Juniper Networks and Red Hat have tightened their integration efforts in a move to help ease enterprise adoption of cloud-native platforms and bolster their own offerings against the likes of VMware and Cisco.
The latest platform integration includes the Red Hat OpenStack Platform; Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform running as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) on top of or next to the OpenStack platform depending on deployment architecture; and Juniper’s Contrail Enterprise Multi-Cloud platform running as the networking and security layer to unify those together. This integration is designed as a managed system to help deploy and run applications and services on any virtual machine (VM), container platform, and any cloud environment.
Scott Sneddon, senior director for cloud and software-defined networking (SDN) at Juniper Networks, explained that the more tightly combined offering will help enterprises that are challenged in moving to open cloud systems. It includes managed software packages, distributions, and services to help with integration.
“These companies want to try to take advantage of some of the economics and community-led efforts and the pace of innovation that’s happening in the open source community,” Sneddon said of its enterprise customers. “But it’s really difficult. Not everybody is a Wal-Mart or AT&T that has an in-house development staff that can integrate OpenStack themselves.”
Sneddon said that deployment challenges have been an inhibitor for enterprise adoption of platforms like OpenStack and container platforms like Kubernetes.
“People do want to move away from the lock in that they have in the VMware ecosystem and be able to take advantage of these open platforms,” he explained. “Our belief is that we just want the network and security policy to get out of the way of the workload and let the decision as to where I place a cloud-based workload be an economic decision and not necessarily a connectivity or policy decision.”
Sneddon noted that the combination also provides enterprises with “a couple of solid companies to help through the process.”
“Red Hat has a ton of experience integrating Red Hat Linux and OpenStack, which was a little surprising to me that they have the customer numbers that they are claiming around their OpenStack distribution in the enterprise,” Sneddon said. “We’ve had some success in the enterprise with Contrail, but admittedly not in huge numbers.”
The tighter integration builds on a number of recent deals between the two companies.
Last November, they began offering a turnkey telco cloud system based on Contrail SDN and built on Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution. That move saw Juniper move Contrail Cloud from its previous base on Ubuntu OpenStack to Red Hat’s platform.
Battle Against VMware
Sneddon noted that the tighter integration also helps to bolster Juniper’s position against the likes of VMware and its NSX platform.
Juniper last month rolled out Contrail Enterprise Multi-Cloud that is positioned as a more open alternative to Cisco’s ACI and VMware’s NSX. Juniper’s technology controls both the underlying devices of the data center infrastructure as well as the policy control overlay.
VMware recently expanded support for its NSX network virtualization platform to Microsoft’s Azure cloud. It continues to support private vSphere-based data centers, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and IBM Cloud.
“You are seeing a trend with VMware specifically where they want to go after the networking market more and more,” Sneddon said. “And we see them building some advanced and cool networking tools with NSX. That has to be seen as a threat to all of us in the networking industry. Working with someone like Red Hat gives us a good position to respond to that.”
Sneddon said Juniper is working on offering “take-out programs” for VMware platforms to certain customers. “We will say listen, stop spending so much money on those VMware licenses and let us help you evolve to something open,” he explained.