Interop: Juniper Lifts Curtain On JunosV SDN Controller Earlier Than Expected

Juniper Networks unveiled its bold, four-part vision

Juniper unveiled the new controller, which is an open, standards-based controller purpose-built for software-defined networks, at the Interop 2013 event, taking place this week in Las Vegas.

The JunosV Contrail Controller, which came into Juniper's portfolio through its December 2012 acquisition of Contrail Systems, is launching earlier than expected. At its partner conference in January, Juniper said the new controller would go to market sometime in 2014. Now, according to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, the product will be available for purchase sometime during the second half of 2013, under the Juniper Software Advantage licensing program.

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The JunosV Contrail Controller is being targeted largely at enterprise customers and cloud service providers, and it is designed to provide network-wide visibility and automation, two of the main goals behind SDN as a whole. Juniper described the new controller as a means to virtualize any IP-based physical network, as well as a way to provide compute, storage and networking on-demand.

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The new JunosV Contrail Controller also leverages what Juniper dubbed a "Big Data for Infrastructure" approach, meaning it integrates network monitoring, compliance and diagnostics while allowing users to view both real-time and historical application-level traffic between logical and physical networks.

Juniper said another key feature of the new JunosV controller is its ability to "infinitely scale," even across hybrid clouds and disparate data centers. This, Juniper said, helps ensure an "always-available" cloud that's not held back by the scalability limitations of physical routing and services gear.

"That’s what any overlay-oriented, SDN controller needs to do," said Bob Muglia, Juniper's executive vice president, software systems, during his keynote Wednesday at Interop. "Our JunosV Contrail Controller ... provides support for precisely these functions."

The JunosV Contrail Controller, Muglia said, is currently in beta. The product is being tested by Fortune 500 global service providers, including AT&T, along with enterprise customers.

The new controller is part of Juniper's broader Junos Services Platform, which also consists of Juniper's JunosV App Engine. The Junos Services Platform is capable of being used across multivendor networks, meaning users won't have to rip and replace their existing networking gear to use the technology.

In addition to its Junos Services Platform, Juniper said a significant piece of its SDN story will be optimizing its own hardware, such as its MX routers, to work specifically with its JunosV App Engine. Back in January, Juniper also vowed to centralize elements of its network management and configuration technologies and separate its Junos networking software into four distinct planes -- management, services, control and forwarding -- as it moves into the SDN space.

SDN has been a major theme throughout this year's Interop, and has been top-of-mind for networking vendors over the past year, particularly with the growth of cloud services, mobility and big data applications. Research firm IDC recently projected the SDN market to be worth a whopping $3.7 billion by 2016.