Juniper lays foundation for cloud-based services

New chipsets, edge routers and network application platform could help agencies prepare for cloud

Juniper Networks’ recent announcements of new chipsets, edge routers and a network application platform could provide a foundation for agencies to deploy a secure network infrastructure while preparing for cloud-based services, according to George Holland, the company’s vice president of federal strategic business.

Juniper’s federal users can no longer afford networks and systems that cannot communicate with other networks and devices within and outside of their agencies, he said.

“So if you have a customer like the Homeland Security Department, anybody could potentially be a customer or partner. So we have to think of helping them tee up with people dynamically, create communities of interests and handle bandwidth and application increases quickly,” he said.

Juniper’s federal customers include more than 380 government agencies and organizations, including the Defense Department, all of the military service branches, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Research Engineering Network and other defense agencies; the Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services and Justice departments, other civilian agencies and dozens of their sub-agencies.

To address the growing demands for secure, dynamic networks, Juniper on Oct. 30 launched a new family of Junos processors – the first release of which is Junos Trio – that include network instruction sets or 3-D scaling technology that will be embedded in the company’s future routing, switching and security products. The aim is to let networks, on the fly, handle much higher bandwidth, subscribers and services.

The company also introduced a new family of edge routers, the MX-3D series, built on the new Junos Trio chipset, that provide routing for business, residential and mobile services on a single network, Holland said. The MX 3-D series include new modular line cards, applications and new metro aggregation routers.

Additionally, Juniper unveiled an open cross-network software platform that will let network administrators directly program multiple layers of capability into their networks. The platform includes the Junos network operating system, the new Junos Space network applications platform and Junos Pulse integrated network client.

The company also announced partnerships with Dell and IBM to deliver Juniper systems as part of their data center solutions.

Users motivate innovation

Juniper’s users have spurred the increases in performance, features and openness on the Junos platform over the past few years, Holland said.

The Junos operating system – which features a single code base – is designed so users can add new Juniper devices to the network without having to worry about whether or not they will work with the different versions of the operating system or other devices, or be compatible with older versions, he said.

Agency and business users also want to work with customers or partners to add special features or services that will work well with the Junos operating system. Juniper has offered an SDK kit for users and developers. However, Juno Space will open up the platform, letting more people take advantage of the software, Holland noted. Junos Space is a cloud-based framework for service-layer development.

Q1 labs, a provider of security information and event management (SIEM) software, will seamlessly integrate its QRadar SIEM, Log Manager and other security intelligence products into Junos Space, said Gary Ochs, vice president of business development with Q1 labs.

The Q1 software has been a part of Juniper’s security threat management offerings for more than a year. The tighter integration with Junos Space will let Q1 develop SIEM and log management applications that can correlate larger amounts of data on networks, Ochs said.

Juniper does not sell directly to its federal customers. Instead, the company partners with third-party software developers, systems integrators and value-added resellers, Holland said.

“What we are finding is that now we are able to work more closely with those partners to bring value-added solutions to the customers,” Holland said.

With Juno Pulse, the company is taking its unified access control product and some of its security portfolio associated with Secure Sockets Layer virtual private networking and making it a unified network client to help users protect the edge, Holland said. Users can check who’s logging onto the network, their rights and privileges and profiles for them and their devices to prevent potential mischief or systems being compromised, he noted.

“Then, through a series of secure services, we can secure the data flow through the data center,” he said.

Down the road, Juniper officials are working toward tighter integration between the network and a service-oriented architecture, Holland said.

Juniper’s MX-3D edge routers will be available in December and throughout 2010.

The Junos operating system and SDK’s are available now. Pricing and options vary by product line. For instance, The Junos Space platform and applications are available for download and free trail – pricing starts at $15,000. The Junos Pulse client will be available early next year and pricing will be consistent with Juniper SSL VPN and unified access control products, company officials said.

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