Juniper Expands NFV Efforts with Virtualized Router

The company's vMX 3D can run on x86 servers, helping customers to rapidly scale their networks and quickly spin out services.

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Juniper Networks is looking to make it easier for carriers and enterprises to more rapidly embrace network-functions virtualization through the introduction of a virtualized version of its MX Series 3D edge router.

Juniper's vMX 3D Universal Edge Router is software that offers the same capabilities of its hardware relative but can run on x86-based servers, which will enable users to leverage their networking assets to rapidly spin out new services, according to company officials.

The unveiling of the virtualized router was one of several company officials made Nov. 6 that are designed to enable enterprises and service providers to build out networks that can take advantage of such capabilities as virtualization and automation.

The vMX 3D router, which will be available in the first quarter of 2015, will help carriers address the growing demands of end users for more customized services delivered immediately when they want them, according to Mike Marcellin, senior vice president for strategy and market at Juniper.

"We have taken the feature-rich MX router and we've optimized it for an x86 environment," Marcellin wrote in a post on the company blog. "Service providers will be able to scale up and down as quickly as they can deploy a virtual machine—that's minutes!"

The combination of the scalability of the physical MX routers—such as the MX2020, an 80T-bps system—and the agility of the virtualized routers will give carriers a flexible and dynamic network, he said.

Network-functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are designed to enable organizations to build more programmable, automated and cost-effective networking to meet the demands brought by such industry trends as mobility, cloud computing, big data and the nascent Internet of things (IoT). The networking control plane and tasks like load balancing and intrusion detection are taken out of expensive networking gear like switches and routers and put into software that can run atop commodity systems.

All this helps businesses—not only carriers that are dealing with changing customer demands, but also enterprises as they adopt private and hybrid clouds—more rapidly create customized services while keeping costs in check.

"We've virtualized our number-one selling routing platform so that our customers can increase service satisfaction, improve brand value and protect their profit margins," Rami Rahim, executive vice president of development and innovation at Juniper, said in a statement.

Along with the ability to run on x86 servers, the vMX router also runs Juniper's Junos OS network operating system, and can be orchestrated in the cloud by OpenStack or Juniper's Contrail controller. It also can be managed by the company's Junos Space offering.

In addition to the virtualized router, Juniper officials also announced Contrail Cloud, a software platform based on OpenStack that leverages compute, network, storage and virtualization technology to orchestrate and manage cloud resources.

"We assembled a 'Cloud in a Rack' solution that provides a turnkey way that we and our integration partners can deliver cloud infrastructure—from mOSS/BSS to virtualized network functions to a complete SDN+network+compute+storage solution," Marcellin wrote in his blog post."This will ensure our customers can move from static, pre-defined offerings to user-defined, dynamic services that they can monetize."

Juniper officials also announced Junos Continuity for its Junos DevOps portfolio that enables users to put in new hardware features and upgrades without having to update the OS version. Doing this lets businesses skip qualification testing, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Junos Continuity will be available in the first quarter.