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Introducing the Juniper Networks Open Converged Framework for High-IQ Enterprise Networks

by Juniper Employee ‎06-04-2014 07:45 AM - edited ‎06-05-2014 11:26 AM

Today, Juniper announced a new Open Converged Framework (OCF) for the enterprise network—an innovative approach that allows the convergence of wired and wireless networks from different vendors using open, published interfaces.


Additionally, we are proud to announce Aruba Networks as the first partner to utilize the OCF to integrate their WLAN products with Juniper switching and routing platforms, alleviating the problems commonly associated with scaling, securing and managing wired + wireless enterprise networks.


While the OCF is relatively straightforward on the surface, accomplishing the data plane integration across multiple product families is more involved than it might initially appear -- the rest of this blog describes how Juniper plans to deliver this integration.


What Has Changed in Enterprise Networks

Until recently, WLAN networks were primarily deployed as secondary “convenience” networks, under the assumption that users had only one wireless device, if any at all.   As work habits evolved and wireless devices proliferated, the WLAN network has become mission-critical. To handle the increasing number of devices, applications and traffic flows, legacy overlay WLAN network controllers must be constantly upgraded to relieve the stress on the wireless data path.


SDN:  Separation of Data and Control Planes

As we’ve seen with the SDN movement, there are significant advantages to separating the control and data planes for certain network services; in fact, this separation is the crux of SDN.  The WLAN is no exception; decoupling the control and data planes allows both elements to scale independently, which enables both systems to be purpose-built to address the requirements of high-scale networks.  In large-scale WLAN systems, customers no longer have to pay twice for data plane hardware; instead, they can leverage the capacity and performance of the hardware in their existing network. Additionally, control and data plane autonomy allows for higher levels of redundancy and availability. Lastly, collaboration apps like Microsoft Lync benefit from control and data plane separation, as they have to continue scaling based on voice and video demands from the modern day enterprise network.


While the Open Converged Framework will deliver these benefits to enterprise customers, we have been very careful to stick to some fundamental design principles, described below. 


OCF Design Principles

The Open Converged Framework adheres to the following four design principles.


1.  IT’S GOTTA BE OPEN: At the heart of the Open Convergence Framework is the open sourcing of the Juniper interface, which allows third-party product integration with the Juniper network. Enterprises deploying converged networks should be free to choose best-of-breed products without having to pay a “lock-in” tax by using closed and proprietary solutions. With this announcement, Juniper is making this new interface available to third-party systems to directly interface with the Juniper data plane, creating truly open opportunities for convergence.




2.  FOSTER ROBUST COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE TWO WORLDS: Any convergence platform needs to be a communication channel between the data and control planes. This channel, called the Open Convergence Protocol, defines how information is exchanged between a switch terminating the WLAN data plane and the WLAN control service. In this model, a WLAN controller manages the control and AP data paths while the client data path is terminated at the core switch. Client policies for network access, security and QoS are communicated to the switch by the WLAN controller using TMP.  Leveraging the programmability of the silicon found in the Juniper EX Series and MX Series platforms, a Juniper partner can implement this protocol and access the scalability and features of the Juniper switch infrastructure. 


3.  DO IT AT THE CORE OF THE NETWORK, NOT THE ACCESS:  Juniper’s vision for the Open Converged Framework is to enable service integration at multiple levels of the network – from core to aggregation to access.  The first release of the Open Convergence Framework will focus on core/aggregation convergence, with other options becoming available over time. For most large enterprise networks, service integration is likely to have the greatest impact at the core. With enterprise traffic predominantly moving north and south through the network, integrating services at the core lets customers leverage the capacity and resources found in these boxes for applying services. 


4.  PROGRAMABILITY IS KEY.  Programmability presents so many possibilities; open WLAN convergence via the Aruba partnership is just the first example of leveraging the programmable silicon in the EX Series and MX Series products for third-party data plane integration. This same open interface will be available to other partners in the future, with integration opportunities spanning fields such as security, policy, logging/reporting and others.


By integrating intelligence into the enterprise, customers have simpler networks to deploy and manage, with greater capacity by leveraging existing data plane investment, all while enabling new capabilities for advanced end-user services. An industry first, the Open Converged Framework not only enables new services on Juniper switches and routers, it also allows third-party services to integrate with the platforms.  


The Open Converged Framework is an exciting development for High-IQ enterprise network builders. Juniper and Aruba are delivering a future where customers can integrate best-of-breed services into the very fabric of their switching infrastructures, enabling new models for highly intelligent, highly optimized, highly open High-IQ networks.


Design and Architecture Center
About the Author
  • Amit is a Software Engineer in the Campus and Data Center Business Unit. Off late, he has been working on visualizing distributed systems and automatic anomaly detection.
  • Anil is a Sr. Cloud Technology Architect with Juniper Networks and focuses on Data center/cloud technologies such as VMware, SDN, Analytics and OpenStack etc
  • Anil Lohiya is a Principal Engineer in the Campus and Data Center Business unit in Juniper Networks. In his current role, he is leading some of the SDN and Network Virtualization initiatives.
  • Apoorva is a Software Engineer in the Campus and Datacenter Business Unit. In his current role, he is working on the development of SDN and network virtualization features on all Juniper platforms.
  • Douglas Richard Hanks Jr. is a Director of Product Management with Juniper Networks and focuses on solution architecture. He is certified with Juniper Networks as JNCIE-ENT #213 and JNCIE-SP #875. Douglas’ interests are network engineering and architecture for enterprise and service provider technologies. He is the author of the Juniper MX Series book by O'Reilly Media and several Day One books published by Juniper Networks Books. Douglas is also the co-founder of the Bay Area Juniper Users Group (BAJUG). Douglas can be reached on Twitter @douglashanksjr.
  • I am an Engineer with expertise in Data Packet Forwarding, Software Design & Programming with major domain expertise in QoS (Quality of Services). I have worked across the domains in Data communications field. I love water and am a good swimmer too.
  • Jai Kumar is a DE with Juniper Networks. He is one of the key architects of QFabric. He is also an author and architect of OpenFlow support on MX platforms, Open Convergence Framework (OCF) for converged wireless and wired networks, MPLS in data centers and Juniper Cloud Analytics Engine (an Open Analytics Platform). He holds 18 patents on various technologies.
  • Jonathan Davidson is executive vice president and general manager, Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI). In this role, he is responsible for driving strategy, development, and business growth for Juniper's entire portfolio including routing, switching, and security, as well as for the ongoing evolution of silicon technology and the Junos operating system. Prior to his current position, Davidson was senior vice president and general manager for Juniper’s Security, Switching and Solutions Business Unit (S3BU). In this role, he was responsible for leading innovation, growth and product development in data center, campus, branch, and cloud. Davidson joined Juniper in 2010 as vice president, Product Line Management for the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit where he was responsible for the product lifecycle management, strategy, implementation, solutions and go-to-market activity for a range of leading edge routing product families, such as the E, M and MX Series. Before joining Juniper, Davidson had a 15-year career in various leadership positions at Cisco.
  • Ken Briley is Data Center TME at Juniper Networks focused on Juniper switching product lines. Prior to Juniper Networks, Ken worked at Cumulus Networks as a TME supporting the dis-aggregation movement and before that he spent 15 years at Cisco Systems working in various roles: Technical Support, Technical Marketing Engineer, Network Consulting Engineer and Product Management. Ken has an MS in Electrical Engineering and is CCIE # 9754.
  • Lakshmi Namboori is a Senior Product Line Manager with Juniper Networks and focuses on datacenter switching portfolio and fabric architectures. Lead product manager for optical solutions and strategy and Enterprise solutions. She is certified in switching and routing technologies. She is CCIE # 15656. She held various roles in Cisco for 9 years before moving to Juniper. She is passionate about networking industry and her work.
  • Madhusudan HV is a Staff Engineer in Juniper Networks. He is passionate about Networking, Virtualization and Cloud technologies. At Juniper he is working on various integrations between Juniper Networks products and cloud solutions like VMware and OpenStack. He is a VMware Certified Professional (VCP).
  • Michael Pergament, JNCIE-SP #510, JNCIE-ENT #23, JNCIP-SEC
  • Raj is a Sr. Cloud Technology Architect with Juniper Networks and focuses on technologies such as VMware, SDN, and OpenStack etc.
  • Rakesh Dubey is the engineering head for Campus and Data Center business unit at Juniper Networks. He has been with Juniper for past six years leading multiple switching products.
  • Salman Zahid is Data Center Architect at Juniper Networks . Salman has been with Juniper for 4 years in this role and been part of the team that has driven double digit growth for switching product lines across all verticals. Prior to Juniper Networks, Salman spent 9 years in Cisco Systems in various roles ranging from Technical Marketing Engineer to Solution Architect for data centers. Salman has an MS in Electrical Engineering and is CCIE # 16406
  • Sriram is a Sr. Manager in the Campus and Datacenter Business Unit. He is part of the Network Director team and focuses on technologies such as VMware integration, OpenStack etc.