In a Software Defined Network (SDN), one central computer controls all network components and ensures the automated, dynamic routing of data flows. The Juniper manufacturing company provides a whole range of solutions for SDN. Here is an overview.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is the elite bracket when it comes to network automation. In its ideal form, SDN manages itself completely autonomously and configures network services automatically and independently. The entire IT infrastructure operates detached from the hardware; network intelligence is centralised. A controller controls all network components such as routers or switches and ensures the automated dynamic routing of data flows. Parameters such as application type and the requirements placed on security or QoS (Quality of Service) form the basis for such operations. Specific traffic types such as voice and video can then be identified; network resources can be prioritised and controlled automatically in line with the load on the network.

To work with SDN, companies need programmable devices that provide a lot of memory space and support virtualisation techniques, that is to say NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation). NFV transforms physical network services for the provision of applications such as routers, DNS or controllers into virtual network services that can be managed automatically. As NFV replaces such proprietary hardware with software, network functions run in a virtualised form on low-cost standard servers.

Juniper: widespread SDN portfolio

Juniper provides a whole series of products and solutions for SDN. These include Contrail management software, the NorthStar Controller, the NFX Series Network Services Platform as well as SRX Gateways and MX Routers. Here is short summary of the key products:

Contrail management software:

Juniper Contrail supports network virtualisation and automation, multiclouds, service orchestration, open SDN and lots more. The management platform simplifies the provision of services and automates the configuration and operation of network resources. It also enables the service chain to be adapted in line with policies, software and requirements. The functions also include detailed analyses of the network infrastructure based on structured and unstructured data in real time.

The Contrail product range consists of several components. These include Contrail Networking – an open SDN solution for Cloud and NFV environments – Contrail Security, which protects applications in Cloud environments by implementing policies, and Contrail Service Orchestration.

NorthStar-Controller:

The WAN-SDN controller optimises data traffic in large networks. It provides granular visibility into, and control over, IP/MPLS flows, gathers Junos IP/MPLS analytics and thus automates the finding of the best routing paths for data in the network. The NorthStar Controller allows for capacity upgrades that are targeted and capable of adapting dynamically in real time. To do this, the controller analyses network planning, capacity and topology from Layer 0 to Layer 3. It also offers graphical and programmable REST-APIs for customised integration into existing environments.

WANDL IP/MPLSView:

WANDL IP/MPLSView is a solution for data traffic management and engineering for IP and MPLS networks and for multivendor, multiprotocol and/or multilayer operations support systems (OSS). It provides an extensive multivendor library and scalability for up to thousands of routers.

NFX Series Network Services Platform: 

The Juniper NFX Series simplifies the delivery of network services. Like all Juniper products, it is based on the Junos OS operating system and protects virtual services with functions provided by the SRX Series of firewalls, thereby effectively allocating workloads across multiple enterprise WAN connectivity options.

The NFX150 model uses SRX Series software for security, multiple connection options (including 4G/LTE and ADSL2/VDSL2) and an open, standards-based architecture. The NFX150 offers a portfolio of managed services including SD-WAN.

The NFX250 model hosts the virtual vSRX Firewall for the fast and secure provisioning of on-demand services. The NFX250 enables innovative services and automates services activation.

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 and improve the reliability and agility of the network. Juniper divides the eight switches in the QFX Series into three categories: “Access and Leaf“, “Lean Spine” and “Core and Spine”.

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.