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Juniper Networks’ Apstra 4.0 Release Removes Barriers To ‘Modernized’ Data Center Deployments

Apstra 4.0, the first software release since Juniper acquired the company this year, will help enterprises standardize, scale, and customize data center operations, while staying true to its vendor-agnostic roots, according to the networking giant.

Networking giant Juniper Networks has released a new version of its recently-acquired Apstra software in an update that honors the intent-based networking company’s vendor-agnostic nature. The latest update will help enterprises modernize and automate their data center operations, according to Juniper.

Apstra 4.0, formerly known as AOS which rolled out on Tuesday, will help businesses minimize the time and costs associated with deploying and managing their complex data center networks, Mike Bushong, vice president of data center product management for Juniper, told CRN.

Juniper acquired intent-based networking provider Apstra in a deal that closed in January for an undisclosed sum. Juniper said at the time that it would use Apstra’s technology to build on its plans to inject AI all over the network for greater automation, especially in the data center.

[Related: Juniper Networks’ Rami Rahim: ‘It Won’t Be Long Before Enterprise Is Our Largest Vertical’]

Apstra 4.0 — the first release under the Juniper portfolio — can help enterprises standardize, scale, and customize data center operations through connectivity templates that let IT teams create and reuse validated templates for their entire infrastructure, including servers, workloads and devices. The software can also inform network operators when anything unexpected happens or deviates from expectations, Juniper said.

The Apstra software helps partners differentiate on data center networking, Bushong said. “The axis of competition has shifted from the underlying boxes, and even the embedded software, to really what’s happening over the top to make management easier,” Bushong said. “What we see in this release is really moving that forward.”

Partners can use Apstra software for building over the top services, such as support or full managed services around data center networking. Apstra’s channel partners and end users say that one of the biggest selling points of the vendor's solution was that it supported multiple vendors; a feature that Juniper won‘t be changing, Bushong said.

“The idea of intent-based networking is that operators ought to spend time essentially specifying what the network should do and not so much time trying to translate that into vendor specific semantics and language that is used on the routers and switches,” he said. “Having [an IT team] become proficient in Cisco, Juniper, or Arista command line — that’s an artifact of the past. We want to be abstracting control.”

The latest version of Apstra supports VMware NSX-T 3.0 and Enterprise SONiC, in addition to previously supported data center switching from Juniper, Nvidia Cumulus, Arista Networks and Cisco.

“With this release, we’re reaffirming our absolute commitment to multi-vendor support,” Bushong added.

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