- Juniper (JNPR) has launched OpenContrail, a software-defined networking (SDN) controller the company will make freely available through an open-source license. Juniper is also rebranding and announcing the general availability of a version that comes with services/support (it goes for $1,700 per CPU socket).
- OpenContrail, like other SDN platforms, allows users to provision and program compatible network resources, theoretically with the click of a mouse. Among other things, it can be used to create virtual networks and interact with cloud management platforms. Juniper claims its controller has been in trials with 40+ customers.
- The products are the fruits of Juniper's 2012 acquisition of Contrail Systems, which was well-received by investors.
- Juniper's strategy is very different from those of VMware (VMW) and Cisco (CSCO), each of whom are selling proprietary SDN controllers to go with higher-level software. VMware, which doesn't sell hardware, is partnering with a slew of Cisco rivals (inc. Juniper). Cisco is counting on its huge installed base to make what's largely a go-it-alone approach successful.
- A Juniper exec says his firm is comfortable open-sourcing its controller because it doesn't think SDN will commoditize networking hardware (some disagree). "When you put these overlays on top of the network, it’s going to drive more traffic ... Performance is still going to matter."
- Analyst Zeus Kerravala thinks Juniper is simply being pragmatic on account of its relatively small data center share."Historically, Juniper’s tried too hard to be Cisco, like when they build these proprietary, vertically integrated solutions. That’s fine when you’re Cisco."
Juniper challenges Cisco/VMware with open-source SDN controller
Sep 16 2013, 19:35 ET