Juniper Opens OS To Third-Party Developers, Taking Stab At Cisco


Juniper Networks Monday released a platform that allows partners and customers to develop applications on Juniper's JUNOS carrier-class network operating system, a capability lacked by every other major networking vendor, including Cisco Systems.

Juniper's Partner Solution Development Platform, or PSDP, opens the door for partners and customers to accelerate innovation for developing new revenue-generating services for their businesses while improving overall network operations productivity, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor said.

Cathy Gadecki, manager of JUNOS product marketing for Juniper, said systems integrators, solutions providers and partners are looking for ways to customize their offerings to clients. Offering partners access to routing features and data streams can help them integrate applications specific to clients' needs, such as extending command line interfaces, security services and real-time collaborative applications like voice and video.

"Allowing deeper and tighter integration lets value added and channel partners help companies do something in a very customized, targeted way," Gadecki said.

One partner of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, who asked not to be identified, said opening up the OS is a significant development.

"This increases the opportunity for integrators to customize to deeper levels that you wouldn't be able to do without it," he said. "Customers can be more responsive to the services they're offering. Cisco doesn't have anything like this.

"[Juniper] will definitely be the only one offering this," he continued. "But you can expect Cisco will be trying for something like this very soon if they're not working on it already."

Cisco representatives declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.

The PSDP includes a software development kit with intelligent and secure interfaces to JUNOS routing and service functions in a UNIX development environment. Such tools give partners and customers greater choice and control in designing, developing and deploying specialized applications like event-optimized routing, customized bandwidth management, advanced security services and extended operations toolsets.

Access to PSDP technology, along with technical and business support, is available through Juniper's Open IP Solution Development Program for customers and partners. It will be available through an annual licensing program. Gadecki said each JUNOS release is a superset of the release the preceded it. That, coupled with the software's modularity, enables Juniper to open up its OS.

The Cisco partner said PSDP could spark more fevered competition between Juniper and Cisco, especially in the carrier class and service provider spaces and their respective channels.

"This capability could be a deal maker," he said. "I don't see much of an impact in the short term, but in the long term it could sway things one way or another between the vendors."

According to Tom Nolle, president and CEO of CIMI Corporation, a research and consulting firm, network operators want to leverage the value of their networks to increase revenue and profits, but they also want to differentiate their services using other means than price.

"Juniper's opening of JUNOS to partner development offers operators a way to build valuable features into their networks, features that can both differentiate existing services and create new and valuable offerings," Nolle said. "The decision to open a router OS is a bold move that can be made only by a vendor with a long history of stability, security and straightforward standardized releases. Juniper fits that model."

Nolle said Juniper is offering the mechanics to let partners develop applications that run resident inside the router, which in turn run resident inside the network, will allow partners to offer more unique services and capabilities. Nolle agreed that these capabilities are not supported by Cisco today.

Nolle added the biggest impact is the being able to add custom new value to the network.

"If I'm investing in a network, I need to make my offering more than just pushing bits around," he said.

Still, the Cisco partner said he's worried about Juniper's execution of PSDP.

"I'm worried about the management of it," he said. "Once you open it up, how do you put in the checks, balances and controls? There will be more people and services to tie into it and that could get tricky."