I am often asked what I think about SDN, whitebox, and how the industry will change over the next several years. While there is no perfect answer to any of these questions, what I can state emphatically is that if you listen to what your customers are saying and help them solve their top business challenges, you will be in good shape to weather any rapidly changing market forces.
The Data Center market is changing fundamentally – driven primarily by the requirements for agility in the public and private cloud. In order to respond to the business requirements for a more agile Cloud, and therefore a more agile NETWORK in their Data Center, Juniper is executing on a multi-phase plan to assist our customers in their path to greater agility.
Step 1: Creating agility and saving OPEX in your Data Center - Shipping
I categorize three types of solutions for automation depending upon what a customer has installed currently and how they plan to evolve their network to support their Cloud Building requirements.
Type 1: The “Do It Yourselfer”: Customers who focus on building their own automation environments, sometimes totally homegrown and sometimes leveraging some public tools.
Type 2: VMWare: VMWare solves compute virtualization and this customer type requires a tightly integrated solution. (with or without network virtualization)
Type 3: Openstack/Cloudstack: A requirement to build a scalable public or private cloud without being beholden to any one vendor
Type 1 (DIY) customers are enabled by leveraging the broad set of tools inherent scripting and building applications (SDK, Python, Puppet, Chef, etc..) inside of JUNOS. If you are using Puppet or Chef in your compute environment today, then I highly recommend expanding it to your Top of Rack environment as it is likely the fastest way to automate simple VLAN Moves/Adds/Changes.
Type 2 VMware network automation issues are solved by utilizing Junos Space Network Director. JSND ensures that you no longer have to provision the physical network anytime you do a move/add/change of any VM. In addition, JSND gives you the ability to see historical trending of VMs – something VCenter doesn’t offer. Putting all VLANs on all ports in your switching fabric – this is no longer required and a poor operating model. Now, your orchestration system can invoke the management system to instantiate a VLAN, move a VLAN or change a VLANs location.
Type 3 customers require an open and scalable method for connecting to their physical infrastructure or to deploy network virtualization (overlay). Juniper has made available plug-ins for both Openstack and Cloud Stack.
Step 2: A whole new level of availability – Seven 9’s in the Data Center rack - Shipping
2a. The ability to do In Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) on a single Route Engine is a phenomenal feat. The QFX5100 supports ISSU enabling you to upgrade to new versions of JUNOS with a sub-second impact to the data plane. The software is available now on Juniper.net. I highly recommend you try it in your environment.
Step 3: Run any application on any OS on the QFX5100 - Shipping
3a. You have your own dedicated Virtual Machine which enables you to run any OS, any application, anytime on the x86 Route Engine without impacting the routing or switching functions happening on the QFX5100. These applications run on dedicated cpu core(s), memory and storage thus assuring isolation of user applications/services from network critical applications. Additionally, the application can have direct connectivity outside of the platform without having to go through JUNOS.
Step 4: A whole new way to configure JUNOS - Future
4a. All CLI inside of JUNOS will be accessible through a JSON interface to enable you to automate through your own preferred tools.
Step 5: Full control plane and data plane access through RESTful APIs - Future
5a. RESTful APIs enable access to the JUNOS control plane as well as the ability to interface directly to the data plane.