Juniper Accelerates Launch Of Contrail SDN Controller


Looking to accelerate its push into the burgeoning software-defined networking (SDN) space, Juniper Networks Monday announced the availability of its long-touted Contrail SDN controller, roughly nine months ahead of schedule.

The controller, which is open standards-based and aimed specifically at virtualized- or software-defined networks, is currently in beta with about 40 Fortune 500 customers worldwide, Juniper said. The controller is based largely on technology Juniper acquired through its December 2012 purchase of SDN startup Contrail Systems for $176 million. It was originally slated for availability in May or June 2014.

According to Brad Brooks, chief marketing officer at Juniper, the new Contrail SDN controller is targeted at both enterprise customers and service providers. For enterprises, the controller can be used to virtualize any IP-based physical network in a data center, and because it integrates with cloud orchestration systems, to enable automation and orchestration across virtual overlay networks.

[Related: Juniper Channel Chief: Why We Are 'Deliberately Dependent' On Partners]

"It really introduces a whole, new level of agility within data centers," Brooks said. "This is the evolution of data centers moving from a virtualized state to a cloud state. It allows enterprises to do a lot of the things that only an Amazon or Google or Microsoft could do in the past through their cloud infrastructures."

For cloud service providers, Brooks said, the Contrail controller can be used to automate and provision services across public, private and hybrid cloud environments, eliminating the manual and time-consuming configuration processes traditionally needed to push these services out.

The controller, according to Juniper, can "infinitely scale," even across hybrid clouds and disparate data centers, allowing for an "always-available" cloud that's not held back by the scalability limitations of physical networking gear.
In addition, Juniper's Contrail controller includes virtual routing capabilities and an analytics engine that allows users to monitor and perform troubleshooting on both physical and virtual networks.

The commercial version of Contrail is available starting today through Juniper Software Advantage and is offered as both a perpetual and subscription software license. The perpetual license is priced at $1,700 per socket, and a one-year subscription license is priced at $1,000 per socket.

John O'Shea, senior vice president of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, called Contrail a "game-changer" for Vology, especially in its service provider business.

"This is especially valuable to our service provider customers who we will work with to virtually scale their networks and create new go-to-market services for their customers, thereby giving them a speed-to-market advantage," O'Shea wrote in an email to CRN. "We believe Contrail lays the foundation for true differentiation in the SDN space, and is a great fit for a networking and virtualization focused solution provider like Vology."

Juniper also announced Monday a new partnership with IBM, through which the Contrail controller will be integrated with IBM's SmartCloud Orchestrator.

In addition, Juniper unveiled its OpenContrail initiative, which allows the source code library for the Contrail solution to be openly available through an Apache 2.0 License. Juniper said opening up the Contrail code will ensure the controller's interoperability with a range of hypervisors and cloud orchestration systems, as well as help service providers and enterprises test and build out SDN environments.

Juniper last week announced its new Partner Cloud Advantage program, which includes new partner specializations and training resources specific to the cloud and SDN. Partners who go to market with the new Contrail controller will fall under this program, Juniper said.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 16, 2013