Juniper adds OpenFlow to its routers, switches

Juniper Networks this week said it is making the source code of its OpenFlow application accessible to developers of applications for its Junos networking operating system software.

OpenFlow is an interface that enables software-defined networks (SDN), in which multivendor switches and routers are programmable through software. OpenFlow provides a layer of abstraction from the physical network to the control element, allowing that network to be configured or manipulated through software, which then opens it up to further customization, proponents says.

BACKGROUND: Whats OpenFlows killer app?

Its been pitched as a key element to enabling flexibility required in large data centers and in cloud computing environments. Other observers, though, are hard pressed to find applicability for OpenFlow and SDNs in the enterprise.

Juniper rival Cisco is currently considering how to respond to OpenFlow and its momentum. Cisco says it is adding OpenFlow to its Nexus switches; but its believed that OpenFlow and SDNs may further commoditize network hardware, which would squeeze Ciscos and other vendors profits on equipment sales and diminish the proprietary value of software.

Adding OpenFlow to the Junos SDK is intended make Junipers routers and switches programmable through software. The Junos SDK allows developers to build custom applications on top of Junos to expand or create additional functionality on Juniper switches and routers.

The OpenFlow application works with Junos to change the control plane of those switches and routers to create more dynamic network programmability, Juniper says. This will simplify control of network devices and allow more rapid development of applications and capabilities across the network infrastructure, the company says.

Juniper demonstrated the OpenFlow protocol running on its MX 3D edge routers at the Carrier Ethernet World Congress and presented at last weeks Open Networking Summit at Stanford University. Juniper is a founding member of the Open Networking Foundation, an organization of users, vendors and service providers evangelizing OpenFlow and SDNs, and plans to participate in this weeks Applied OpenFlow Symposium in San Jose.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

This story, "Juniper adds OpenFlow to its routers, switches" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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