Juniper Expands Availability of OpenLab Test Facility to Small Firms

Through the Solutions Incubation Program, Juniper officials want ISVs and startups to use their hardware and software to develop products.


Juniper Networks is opening its OpenLab incubation facility to software developers and startups looking to create solutions for virtualized networks.

The company has been running the OpenLab facility in New Jersey since 2012 to give customers, partners and researchers a place to leverage Juniper's hardware, software and interfaces to create integrated networking services and software.

A broad array of organizations—from Akamai Technologies to the University of Pennsylvania engineering team to InterCloud Systems—has utilized the physical and virtual technologies in the facility, according to Juniper officials.

Now the networking vendor wants to make available the OpenLab offerings to third-party vendors and startups, the company announced Sept. 15. The Solutions Incubation Program enables these independent software vendors (ISVs) and other companies to leverage the infrastructure and other tools in OpenLab to research and develop new networking solutions.

The problem for many of these companies is cost, according to Jerry Passione, general manager of Juniper's OpenLab. It costs a lot of money to acquire the hardware and software needed to create a networking infrastructure that can be used as a test bed for solutions that are being developed, and that cost can hinder innovation, Passione wrote in a post on the company blog.

Through the Solutions Incubation Program, Juniper officials want to give these smaller companies access to the infrastructure and expertise they need to develop their software and services.

"It will give participants access to the assets they need to build an integrated 'proof of concept' solution, including physical co-working and conference space, subject matter expertise, relevant software and hardware assets, access to formal training offering, and managed assistance in reaching customers and partners," Passione wrote. "The goal is to spark innovative solutions and allow our customers to seize the benefits of this new networking application creativity."

Software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) are changing the networking space for enterprises, telecommunications vendors and service providers by putting the control plane and networking tasks into software, enabling infrastructures that are more programmable, agile, scalable and affordable.

They also have "created a need for programmable solutions that enable network analytics and/or the dynamic provisioning of network resources," Passione wrote, noting that enabling third-party vendors to leverage Juniper's technologies will be a boon for the company's users. "As our customers look for solutions to cost-optimize their networks, innovative third-party management or provisioning applications that can integrate seamlessly with Juniper’s hardware and software are invaluable."

He also noted that while similar incubator programs help companies with business development and market research efforts, Juniper's program is aimed at the technology needs of smaller businesses, many of which would not otherwise have the resources to explore SND and NFV. And given the expected growth in the market, companies of all sizes will want to be involved.

Analysts with IHS Infonetics expect the SDN market will grow from $781 million last year to $13 billion in 2019, driven in part by growing demand by enterprises and smaller cloud service providers as well as the increasing availability of branded bare-metal switches.