Juniper Unveils New Switch, Software for SDN, BYOD
Juniper Networks officials are preparing to introduce new networking hardware and software aimed at helping enterprises handle the influx of mobile users and devices that are hitting their networks.
The new offerings, announced April 4, are part of Juniper's efforts to give businesses more agile networks and a more holistic view of their infrastructures as they look to deal with such trends as software-defined networking (SDN), big data and bring your own device (BYOD), and the slew of next-generation applications coming from virtualized and cloud environments.
"More people and more devices are accessing the network," Dhritiman Dasgupta, senior director of product marketing for Juniper, told eWEEK. "The only thing not growing is their IT budget."
Dasgupta said Juniper is looking to leverage its broad range of capabilities—from switches and routers to security, mobile and management—to give businesses the tools they need to take a holistic view of their networks rather than having to integrate a bunch of point products from multiple vendors. This will be particularly important in an era of cloud services, server virtualization and rich media applications, where networks must quickly adapt to rapid changes and handle changing compute, storage and application demands.
"Enterprises need to take an end-to-end, holistic approach," he said. "That is where the battlefield [among vendors] is going to be going forward."
The new offerings from Juniper are designed to give businesses a more complete and agile networking infrastructure for both their data center and campus environments. Included in the offerings is the new EX9200 Programmable Switch, which features high-levels of programmability—from the silicon through the software and system—a key factor in SDNs, Dasgupta said.
"SDN will change the way businesses build and operate networks," he said.
SDNs, which essentially take the network intelligence from the hardware and put it into a software-based controller, aim to create more flexible, dynamic, programmable and scalable networks that can more easily respond to changing business demands. Established networking vendors—including Juniper and Cisco Systems—are building out their SDN offerings, while competing not only with a growing number of SDN-focused startups, but also larger companies like VMware and Oracle that are looking to add to their overall data center solutions capabilities.
Juniper's EX9200 is built on the Juniper One Programmable ASIC, leading to greater automation and interoperability without the need of additional hardware. Dasgupta said that is the key differentiator for Juniper over what rivals are offering, which he said requires a more rip-and-replace approach. The EX9200 Virtual Chassis reduces the number of network devices and layers by 50 percent, and will ship with 1/10/40 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Juniper also will add 100GbE capabilities later this year.
The switch also offers built-in support for Juniper's virtual WLAN controller, another key part of the new product rollout. The JunosV Wireless LAN Controller will offer businesses even greater levels of reliability and flexibility while also reducing capital costs, according to Juniper officials.
The virtual WLAN controller is designed to run on any combination of physical x86 appliances, in a virtual machine or—later—directly on Juniper's switches. By enabling the WLAN to run as a service on the network, Juniper is giving enterprises greater flexibility by enabling functions such as controller cluster, in-service software upgrades and local switching to be placed anywhere in the infrastructure, rather than being tied to a specific location. This helps businesses address such trends as BYOD and needs such as seamless integration between wired and wireless networks, company officials said.
Other vendors also are looking to merge wired and wireless networks. For example, Cisco is pushing such integration under its Unified Access initiative. In January, Cisco unveiled its Catalyst 3850 Unified Access switch and 5760 Unified Access WLAN controller, both based on its new Unified Access Data Plane ASIC, which converges wired and wireless traffic on to a single data plane.
Juniper also is rolling out its Junos Space Network Director, a single campus management offering that enables businesses to manage their wired and wireless infrastructures, users, applications and services from a central point and better handle the influx of devices and applications coming onto the network. Enterprises can better "track the users, not the method by which they access the network," Dasgupta said.