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SDN – Unleashing the Full Power of the Network

by Juniper Employee on ‎01-31-2013 08:42 AM

The need for software defined networking (SDN) is clear. Information Technology (IT) advancement is critical ITCoreBlocks.jpgfor breakthrough business advantages and leading businesses have created competitive differentiation by harnessing the full power of IT’s core building blocks, computing, storage and networking. But traditional networks have not kept pace with the improvements we’ve seen in virtualizing computing and storage, so the major shift brought about by SDN is that the network has become an equal participant in the orchestration stack to allow new value to be derived from IT investments. Now, more than ever, the network plays a pivotal role in driving business benefits for Enterprise and Service Provider customers, and Juniper has outlined a comprehensive vision and roadmap for customers to take advantage of SDN. (Read more in this blog post by Bob Muglia, Juniper’s Executive Vice President, Software Solutions Division: Decoding SDN)



What are the challenges of today’s legacy networks?  Traditional networks are inflexible and static, and were not designed for programmatic control. Network functions were hard-wired into chips, control and data planes were tightly coupled, architecture was monolithic, configuration was device-specific and generally manual and there were no well-defined APIs for sharing data path state with applications. This means that running these networks is challenging – both complex and costly – and deploying new applications and services takes way too much time.



At Juniper we have long held the view that the network must become a platform for innovation. Innovation lies in making the network an intelligent, programmable entity that uses information from within the network as well as that from applications and systems on top to make informed decisions to enable greater responsiveness to dynamic events, facilitate intelligent applications and allow optimal use of network resources.


Juniper’s vision for the network as an innovation platform was set into motion several years before SDN even had a name. We understood the fundamental attributes of programmability and started laying the foundation through network abstractions, automation schemes and programmatic interfaces.  We pioneered the decoupling of the control and data planes allowing the control plane to be run on an x86 server. We also created multi-layered workflow automations to allow workflows to interact with the network at different levels to accommodate the rate of change, and to enable customers to innovate independently, we published north- and south-bound APIs. We also adopted a philosophy of hybrid intelligence recognizing that the decision to centralize or distribute network functions is based on the domain.  So, for example, what gets centralized in a physically compact environment like the data center may be quite different from the optimal approach for a global IP network run by a major Service Provider.


Ultimately the network is only as good as the applications running on it.  The true value of networking comes from enabling dynamic awareness and control of the underlying topology by higher level applications where applications can direct the network about their needs and the network can be re-configured and re-provisioned accordingly. Simply put, SDN can provide better alignment between the network and the applications and systems that use them. In many ways, we have approached the network as a vast sensor array with visibility into traffic flows, security events, counters, usage data, etc., and have focused on exposing this network intelligence to OSS/BSS systems, management systems and other applications. We believe that enabling this closed loop, bi-directional interaction makes the network more robust and agile and the application and user experience more consistent.


We have held fast to the belief that a SDN platform must be architected from the ground up. The decisions one makes about what belongs in the silicon and what belongs in the platform and software have a direct impact on network scale, resilience, security and efficiency, and this is particularly true for SDN architectures in today’s hyper-scale, ultra dynamic environments with their high rate of change and level of complexity. 



From the outset, we designed our chips for scale, performance and fine-grained analytics, monitoring and behavior Juniperarchitecturalvision.jpgtracking. We did this through instrumentation and OAM protocols that alert orchestration systems about network state. This is particularly relevant in SDN architectures where overlays need to have visibility into network state like congestion. We have extended the value of our ASICs to SDN through Trio, a highly scalable, extensible chipset that is fully programmable and works seamlessly with Junos running topology-aware protocols like PCE, BGP and OpenFlow. Trio offers a very high degree of programmability without compromising performance or power efficiency. Trio is particularly powerful in handling high performance services like stateful flow accounting, which would run much slower on x86 processors. The Trio architecture derives its capability and efficiency from a Networking Instruction Set Processor (NISP) that is purpose-built for network forwarding tasks.



With Junos we have created an Enterprise and Carrier Class operating system common across our portfolio of networking products. The operational consistency that Junos brings across switching, routing, and security vastly simplifies the underlay network in an SDN architecture.  Junos includes native automation through built-in workflows that can be easily integrated with customer workflows. All functionality within Junos is exposed via XML, effectively providing a configuration channel for network operators. In addition, Junos is highly diagnosable and includes advanced instrumentation for co-relating and contextualizing network events allowing both applications and the network to be transparently tuned. A cross-domain, portfolio-wide operating system is particularly significant when chaining services because network operators do not need to deal with the complexity of stitching services across multiple operating systems each with a different control plane, management interface, forwarding, etc.


foundationnetransformation.jpgAt Juniper, the journey towards network transformation is exciting and starts at the foundation – the silicon, systems, and software that power the global Internet and large enterprise networks. 






Juniper Networks Technical Books
About the Author
  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • I am an experienced leader in the Information Experience (iX) industry. For over 20 years, I've led information organizations at Juniper, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle to deliver quality technical documentation and information products to customers and partners across the globe.
  • Bob Dix currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. During his career, he has served in senior leadership roles in industry and government, including serving as Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census during the 108th Congress. He represents Juniper on the Industry Executive Point of Contact for the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee ( NSTAC ), where he chaired the Cybersecurity Collaboration Task Force in 2009. He served as Chair of the Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council ( IT SCC ) from 2008 – 2010 and currently remains a member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Dix was elected in May, 2011 as Chair of the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security ( PCIS ). He also serves on the National Security Task Force for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the AFCEA Cyber Security Committee and Chairs the Supply Chain Assurance Subcommittee for TechAmerica. Additionally, Dix has actively worked to insure and coordinate private sector participation and collaboration with the National Exercise Program, intended to test our nation’s preparedness and resiliency. He served as Chair of the National Private Sector Working Group for National Level Exercise 2011 and 2010. In 2007 and 2009, Dix was honored with a prestigious Federal 100 Award, and was recognized in March, 2010 as the recipient of the annual FCW Industry Eagle Award. Dix also served as a local government elected official in Northern Virginia for 12 years and in his spare time coaches AAU/Travel girls basketball.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jerry oversees all aspects of OpenLab which serves as a catalyst to spark the development of new innovative software applications or solutions that leverage the power of SDN/network programmability and intelligence. OpenLab is unique within Juniper and with its polished facility, globally accessible lab, and educational programs – such as the SDN “hackathons,” it serves as a tool for customer, partners, and academia. Prior to this position, Jerry led the development, management and marketing of the company’s strategic partnerships for video/unified communications, optical networking, and content/media delivery. In addition to handling the day-to-day oversight of the partnerships, he established new cross-partner go-to-market processes to drive and manage joint field opportunities. Before joining Juniper, Jerry led the Lucent Technologies application hosting/service provider marketing organization. He has over 25 years of experience in the data networking field with a focus on strategic alliance development, marketing, and technical field support. Jerry possesses a BS degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University in New York. He is active as a Juniper ambassador within the technology and academic community which includes advisory board positions with both NJIT and Rutgers in New Jersey.
  • Kevin Walker is the Security Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper’s Development and Innovation (JDI) organization. He is responsible for driving the security strategy both internally within Juniper, and externally with investors, partners, influencers, and customers. He provides the guidance required for JDI to conceive, develop and create momentum for industry-leading security solutions. Working closely with the Security Engineering team, Walker identifies the opportunities for improved security, growth, and innovation to deliver the scalable, reliable, and compliant security architecture needed in today’s security landscape. Before joining Juniper, Walker was VP and Assistant Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at He has served as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Security Strategist and Director of Information Security across a number of notable companies including Intuit, Cisco, Symantec and VERITAS Software. With over twenty-five years in various computer science and information technology disciplines, focusing on enterprise applications, network design, and information security, Walker possesses research and engineering expertise across of range of technologies including networking protocols, securing applications at the atomic level, cryptography, and speech biometrics.
  • As Juniper’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Line Management, Kevin Hutchins is responsible for defining and enabling Juniper’s strategy from company vision into product execution. This includes driving the company’s inorganic growth through strategic partnerships, venture investments and acquisitions/divestitures. In addition, he is responsible for driving key strategic imperatives, including Juniper’s software strategy and transformation. Hutchins joined Juniper in 2010 as Vice President, Portfolio Management & Business Operations for Juniper’s Development & Innovation team where he led business planning, portfolio rationalization, new product introduction and execution of strategic programs across Juniper’s portfolio of routing, switching and security products.
  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training our partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated information experience for our customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is a Board Member for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Masum Mir is Vice President of Product, Solutions & Technical Marketing at Juniper Networks. Masum is responsible for the Switching product line, network management product line and optical technologies. Beside product leadership Masum also leads cloud strategy and solution architecture. Masum has 19 years of experience in communication and data networking industry with Expertise in Ethernet Switching, Data Center, Carrier Ethernet, Routing, overlay & network segmentation, Fabric technology & photonics technology.
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Pradeep Sindhu founded Juniper Networks in February 1996, and has held several central roles in shaping the company. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer, and is responsible for the company's technical roadmap as well as day-to-day design and development of future products. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for eight months when he founded the company. During that time, he played a central role in the architecture, design, and development of the M40 router.
  • Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Rahim was appointed CEO in November 2014. Rahim began his Juniper career in early 1997, as employee No. 32, and worked as an engineer on Juniper’s first breakthrough product, the M40 core router. Rahim has progressed through a series of technical and leadership roles at Juniper, applying his engineering acumen to the design and development of Juniper’s industry-leading product portfolio. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI) organization, overseeing the company’s entire product and technology portfolio. His responsibilities included driving strategy, development and business growth for routing, switching, security, silicon technology, and the Junos operating system. Other leadership positions held over the years include: Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform Systems Division for routing and switching, Senior Vice President of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit (EABU), and Vice President and General Manager of EABU.
  • As Chief Customer Officer, Vince Molinaro is responsible for driving the strategic and operational elements of the Sales, Marketing, Partners, Services and Support functions at Juniper Networks. He leads a global organization of more than 3,500 professionals that includes direct and indirect sales, systems engineering, advanced technologies and field operations. Molinaro brings more than 25 years of professional experience in engineering, product management, marketing, sales and operations to his worldwide role. He joined Juniper in 2009 and led the strategy and go-to-market execution for the company’s global service provider business. He was named EVP, Worldwide Sales in 2013 before assuming his current role in February 2014. Prior to joining Juniper, Molinaro held senior leadership positions at a number of technology companies including Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and Internap Network Services. He has extensive domestic and international experience having lived and managed large organizations throughout Europe and the U.S. Molinaro holds a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from University of Bridgeport. He is based out of the Juniper Networks facility in New Jersey, home of OpenLab, The Junos and SDN Center for Innovation.
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