network domain. Data center reference designs are offered by all major data center players and typically feature validated, repeatable infrastructure system maps on how networked resources are configured.

The addition of Freeform brings the number of Apstra reference designs to four, including leaf/spine and EVPN, with Freeform representing an “anything goes” option that fits customers’ business needs while taking advantage of Apstra capabilities, according to Ben Baker, senior director, Cloud/DC Marketing & Business Analysis with Juniper.

Apstra keeps a real-time repository of configuration, telemetry, and validation information to ensure the network is doing what IT teams want it to do. It also includes automation to provide consistent network and security policies for workloads across physical and virtual infrastructures. Baked-in analytics capabilities perform regular network checks to safeguard configurations.

The software extends its intent-based networking features to support any protocol and topology. “Some protocols don’t fit neatly into existing data center reference design so there are many more options with Freeform,” Baker said. This makes it easier to adapt or roll out new data center designs with the confidence they will work as expected, he said.

“Asptra’s Freeform, extends the addressable market, through a broader customization capability, to organizations that are less cloudlike in their network topologies, protocol utilization, and overall network architectures,” said Brad Casemore, research vice president, Datacenter and Multicloud Networks at IDC. 

“Apstra hitherto has offered relatively comprehensive intent-based network automation, from [design through maintenance stages of deployment], for those looking seeking to deploy a modern leaf-spine topologies leveraging EVPN BGP VXLAN implementations. More traditional environments were not as fully addressed, and Freeform represents Apstra and Juniper’s response to those requirements,” Casemore said.

Apstra software is now available in three-tiered pricing model—standard, advanced, and premium—depending on features.

Apstra 4.1.1 is available now.

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