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You Want Space? Juniper Gives You Space

The fight for the data center continues with Juniper's Space, a centralized management framework which consists of a management server and a development program with APIs and an SDK to integrate applications with Juniper's Junos operating system. One the one hand, Space is just a management and orchestration platform with integration hooks much like HP's Insight. What makes Space unique and interesting is the developer program and the potential of opening the API and SDK to developers and enterprises alike.

Space is delivered as a virtual machine appliance or a physical appliance starting at $15,000. Space comes with a sixty day free trial so you can try before you buy. Depending on the size of the Juniper deployment, the more points, the more expensive the product. Installations at less than one thousand points will remain free.

Space is open, meaning it uses standard protocols like SNMP, Netconf, SSH, and SOAP to configure devices. Vice President and General Manager of the Junos Space Business Unit, Mike Harding, said in an interview that Space can be used to manage any vendor's device that uses standard management protocols or an XML interface, though the latter may require custom development.

The Space developer program is currently by invitation. Harding said they plan to open the developer program to anyone by mid 2010, which includes the ability to download the SDK and Space virtual machine. Developing for Space is one thing, but without a Juniper device running Junos, building and testing an application would be impossible. Harding wouldn't commit to making a Junos simulation environment available, but we bet there is one in the works. Juniper is looking at a distribution model similar to Apple's iPhone app store where applications submitted to Juniper are tested to make sure they are not malicious and adhere to a coding standard.

Store applications will receive first level support from Juniper, but you will need to rely on the developer to troubleshoot and repair any problems. Applications from partners that have a development partnership with Juniper will receive full support from Juniper. Harding said the split model allows Juniper to provide some control and assurance over the applications they distribute, while allowing customers to develop their own. This model is similar to the one that Cisco, Extreme and 3Com use.

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