With the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona next week, Juniper today announced two new products in their SDN product suite. First, a Services Activation Director application running within their Junos Space central management framework and second, a virtualized mobile control gateway (MCG) playing the role of the SGSN/MME in LTE, 3G and 2G mobile networks running on their JunosV App Engine (virtual machine orchestrator that supports the KVM hypervisor today).
The Services Activation Director (which we will not refer to by its acronym) provides the ability to provision mobile backhaul networks and works primarily with Juniper’s MX router and their ACX series routers located at cell-sites. Juniper envisions the Activation Director working in conjunction with existing management systems (EMS, OSS/BSS) within service providers as part of an overall orchestration solution through utilization of Junos Space northbound APIs.
The MCG solution is primarily Hitachi working with Juniper to port their SGSN/MME (Serving GPRS Support Node/Mobility Manager Element) solutions from ATCA hardware over to a virtual machine running on a KVM hypervisor as part of JunosV App Engine (which Muglia had previously called the world’s dumbest orchestration system). The SGSN/MME solution from Hitachi is most likely the former Nortel solution that they acquired a few years back as part of their push to EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and LTE solutions. The benefits of running a virtual SGSN/MME on an external x86 system versus on ATCA hardware or on a blade in the router include improved scalability and costs, a reduction deployment time and increase elasticity and flexibility in scaling up and down. The virtual MCG is available this quarter and is the first service to be made commercially available as part of Juniper’s overall SDN framework. The JunosV App Engine can be controlled either via CLI, or from Junos Space and while it doesn’t support high availability or load-balancing today, those are apparently capabilities that Juniper will look at in the future. As well, the APIs and integration framework for JunosV App Engine have not yet been published or made public, and support for other hypervisors have been discussed but no commitments have been made.
Pricing for the Mobile Control Gateway will not be different from existing software pricing and the Activation Director will be priced under their new Software Advantage program as part of Junos Space (enterprise software-style licensing). Overall, this was a reiteration of Juniper’s recently announced strategy and their attempt at demonstrating progress on the first 2 steps of their multi-step strategy. It also demonstrated Juniper’s focus on bringing SDN principles to their core strength within the service provider space.
SDxCentral’s key takeaways from the announcement:
- Juniper is pushing to remain relevant in the SDN conversation and looking to demonstrate concrete steps based on their recently announced 4-step framework
- While an interesting first step on the Activation Director and virtualization of the MGC, these can be viewed as relatively low-hanging fruit that help with checking the box on some of the four step SDN framework
- Nevertheless, virtualization of the MCG does fall under the overall NFV paradigm, and while other vendors are discussing it, Juniper is actually pushing it. Our feeling is that this is a trial balloon to initiate conversations with customers and to see what other services would make sense running under JunosV App Engine control within hypervisors.
- Likewise with the Activation Director since it only provisions a limited set of equipment in the overall mobile backhaul framework but does improve automation capabilities for existing customers using the MX and ACX
- It remains to be seen what Juniper’s strategy for SDN in the datacenter is, and what they envision for their datacenter switches and the tie-in to QFabric
Original press release follows:
JUNIPER NETWORKS ACCELERATES FOUR-STEP ROADMAP TO SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKS WITH NEW SOFTWARE AND SERVICES
Service Providers Can Virtualize Mobile Networks to Achieve Faster Services Provisioning and On-Demand Capacity Management from a Common Platform
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 21, 2013 – Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), the industry leader in network innovation, today unveiled new software and services enabling mobile service providers to realize immediate benefits while laying the foundation to build software-defined networks (SDN). By deploying Juniper Networks’ new services provisioning application, mobile infrastructure application and virtualized services engine, customers can achieve elastic capacity, increased service velocity, while lowering overall operating expenses (OPEX). Based on use cases and data from ACG Research, customers may realize up to 65 percent reduction in OPEX and up to 54 percent reduction in total cost of ownership.
The software and services announced today come on the heels of Juniper’s introduction of the most comprehensive SDN vision in the industry and follows Juniper’s roadmap to transition enterprises and service providers from traditional network infrastructures to SDNs. Specifically, with today’s announcement, customers can address two of the four steps to SDN:
· Step 1: Centralize network management, analytics and configuration functionality to provide a single master that configures all networking devices:
Announced today, Juniper Networks® Junos® Space Services Activation Director application enables service providers to provision thousands of seamless services, including multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and Carrier Ethernet for mobile backhaul. Service Activation Direction lowers OPEX cost through simplified deployment and management, and greater business insight gained from service provider networks. The Services Activation Director, along with other Junos Space applications, is scheduled to be available for purchase in the first half of 2013, which allows the software to transfer to any network element with which it operates.
· Step 2: Extract networking and security services from the underlying hardware by creating service virtual machines (VMs):
Also announced today, Juniper Networks Mobile Control Gateway (virtual MCG) is now running as a virtualized function on the JunosV App Engine, providing signaling and control (SGSN/MME) functions to LTE, 3G and 2G radio access networks. As a virtualized network function, mobile operators can rapidly scale up and down capacity to meet variable demand requirements. Comparing a standalone physical appliances approach to a virtualized approach, mobile operators have the ability to accelerate deployment time by as much as 46 percent and reduce deployment cost by as much as 61 percent, according to ACG Research. Part of Juniper Networks Mobile Packet Core solution, the virtual MCG is co-developed with Hitachi, the first third-party to virtualize a network service on the JunosV App Engine.
Now shipping, Juniper Networks JunosV App Engine centralizes the development, provisioning and management of both Juniper Networks and third-party applications on a common platform. This platform also enables customers to grow the compute, memory and processing resource needed for cloud-based applications and services attached specifically to the MX Series 3D Universal Edge Router.
About Juniper Networks
Juniper Networks is in the business of network innovation. From devices to data centers, from consumers to cloud providers, Juniper Networks delivers the software, silicon and systems that transform the experience and economics of networking. Additional information can be found at Juniper Networks (www.juniper.net) or connect with Juniper on Twitter and Facebook.
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