Network administrators often work with scripts or use open APIs to automate constantly recurring tasks. At the Juniper manufacturing company, the Junos OS common operating system forms the basis for automation as it links all components in the network to one another.

Routers, switches, WLAN controllers, server load balancers or security appliances such as firewalls – most networks are based on these and other hardware components. Network administrators address these devices via script languages to automate recurring tasks. This means, for example, that it is no longer necessary to implement the configuration for every single device manually.

The next step is to use open APIs to increase programmability. Here those responsible first create a policy model to describe the requirements placed by the application on the network in terms of criteria such as security, quality and data flow. A controller then has information at his disposal regarding which applications are operated at which network interfaces and can dynamically assign the configurations derived from the policy model to the network components involved. If a virtual machine is now moved, for example, the controller automatically initiates a reconfiguration of the network.

At Juniper, thanks to the Junos OS common operating system, all products are ready for automation, be they switches, routers or firewalls.

Junos OS links all components

Junos OS is a uniform operating system that forms the basis for automation, for the good interplay between all components in the network and for central management. The operating system is installed on all of Juniper’s physical and virtual network products, security products and security platforms. The key features of Junos OS are versatile programmability, open APIs, scripting support and popular orchestration frameworks.

Junos OS provides secure programming interfaces and the Juniper Extension Toolkit (JET) for developing applications. JET is a standard component of Junos OS that runs on all Juniper switches, routers and security devices. It simplifies the automation of operational, configuration and management tasks, thereby providing administrators with a rich set of open and customisable APIs for control, management and data planes. JET also supports standardised programming languages for application development and communicates with the Junos OS programmable database through standardised and open data protocols for the purpose of data exchange.

Products for “simple” network automation

Juniper offers a wide range of products for “simple” network automation – we will deal with the issue of SDN in another article. Most importantly these include EX/QFX switches, SRX firewalls and MX routers. Of course, most models also have SDN-capability. All of these devices can be integrated into the network automation as they run the same Junos OS operating system, and the interfaces are in place.

EX switches:

Juniper’s EX Series of Ethernet Switches currently includes 16 different models. These are divided into three categories.

The eleven devices from model number EX2200 to EX4300 Multigigabit are 1 GbE Multigigabit access switches that offer network access for enterprises and are available with PoE and MACsec (Media Access Control Security) encryption.

The three models EX4500, EX4600 and EX4650 are 10 GbE aggregation switches with fixed configuration for provision in enterprise campus environments.

The EX9200 (also with SDN-capability) and EX9250 devices feature flexible core switching for business-critical provision in high-density enterprise campus environments.

QFX switches:

The switches in the QFX Series safeguard and automate networks in computer centres. They form the basis for establishing flexible high-performance fabrics, improve the reliability and agility of the network and thus simplify the path to the Multicloud. Juniper divides the eight switches in the QFX Series into three categories: “Access and Leaf“, “Lean Spine” and “Core and Spine”.

SRX firewalls:

Juniper markets these next-generation firewalls as “SRX Series Services Gateways”. Here too, there is a very diverse product portfolio. The assortment ranges from two virtual firewalls (vSRX and cSRX) for private, public and hybrid Cloud environments and four firewalls for small companies and branch offices (e.g. SRX110) through to six firewalls for medium-sized enterprises and computer centres (e.g. SRX1400) and the firewalls for large computer centres and service providers (e.g. SRX5400).

MX router:

Besides routers from the PTX, ACX and CTP Series, the Juniper portfolio also includes SDN-capable MX Routers with a total of 16 different models. Here the assortment ranges from the virtual MX router, which is especially suitable for NFV environments, through to the MX2020, a carrier-class router with 80 Tbit/s. It provides high-density interfaces with 10 GbE, 40 GbE and 100 GbE so that network operators can handle Edge and Core applications efficiently.