Juniper’s announcement last week that it was launching Junos Software Disaggregation reflects a customer drive towards separating networking software and hardware, one that it was first evident Juniper was listening to with its OCX1100 announcement in early 2015. While the OCX announcement introduced this as a possibility, Juniper’s latest announcement ups the game, pointing out that customers are requiring the ability to procure networking hardware from sources other than Juniper.

Gartner agrees. In their recent report (Brite-Box and SDN Are Driving Innovation and Data Center Network Savings, 2015), the disaggregation benefits were highlighted as “enterprises to standardize network operations”, where organizations can “achieve life cycle savings of 25% to 50%”.

Cumulus Networks kick started this revolution in partnership with industry leading brite-box providers such as Dell, HP, and Quanta, with over 2 million ports in production. So while we are excited to have Juniper join the Open Networking revolution, a closer look suggests this could be another half-hearted attempt.

Based on the launch references, here are a few questions to ask your Juniper rep:

  1. Juniper says its disaggregated Junos software can run on “Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) compliant third-party switches.” Without a third party hardware compatibility list though, isn’t this a thinly veiled attempt at disaggregation, without actually disaggregating?
  2. Juniper suggests its “customers will for the first time be able to develop and install third-party applications directly on supported Juniper switching systems.” Are these standard third-party Linux applications, or do you have to develop specifically for Junos? In other words, can you run any open-source, proprietary, or self-developed application without any porting?
  3. Juniper pointed out that applications are installed “in a VM or container directly on the switch.” How do apps work across VMs or containers?
  4. Juniper introduced “a new pricing model to purchase Junos software and the hardware platform either together or separately.” Which third party OS vendors will support Juniper switching platforms, and which third-party hardware platforms will support Junos?
  5. Lastly, Juniper highlighted “a pay-for-what-you-need software-licensing model.” Will Junos be offered in a multi-tiered software offering to drive upsell?

Customers are demanding and deploying Open Networking across all market verticals and geographies. Meanwhile, Gartner says that 25% of enterprises will have embraced new, disaggregated, data center network hardware solutions by 2018. Cumulus Networks already anticipated this industry shift from the single vendor blob.  We’ve already been busy creating purpose-built Linux for Networking software, key technology and GTM partnerships, and a simplified business model, with streamlined processes.

Try out Open Networking on our terms with Cumulus VX, test drive Open Networking in our Remote Lab, or contact us to get started.  

References:

  1. Press release
  2. Juniper blog
  3. Network World article