Juniper Drops Development in Favor of SDN/NFV, NTT Com Goes Shopping

By Paula Bernier November 02, 2013

Much of the software-defined networking world collected this week at the Open Networking User Group conference in New York to demonstration and promote their offerings. But the biggest SDN news items of the week probably was the move by Juniper Networks to kill its MobileNext enhanced packet core product line in favor of a virtualization solution leveraging x86 servers and managed with SDN controllers. Another high-profile SDN this week was NTT Communications Corp.’s announcement that it is buying RagingWire and Virtela Technology Services.

Juniper’s announcement, although probably not great for the vendor – which in the same breath said it will be is cutting its workforce by 3 percent in a realignment effort to target high-growth opportunities, was seen as yet another vote of confidence for the network functions virtualization and SDN movement.

Indeed, CEO Kevin Johnson said that networks functions virtualization and the software-defined networking will change the face of evolved packet core solutions. The future, he said, is NFV and SDN, two technologies that Juniper was early to embrace and that drove the company’s December acquisition of Contrail Systems for $176 million.

Juniper recently made commercially available ahead of schedule its SDN solution, Juniper Networks Contrail, which in past months has been in trials with more than 40 customers. And the company earlier this week named to its SDN-based cloud center architecture ­– MetaFabric Architecture ­– and attached three key words to it: open, simple and smart.

As for the NTT Communications Corp. acquisitions, those involved a $525 million cash investment in Virtela and a $350 million infusion in RagingWire, for which NTT Com got an 80 percent stake. Both are service providers with facilities that will help NTT Com significantly expand its footprint as well as its customer base. Cloud-based service provider Virtela, which leverages network functions virtualization and software-defined networking, has more than 500 customers, including many large multinationals; operations in the U.S., India, and the Philippines; and 400 employees. RagingWire allows NTT Com to more than double its data center space in the U.S. and gives it access to patents on efficient data center design and operation.

One of the more interesting happenings at the ONUG event this week came courtesy of SDN startup Big Switch Networks. The company offered a preview of its unified P+V SDN software stack spanning physical and virtual switches with application awareness via OpenStack. This new slate on SDN, Big Switch explains, allows for end-to-end automation and traffic visibility for better troubleshooting; compatibility with existing layer 4 through 7 services; and capex and opex levels on par with that delivered by Amazon EC2.

“We are seeing tremendous demand for OpenStack-based networks that are competitive to Amazon EC2 in cost, features and automation,” said Kyle Forster, Big Switch Network co-founder.  “There is simply no way to get there without the economics of bare metal switch hardware, the feature set of OpenStack, and the automation that comes with P+V SDN.”

Also at ONUG, ADARA Networks demoed its auto orchestration, configuration, dynamic troubleshooting and visualization, and provisioning capabilities; cPacket Networks unveiled its cVu-400NG traffic monitoring switch with smart ports.; Evertz Technologies highlighted its Evertz EXE Video Service Routing Platform; and NEC showed off its ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite, which includes the PF 6800 controller that supports both the 1.0 and 1.3 OpenFlow standards, working with switches from Alcatel-Lucent, Arista Networks, Brocade, Centec Networks, Dell, Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks, Intel and NoviFlow.

Executive Editor, TMC

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