Juniper: New Network Automation Tools Simplify Data Center Operations

Among these updates, Juniper said, is the integration of Puppet Labs' automation software into its own Junos OS, an enhancement Juniper said will allow IT teams to simultaneously manage both compute and network infrastructures.

The new Puppet Enterprise for Junos OS also is meant to streamline common network device configuration changes, allowing server administrators to do things such as add virtual LANs to switch ports directly, rather than relying on the more traditional and time-consuming method of submitting change-request tickets to network administrators. The Puppet Enterprise for Junos OS software is available now on Juniper's MX Series routers, along with its EX and QFX Series switches.

[Related: Juniper And Guavus Join Forces, Create New Network Analytics Suite ]

Juniper said network management and automation is becoming a top priority for enterprise customers, especially for those moving toward software-defined networking and the cloud.

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"Management and orchestration of the network is the next difficult problem to solve," Calvin Chai, director of product marketing at Juniper, wrote in a blog post. "Three years ago, the conversation was centered mainly on the network topology and how the network needed to change to handle East-West traffic. Today, the conversation is shifting to how the network needs to adapt to changing application needs."

In addition to the new Puppet Labs software, Juniper said it has equipped its EX Series Switches, its QFX Series Switches and other products in its QFabric family with an OpenStack Networking plug-in to enable integration with OpenStack software. With OpenStack integration, Juniper said, users can streamline infrastructure management across public, private or hybrid clouds, and orchestrate compute, storage and network in concert with one another.

Juniper is a Gold member of the OpenStack community, along with other networking players including Cisco, Dell and Ericsson.

Lastly, Juniper said it has embedded zero-touch provisioning capabilities within its EX Series and QFX Series switches, an update that eliminates the need to manually provision new switches on a network. Juniper's Junos Space Network Director also will allow users to perform network configuration and monitoring tasks through a single pane of glass, Juniper said.

Joe Burke, vice president of Enterprise Storage/Security Virtualization and Network Group at Arrow ECS North America, a Juniper value-added distributor, said Juniper's focus on network automation couldn't have come at a better time, given the way virtualization and the cloud are transforming today's data center infrastructures.

"If you look at what's happening in the data center, there is a lot of noise and a lot of words that are associated with it," Burke said. "From my viewpoint, this data center transformation or data center convergence, which is all driven off the base of virtualization, it's really going to change the world we live in and change the way we do business."

Juniper's new network automation capabilities also ensure Juniper partners have a relevant offering for customers grappling with these changes, Burke said.

"So as the market progresses, and the way we do business changes over time, we have a very important role with Juniper and, indeed, the rest of the vendors on our line card to be able to really take that out to our reseller partners," Burke said. "It's about really helping them to be successful in a very much changing end-user environment."