The Cloud Networking segment is driving the need for open standards. In 2013 an effort to define an open network switch was announced by the OCP forum. The focus was to develop specifications and reference boxes for open, OS agnostic top-of-rack switches. The term disaggregation is often used in this context. It refers to separation of the hardware from the software. This is a paradigm shift from the existing vertically integrated model. Customers now have the option to run a network OS of their choice on a standard switch hardware. What does this mean to Juniper?
Juniper welcomes "disaggregation" for a number of reasons. The primary reason being, it helps demonstrate and revalidate the salient features of Junos. This provides many options and flexibility to customers. They can purchase the hardware and choose to run whatever network operating system they want.
OCP hardware providers have many options to design their switches. On the processor side there are options based on Intel, PowerPC, ARM, etc while for data path forwarding there are options based on Broadcom, Intel, Mellanox ASICs etc.
The inherent architecture flexibility of Junos to run on these myriad variations and provide a coherent and consistent interface helps Juniper to quickly bring out platforms.
Junos is very feature rich. Figure 1, shows a list of selected data-center features (not an exhaustive list).
Figure 1 - Data Center Features
Network Management Security Compliance
Junos complies with existing customer security requirements for network management offering support for TACACS+ for Authentication, Authorization and Accounting. Customers are not forced to adopt LDAP for network management or overcome the challenges and limitations of sudo based user authentication and accounting native to Linux environments.
Junos has maturity associated with it in terms of feature completeness, stability, scalability and performance. This is in stark contrast when compared to new Whitebox/OCP software entrants who have limited software features and are unproven.
Programmability for OCX1100, the first switch to combine Open Compute Project (OCP) hardware design with carrier-class network operating system – Junos OS, will be supported via the Data Center API suite. The DC- API suite will provide a set of APIs for building software applications that run off-box or on-box. The API will provide access to HW resources, Junos and packet path on the switch. For example it is possible to build a user agent on OCX1100 that interacts with PFE (Trident 2), Junos and any other resources external to the switch.
Additionally, the OCX delivers an optimized feature set with a range of open software interfaces and automation capabilities such as:
Open, standards based programmatic interfaces including Python, which allows custom scripts and applications to interact with Junos
Support for native installation of tools in Junos, including Puppet and Chef which enables automation and provisioning
Support for 3rd party automation tools
Figure 2 shows a high level software architecture of Junos for OCP. ONIE (Open Network Install Environment) is an open source install environment that allows end-users to install a target network OS on the switch. More details on ONIE can be found at http://www.onie.org
Figure 2- Software Architecture
Juniper has announced support for an open switch built to the SNX-60A0-486F specification that Alpha Networks has submitted to OCP.
Disclaimer- The availability of certain features/APIs in a software release is a function of the capability of underlying forwarding ASIC, etc. This blog talks in generic terms about Junipers OCP solution and does not talk about release dates, availability, etc.