The Tao of NetComm
Juniper Employee , Juniper Employee Juniper Employee
The Tao of NetComm
Is every individual the same? Is every network the same? Why should every networking vendor be the same? (Part 2)
Nov 5, 2014

Part1 of this blog, was a reaction to Scott Shenker’s SDNv2.0 sequel announcement at the Internet2 technology conference. Here we go over Juniper’s approach of bringing in all the SDN goodies that were glossed over by the initial OpenFlow approach.


For those of you who are interested - yes, some of the Juniper routing and switching products also support OpenFlow! OpenFlow is not SDN and SDN is not OpenFlow. It is akin to having a small tool in your kit. This is something that Juniper had stated right at the start of the SDN wave. There were predictions of the big bad wolf - SDN and OpenFlow eating away at Junipers’ lunch. Against this picture of gloom and doom outside, is Juniper inside, buzzing - a hive of innovation. At this point let me say this, Juniper is strongly positioned compared to other vendors to ride the SDN wave - while keeping it’s lunch, and here’s why:


Ability to integrate the physical and virtual - Juniper can provide integration between the physical (underlay) and virtual (overlay) in both VMware (NSX) and OpenStack environments. Contrail was an SDN controller which Juniper acquired and can even provide integration with non Juniper physical (underlay). Now, add to any of those the capability of being able to visualize, monitor and analyze both the physical and virtual layers and this is really big. Now add on to that the capability of being able to correlate what is happening in your physical and virtual networks and this becomes huge! It gives you the entire gamut of capabilities that will help you grow, operate and maintain your data center network infrastructure. Compare this to OpenFlow! 


Data Center Interconnectivity/ WAN - OpenFlow is limited to routing and switching within a data center. With all due  respect, so are some of our competitors who are in fact point players. The problem is this - once you start virtualizing your network, it becomes time to extend that connectivity - both physical and virtual across data centers. We have the credentials and the capabilities to provide that end to end connectivity. Juniper brings in the proven routing expertise to help you migrate workloads or provide location free access to the assets by stretching physical and virtual segments seamlessly across data centers with technologies like OVSDB and EVPN that are standards based and scalable  


Private and Hybrid cloud support - When you want to start moving towards the cloud, OpenFlow really cannot help you. Based on your business requirements your choices are a private and/ or hybrid cloud.  When you want to build a tailored, private cloud, Juniper provides you integration with VMware stack. This comes from VMware NSX gateway capabilities on the routing and some of the switching products. 

The combination of Contrail SDN controller, OpenStack orchestrators and Universal SDN Gateway platform give you the ability to control and develop your own custom cloud implementation. What’s more, Contrail is based on BGP/MPLS so if you already have MPLS in your network, you do not have a steep learning curve.

What happens to those of you who want the best of both worlds? Juniper provides a common network transport and allows you to run a hybrid cloud. So you can choose your approach - off the shelf or bespoke based on your business requirements and Juniper can support you. Yes, you have the control and Juniper works with you - you can get creative if you like but your business agility will not take a hit.


Open architectures and investment protection - While certain other competing vendors have been locking-in customers, Juniper has been a strong proponent of OPEN - technologies, architectures and standards. OpenContrail is a great example. Another one is the MetaFabric architecture that brings together the physical and virtual data center realms. MetaFabric is a great example of Juniper’s solutions being both open and protecting investment. It lets you evolve seamlessly, at your pace towards SDN or cloud - take those steps of virtualizing and/ or automating your network without having to rip and replace your infrastructure each time. 


Having discussed the breadth of how Juniper approaches SDN, the conclusion is that OpenFlow is not a “bad protocol” just myopic - limited in its scope and where it can be deployed.