Juniper juices Junos for service providers

Service providers will be getting a bigger bang from their bucks from Juniper Networks’ MX and M-series routers as the equipment maker continues to add functionality to its Junos operating system.

The company said Tuesday it is integrating several technologies from its other operating systems and products into Junos, including subscriber management, intrusion detection and prevention and session border control.

“It’s really our way of taking all of the things that many of our customers want to do and transitioning them into one product,” said Tim Lambie, the company’s vice-president for the Americas.

The move continues a strategy by the company to reduce the number of operating systems it offers, and increase value to customers by loading more features into Junos.

In and of themselves, the services being added here aren’t new, said Lambie – all were available through appliances or routers sold by Juniper or other companies. However, providers with MX or M120/320 series routers will have them all on one platform, once all of the capabilities are added to the software and Juniper puts into production some interface cards.

The entire offering, which Juniper dubs its Intelligent Services Edge, will be complete in the second half of next year.

One goal is to save providers money by offering only one chassis for all of the services, which can be deployed at the edge in every point of presence, thereby reducing power consumption and using less rack space. The services being added to Junos will help them control their own networks, Lambie said. But they will also help providers who want to offer more managed services to customers, he said.

“The interest in carriers offering services as a utility beyond being a plumbing provider increases on a quarterly basis,” said Lambie.

Among the additions now in Junos are session border control, which manages VoIP and multimedia sessions for quality of service and security, and subscriber management. Both were taken from the Junos-E operating system. Until recently Juniper sold a separate session border control appliance from its acquisition of Kagoor. But, Lambie said, the company felt this capability is better suited on a router so folded it into Junos.

Other capabilities coming to the operating system include deep packet inspection, network authentication and authorization and application monitoring. They will be added in the first quarter of 2009. Use of some of these capabilities will require additional licencing and cost.

Also coming is the MultiServices DPC, a high performance processing engine which will be necessary for some services by adding a stateful firewall, NAT and IPSec directly on an MX router. The card can also host applications developed by customers or Juniper partners under the company’s developer program.

Another plug-in on its way is a new Flexible PIC Concentrator that provides packet over SONET capabilities. This board, to be available in the first half of next year, will enable MX series owners to connect to non-Ethernet-based networks. No pricing for these cards was announced.

Eventually many of these capabilities will be added to Juniper’s M7i and M10i systems through a processing board. No date or pricing for this upgrade was announced.

Although carriers and service providers are expected to be most interested in these improvements, Lambie said some large organizations that run their own router infrastructure – he gave Canadian government departments as an example – may also want to take advantage of the new capabilities.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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