Customers want to mix and match their hardware and software from different vendors, and Juniper is determined to satisfy this desire, but it wants a new pricing model as part of the deal.
Juniper executives outlined their strategy today at Nxtwork 2015, the company’s inaugural customer event.
First, its new Cloud CPE product will allow telcos to offer their business customers a way to spin up new services much faster. Cloud CPE includes the new Contrail Service Orchestration and an on-premises device — the NFX250 — that can run multiple virtual network functions (VNFs), from Juniper and third parties, simultaneously.
“The option to put a Cisco router on a Juniper box — six months ago that would be called blasphemy,” Juniper’s head of development and innovation Jonathan Davidson told SDxCentral in an interview today at the conference.
The Cloud CPE is open source. “You can look at every line of Contrail,” said Juniper’s CEO Rami Rahim. “This was by no means an easy decision for Juniper to make, [but] we’ve removed any resistance to adoption that might stem from lack of open source.”
Davidson doesn’t consider the NFX250 to be simply a white box. He said it was built to satisfy customer requests for hardware and software flexibility and openness. It’s basically a server at the customer premise.
“The Cloud CPE and NFX portfolio is not a router, a switch, or a firewall, it’s whatever you want it to be,” Davidson said. “This NFX can be personalized based on your business requirements. You mold the infrastructure.”
Rahim said for Cloud CPE, “Managed services with on-premises CPE was the use case we went after.”
While not specifying which customers it’s catering to, Juniper is on record as working with the Orange Business Services group of France Telecom and with NTT, as well as with AT&T. In September, AT&T said it was working with a Juniper virtual CPE as part of its Network on Demand initiative.
Pricing Must Change
Juniper is also angling to change how networking products and services are priced. Rahim said at the Nxtwork opening keynote that 85 percent of its engineers develop software, but the resulting products are valued on a per-port hardware basis.
“That’s got to change,” he said. “Change is now the name of the game. We are attempting to transform the economics of networking.”
With the NFX250 customer premises device, enterprises can deploy hardware once and then buy either perpetual licenses or subscription licenses for the software that runs on the CPE. The software license model has, of course, been around for a long time, but it’s new to the networking industry.
The more open method to deploy VNFs enables agility for customers, Rahim said. “I don’t expect a wholesale flip in the market. But we’ve sent the message: If you believe you can do a better job of selecting pieces of software and hardware, we won’t stand in your way.”