Juniper Goes All In On Network Disaggregation

Networking vendor launches disaggregated Junos software and new data center switch plus new NFV products.

Marcia Savage

November 3, 2015

3 Min Read
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Juniper Networks on Tuesday unveiled a disaggregated version of its flagship Junos software, a move that Juniper executives billed as providing customers with true choice in how they deploy their networking gear.

The disaggregation of Junos will allow users to run the software on third-party switches supporting the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE). It also allows customers to install third-party applications such as automation and programming tools or services like deep packet inspection directly on Juniper switches via a VM or container.

Juniper is committed to separating software from hardware as the networking industry -- and Juniper itself -- shifts to a software focus, Jonathan Davidson, Juniper executive VP and general manager of development and innovation, told networking pros Tuesday at the company's inaugural NXTWORK customer summit in Santa Clara, Calif.

"It's not your grandfather's Junos anymore," he said. "We want to be able to enable real choice," he said.

Juniper also launched a new data center access switch, the QFX5200, as the first to support the disaggregated Junos. The new switch (pictured below) features multi-speed capability, from 10GbE to 100GbE, including support for the new 25GbE and 50 GbE speeds. Customers can buy the switch with Junos or buy the hardware and software separately. With ONIE compatibility, the switch can support a third-party network operating system.

Figure 1:

Davidson said Juniper plans to disaggregate more of its switching portfolio over the next year.

Late last year, Juniper took a big step into the open networking movement when it launched its OCX1100 switch, which combines Junos with a hardware design from the Facebook-led Open Computing Project.

On Tuesday, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim said customers are asking for white-box switches and the ability to choose best of breed hardware and software capabilities for better agility. "This is a transformation Juniper intends to lead," he said.

While it pledges a commitment to enabling its software to run on third-party hardware, though, Juniper remains committed to developing custom silicon, executives said. "The fact is there's still room for innovation in silicon technology," Rahim said.

Juniper's disaggregated version of its mature network OS represents a first for a traditional network vendor, Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said in an email interview. But he added that large companies are currently the ones that show the most interest in complete network disaggregation -- running any OS on any switch.

Expanded NFV portfolio

On Tuesday, Juniper also launched Cloud CPE, a software suite designed to speed service delivery for service providers and enterprises. The suite includes Juniper's Contrail Service Orchestration management platform and NFX250 appliance.

Davidson described Contrail Service Orchestration as providing turnkey automation capabilities. The management software is designed to support virtual network functions (VNFs) from both Juniper and third parties.

The NFX250 is a 1RU x86 device that sits at customer premises and runs multiple virtual services from Juniper and third parties. "It's not a router or a switch. It's whatever you want it to be," Davidson said, explaining that customers can put whatever functions they need on the device and easily update them.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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