Juniper Networks has used its Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas to outline its strategy to lead the software-defined networks (SDN) market and unveil some services and cloud accreditations for partners.
According to IDC, the market for SDN – where control is decoupled from hardware and given to a software application called a controller – is set to mushroom from $360m (£225m) this year to $3.7bn by 2016.
Unsurprisingly, Juniper is among the pack of networking vendors looking to get in on the ground floor, splashing out $176m in December to buy software networking start-up Contrail Systems.
And yesterday, the firm used the backdrop of Las Vegas to announce its intent to go all in on SDN as it laid out a four-step road map to help customers adopt the technology in their business.
Step by step
Step one is to centralise network management, analytics and configuration functionality to provide a single master that configures all networking devices, Juniper said.
Step two sees networking and security services extracted from the underlying hardware, while step three sees the introduction of SDN service chaining – where software is used to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic.
Finally, step four involves optimising the usage of network and security hardware to deliver high performance.
The vendor also unveiled what it claims is the networking industry's first comprehensive software-centric business model, in Juniper Software Advantage.
This is designed to protect customer investments over time by allowing them to transfer software licences between Juniper devices and industry-standard x86 servers. It will also allow customers to scale their purchases based on actual usage, the vendor said.
Pradeep Sindhu, co-founder and chief technical officer at Juniper, said that SDN would allow the networking industry to deliver two benefits to customers.
"The first is the ability of vendors to deliver innovation at a faster rate and the ability of customers to absorb it at a faster rate," he said. "The second is a dramatic reduction in the operational cost of running a network, achieved primarily through simplification. Juniper pioneered the first step in the separation of control and forwarding functions in networking equipment. This is the next logical step in the evolution of networking technology."
Etienne Greeff, chief executive of Juniper SecureData – who was among the UK partners to see the keynotes – tweeted: "Deeply humbling to see Pradeep Sindhu in full flight at #junipergpc, word visionary truly applies. SDN, changing the way we look at networks."
Advantage to the channel
Juniper also announced additions to its Partner Advantage programme that it said would see it depend on, rather than compete with, partners on cloud and services.
Over the coming months, Juniper will launch Partner Advantage Services, which will be split into two specialisations relating to support and professional services.
Meanwhile, Partner Advantage Cloud, which is designed to help define and segment partners' cloud capabilities, will also debut before the end of the year.
Emilio Umeoka, senior vice president of worldwide partners and alliances at Juniper, said: "Today's expansion of our Partner Advantage programme to include services and cloud will arm our partners with integrated, value-add programmes and tools that capitalise on these massive market opportunities and can help drive their long-term success within the network."
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