Monday, September 16, 2013

Juniper Launches Contrail SDN

Juniper Networks announced the commercial launch of its Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) solution for enterprise data centers and Service Provider networks.
The company said the primary benefit of Contrail is that it provides a simple way to connect physical networks with a virtual environment and provision underlying services, reducing the time, cost and risk for customers when configuring the network. In addition to virtualizing network resources, Contrail promises automated configuration for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). The launch represents the third step in Juniper's SDN strategy announced earlier this year (see below)


Juniper Networks Contrail, formerly known as JunosV Contrail, is comprised of an SDN controller, vRouter, and analytics engine.  It creates a virtual network, enabling seamless integration between physical and virtual networks.  Contrail's hypervisor forwarding plane provides line rate routing and switching in a multi-tenant virtualized environment that is completely decoupled from the underlying physical fabric switches. Contrail enables a variety of VPNs in software, including L3 VPNs, E-VPNs, Site-to-Site IPSec, and SSL VPNs.

Contrail also features built-in load balancing across application tiers or network services.  As for security, Juniper said its hypervisor forwarding plane includes built-in policy enforcement.  Contrail seamlessly integrates with Juniper's virtual firewall, Firefly Perimeter. In addition, Distributed Threat Prevention can be delivered in software using JunosWebApp Secure.

Contrail seamlessly integrates with the Juniper Networks MX, EX and QFX Series switches.  The company said it will be interoperable with most industry switches and routers.

In an enterprise setting, Contrail could be used for combining private and public clouds, enabling workload mobility between resources.  In a Service Provider setting, Contrail can dynamically service-chain virtualized or physical network resources, such as for NFV.

Juniper is pricing SDN on a "per socket" basis, where a socket is defined as a physical Intel CPU on a server. Juniper is offering both a perpetual and subscription software license. Perpetual license is priced at US$1,700 per socket and one year subscription license at US$1,000 per socket.  Juniper said it has trials underway with more than 40 global customers.  The first two purchase orders have been received.

Juniper announced a special alliance with IBM to integrate Contrail with IBM's SmartCloud Orchestrator. In addition, Juniper is unveiling new technology development partnerships, including Cedexis, Check Point Software Technologies, Citrix, Cloudscaling, Dorado Software, Flash Networks, Gencore Systems, Gigamon, Guavus, ISC8, Lumeta, Mirantis, Red Hat, RiverBed, Sandvine, SevOne, Silver Peak, Sonus Networks, and Websense.

In a related announcement, Juniper Networks today introduced OpenContrail, an open source software platform that makes the core software powering Contrail available through an open source license. (see below).

http://www.juniper.net

In January 2013, Juniper Networks outlined a four-step roadmap to software-defined networking with the goal of improving automation and agility in data centers and across service provider networks.

A key part of Juniper's SDN strategy involves the concept of "Service Chaining" whereby an SDN controller is used to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic.  The company sees SDN extending all the way across all domains of the network: Core, Edge, Access & Aggregation, Data Center, WAN, Campus & Branch.  Juniper's SDN roadmap initially targets two of these areas -- the Service Provider Edge and the Data Center.

Juniper is enabling the SDN virtualization with existing protocols, including BGP, thereby enabling the existing routing and switching infrastructure to participate in the SDN transformation. Juniper will adopt the OpenStack model as its primary orchestration system and will work with others including VMware and IBM. Juniper is introducing a new software licensing and maintenance model that allows the transfer of software licenses between Juniper devices and industry-standard x86 servers.

Juniper's Four Step Roadmap
  • Step 1: Centralize network management, analytics and configuration functionality to provide a single master that configures all networking devices.
  • Step 2: Extract networking and security services from the underlying hardware by creating service virtual machines (VMs). This enables network and security services to independently scale using industry-standard x86 hardware based on the needs of the solution.
  • Step 3: Introduce a centralized controller that enables multiple network and security services to connect in series across devices within the network using "SDN Service Chaining" – using software to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic. The SDN Service Chaining will be introduced in 2014 utilizing the SDN controller technology acquired from Contrail Systems, together with the evolution of the JunosV App Engine.
  • Step 4: Optimize the usage of network and security hardware to deliver high performance.  Specifically, Juniper's MX Series and SRX Series products will evolve to support software-based Service Chaining architecture.
In December 2012, Juniper Networks acquired Contrail Systems, a start-up developing software defined networking (SDN) solutions for approximately $176 million in cash and stock.

Contrail Systems, which was based in Santa Clara, California, was founded in early 2012 is still in stealth mode. No products had been announced at the time of the acquisition.   Juniper said the acquisition brings an SDN architectural approach that augments its portfolio of products and services. 

Contrail Systems was headed by Ankur Singla (CEO), who previously served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks.  The Contrail team  included Dr. Kireeti Kompella (CTO), who was formerly CTO and Chief Architect, JunOS at Juniper; Pedro Marques,previously a developer of control applications for the Cluster Management Team at Google and before that a distinguished engineer at Cisco and Juniper; Harshad Nakil, previously at Aruba Fellow and also distinguished engineer at Juniper and Cisco; and others.  Juniper was a strategic investor in Contrail. Khosla Ventures was also an investor.

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