Breaking down barriers: Automating and integrating optical transport with IP networks
A cloud-centric network that runs applications and services is an absolute must for organisations looking to lead the digital transformation. It seems that almost every day I hear from customers looking for the best way to do this, says Masum Mir of Juniper Networks. But present-day network configurations – namely multilayer, vertically integrated and closed systems – fall short in realising this reality.
While the underlying infrastructure generally continues to push the physical boundaries of performance among data centers and service provider networks, it’s the typical separation of IP and optical-transport functionality that should no longer occur.
If left unchecked, the organisation’s business can atrophy and crumble under the weight of manual workflows, cloud-scale demands and rudimentary engineering tactics.
To solve this, today we’re announcing new innovations that bring together our industry-leading IP/MPLS solutions with optical innovations that not only boost performance, but also inject necessary intelligence and visibility across all network layers for greater traffic control. These innovations are expected to enable automation, programmability and architectural simplicity that will bring a new level of efficiency to our customers’ data center interconnect and metro-area networks.
Both data center interconnect and metro-area networks are broadening to the point where lightning-fast throughput over optical networks isn’t enough; the complexities that arise from expansion require more automation to drive operational simplicity and programmability to increase agility and simple open architectures to build truly multi-vendor best-of breed-network solutions.
- Photonic and Coherent DWDM Interface Cards for the Juniper Networks® PTX and MX series routers; specifically, new line cards for the PTX3000 that fully collapse the optical layer with the IP/MPLS layer, the industry’s first 1-TB coherent DWDM line card for the PTX5000 and a coherent 100GbE DWDM interface card with a highly programmable and service rich programmable forwarding ASIC for the MX Series. These line cards, which also feature highly programmable multi-layer SDN control, are designed for multi-vendor interoperability and highly efficient data center interconnect and metro networking needs.
- New optical layer support for Junos Space Connectivity Services Director (CSD) that extends visibility, control and management capabilities beyond the IP layer to the optical layer, and unified fault, configuration, and performance management.
- Enhanced Multi-layer SDN programmability for our Junos® operating system and the NorthStar Controller that, when used in conjunction with Juniper Networks PTX and MX series routers, provides traffic automation for converged packet-optical layers.
Today’s announcement introduces multilayer convergence to improve IP traffic scale and control for both data center interconnect and metro-area networks. We believe that this can lower operational expense and create a foundation for both physical and virtual service creation.
The sum is greater than the parts
In order for the IP and optical worlds to exceed merely coalescing and become greater than the sum of their parts, organisations must automate operational workflows to coordinate between IP and optical networking layers. This would simply the entire network experience for operators. With this in mind, Juniper’s Connectivity Services Director, a Junos Space application, can eliminate what I call “swivel chair management” and passing Post-it notes between the IP and optical management domains.
CSD gives operators a single intuitive multilayer management experience through extensible API’s that can allow operators to easily integrate the software into existing OSS and BSS environments alongside collaborative orchestration with WAN SDN controllers, like the NorthStar Controller.
But it’s just not enough to support open communication between management systems and WAN SDN controllers. They must also support heterogeneous environments at both the IP and optical layers to truly automate complexity out of the network.
I believe that there isn’t a more comprehensive multivendor, multilayer WAN SDN controller on the market than our NorthStar Controller. It supports more programmability for IP routers and optical networking systems (all via open standard-based protocols) than any solution out there. Access to automated traffic optimisation, greater capital efficiencies and simpler ways to view services across both the IP and optical layers is only a click away.
Don’t forget the hardware
Simplicity isn’t just all about software and, after all, a network doesn’t just run on thin air. Hardware integration serves just as critical a role in scaling IP networks for both data center interconnect and metro-area networks, which is why we’ve also increased the optical scale on the PTX series with 1Tbps of coherent 100GbE DWDM line cards, collapsed the photonic layer into the PTX3000, and leveraged the concept of optical integration in our MX series routers.
Optical integration presents major benefits to customers like SUNET, who requires high availability and maximum performance, as SUNET’s CTO, Per Nihlen, points out.
You might be wondering how our recent announcement to acquire BTI fits into all of this. We expect that BTI’s strength in DCI and metro optical solutions will complement Juniper’s existing product portfolio, including the new additions announced today. Stay tuned for more BTI news in the coming weeks.
These updates and enhancements are a testament to Juniper’s continued commitment to the integrated IP/optical approach. In order to optimise your network for greater automation and simplicity, network operators need better visibility and management, programmability and capacity – all working together seamlessly. Today’s announcement speaks directly to these areas and, when used as part of a multilayer convergence strategy for data center interconnect and metro networks, can be highly effective in increasing business agility and driving down operational costs.
The author of this blog is Masum Mir, VP of Product Management, Juniper Networks.
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