Juniper upgrades its intent networking

Juniper has acquired intent-based networking solution Apstra software, which helps organisations reduce time and costs associated with deploying and managing complex data centre networks. The software has new intent extensions and connectivity template that connects attached systems.

The version 4.0 of Apstra software, an intent-based networking solutions, was acquired earlier this year by Juniper in a deal closed in January 2021, announces Juniper Networks.

Juniper says Apstra helps organisations to minimise the time and costs associated with deploying and managing traditionally complex data centre networks. The new software version builds on the multivendor capabilities of the Apstra solution to support VMware NSX-T 3.0 and Enterprise SONiC, in addition to previously supported data centre switching from Juniper, Nvidia (Nvidia Cumulus), Arista Networks, and Cisco Systems.

The Apstra software also has new intent extensions and connectivity templates that provide a way of connecting attached systems. Additionally, Juniper is offering Apstra with Juniper Networks QFX Series switches and SRX Series Services Gateways in drop-in building block solutions that can grow with evolving data centre needs.

Mike Bushong, Juniper Networks, vice president data centre, notes: “Organisations are looking for new ways to enhance the experience of users and operators in the data centre.

Our Apstra software provides the perfect foundation by delivering closed-loop automation, analytics, and assurance for intent-based networking across vendors. In operations, speed is nothing without control, and with the newest Apstra extensions and multi-vendor solutions, teams can make changes more quickly with predictable outcomes”, Bushong says.

Apstra open extensions and connectivity templates
Apstra 4.0 (formerly known as AOS) takes intent-based networking to the next level by extending intent to connections for attached systems. It’s a method of essentially ensuring standardised operations are in customised ways. New connectivity templates enable operators to create their own reusable and validated templates.

These facilitate operations with bulk, accurate adds across the entire fabric in minutes, including servers, workloads and devices, while checking that everything in the network is functioning properly. Apstra’s single source of truth knows the intended state of the network and informs operators when anything deviates from expectations.

Additionally, new extensions integrate Apstra software with VMware NSX-T 3.0 and Enterprise SONiC, enabling even more organisations to benefit from Apstra’s reliability and time-savings value. With built-in validation for virtual machine connectivity, Apstra’s NSX-T integration assures and optimises operation between the virtual and physical networks.

Apstra tracks new NSX-T virtual network additions to assure fabric connections are also set up and allows operators to locate virtual machines within the fabric. Furthermore, with Apstra 4.0, Juniper claims it is now the only vendor with commercial support for management of Enterprise SONiC. With this new release, Juniper customers have additional options for building cloud-level, large-scale data centres with open networking.

These new integrations complement Juniper’s existing ecosystem of technology partners and underscore the commitment to preserve Apstra as an open and multi-vendor system. Customers can scale with the Apstra software, removing hardware and operational constraints and accelerating data centre evolution.

Building block solutions
The Apstra 4.0 release focuses on operations across vendors. Additionally, Juniper is making it easier for organisations to build and modernise their data centres. New turnkey building block solutions combine intent-based networking and Juniper’s switches with options for Secure Services Gateways. The scalable, optimised architecture lets teams deploy what’s needed now, as small as a 4-switch deployment, and grow as needed to larger deployments.

New data centre deployments can be up and running in hours rather than days, using Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and a set of pre-validated blueprints. With these building blocks, small and mid-sized organisations can adopt the most modern and automated data centre operations without expansive design projects, lengthy deployment programs and/or extensive in-house data centre expertise.

The data centre leader
Juniper says it has been a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center and Cloud Networking for the past three years. Juniper’s marquee customers include Aston Martin, T-Systems, and Zoom. In Q1 2021, Juniper grew its enterprise revenue for a third consecutive quarter, with enterprise orders rising more than 20% year-on-year. Cloud ready data centre orders grew nearly 30% year-on-year, as customers continue to recognise the value of Juniper’s cloud ready data centre solutions and the differentiation enabled by Apstra.

Don Ely, REI lead network security engineer, says: “We are excited to move forward with Juniper Apstra with the intent that its detailed visibility and troubleshooting abilities in our data centre will allow us to find root-cause analysis faster than our current solution. We plan to use customised dashboards to bring visibility to other REI business units regarding the health of the data centre.”

Hasan Siraj, Core Switching Group head of software products and ecosystem, says: “Intent-based automation and analytics across a variety of network operating stacks, such as Enterprise SONiC, is a key enabler of an open ecosystem.

We welcome Juniper’s new Apstra 4.0 offering as it utilises the advanced capabilities available in Broadcom merchant silicon. By delivering a solution ready for general data centre deployments, this combination represents a milestone in spurring SONiC adoption”, Siraj concludes.


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