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Juniper Networks Expands NFV Portfolio

November 04, 2015

It is always a good idea to keep an eye on news coming out of solution provider customer events for what are obvious reasons. A great example is all of the cloud computing news from the recently concluded Oracle OpenWorld.  And when it comes to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Juniper Networks NXTWORK 2015 Customer Summit has proven to be a rich source of noteworthy items thanks to the company’s significant expansion of its NFV portfolio.

At the event, attendees were introduced to Juniper’s new Cloud CPE. This is a fully automated, end-to-end NFV that builds on Juniper’s Contrail Networking to scale across all models – whether on-premises or in the cloud. The goal according to Juniper is “to make service delivery from an end user’s perspective as easy as downloading a new app.”

Indeed, as Juniper points out, the reason NFV is attracting so much attention and gaining traction is the sense of urgency communication service providers are feeling to be operationally more efficient while simultaneously being fast to market and fast in the market delivering high-performance, secure new services.  The old days where service creation, deployment and fulfillment took months is not an alternative. 

The expanding Juniper NFV portfolio

When Juniper says it is expanding their NFV portfolio this is not an understatement.  New capabilities being added include:

  • Contrail Service Orchestration: Due for availability in December of this year, this is an integrated set of design, automation and orchestration software solutions built on an open framework, which is designed to enable third-party virtual network functions (VNFs) to be easily supported and integrated with no disruption to existing applications. It manages virtualized network services such as virtual security.
  • NFX Series Network Services Platforms:  Operate as secure, software-driven, on-premises devices with added automation and the flexibility to run multiple virtual services to enable dynamic service creation in an open environment. The 1 RU NFX250, which runs both Juniper and third-party virtual network functions is expected to be available during the first half of 2016.
  • Professional services:  As could be expected in support of the new Cloud CPE solution, Juniper is adding new professional services which include: Cloud CPE Assessment Service, NFV OSS Assessment Service and NFV Lifecycle Service. This will support customers and partners in their evaluation of technology choices and help them plan the integration of new capabilities into existing network infrastructures.

The latter point is important as while NFV is in many ways revolutionary in terms of the long-term view of what a next generation network needs to be, it is a revolution that will be evolutionary for a variety of reasons including the avoiding major operational disruptions of people and processes both internally and throughout the Juniper value chain and because CSP networks by their very nature are heterogeneous, i.e., have multiple solutions from multiple vendors over various ages and be with roles, responsibilities and skills will have to be retooled as well.

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Commenting on the announcement, Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager, Juniper Development and Innovation at Juniper Networks said: “As more and more of our service provider customers look to realize real business value from SDN and NFV, the need to have flexible solutions that effectively scale is critical. With the innovations we’re announcing today, service providers will be able to harness the power of scale-out services to improve their service delivery economics. For us at Juniper, it’s all about infusing automation into our customers’ networks to reduce time to market and speed time to revenue.” 

Nav Chander, research manager, Enterprise Telecom at IDC echoed those comments saying: “Juniper is taking a very holistic approach with the enhancements to its NFV portfolio by offering end-to-end network service delivery and orchestration. They are making it easier for service providers to offer customized services both on the customer premise and in the cloud, which will not only be advantageous to them, but also to their enterprise customers.” 

IT should be noted that at NXTWORK 2015, Juniper also introduced:

  • A disaggregated version of the Junos software to provide customers with the ability to deploy third-party network services or applications directly on Juniper platforms, as well as the option to program directly to Juniper systems using the Open Compute Project-defined software model.
  • New QFX5200 access switches
  • Rapid implementation of its Juniper Networks MetaFabric™ architecture
  • Juniper Networks Contrail SDN technologies across leading converged and hyper converged stack solutions

As many industry observers have noted, NFV is rapidly moving from PoC and trials to implementation. In fact, the speed at which NFV has been moving given this is about a fundamental change in network architecture has been almost unprecedented which is good news for all stakeholders.  What this means is that the pace of innovation is accelerating and portfolio expansions are going to be coming fast and furious as the use cases continue to prove every more compelling. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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