Juniper evolves its offering around the data center with simplified configuration tools, real-time monitoring, and support for VMware NSX and the Sonic network operating system.
The latest version of Apstra automation software delivered by Juniper Networks provides monitoring capabilities and configuration templates, as well as better integration with VMware’s NSX security and virtualization platform. In January, Juniper purchased Apstra and its Apstra Operating System (AOS), which was originally designed to support Intent-Based Networking (IBN) network automation functions. Once deployed, AOS – now known as Apstra – maintains a real-time repository of configuration, telemetry, and validation information to ensure the network meets customer requirements. Apstra also includes automation functions capable of delivering consistent network and security policies for workloads across physical and virtual infrastructures.
NaaS for tomorrow, but with challenges
In order to protect the configurations, Apstra performs regular and automated checks of the network. Because it is hardware agnostic, the software can be integrated with products from Cisco, Arista, Dell, Microsoft, and Nvidia / Cumulus. Prior to the takeover, Apstra was heavily integrated with Juniper’s network products. With the release of Apstra 4.0, the OEM has strengthened its IBN capabilities with customizable and reusable network models. “The idea is to make it easier for customers to add devices or workloads according to their needs, and the Apstra OS ensures that they run across the entire network fabric without any issues and without manual intervention, as was the case in the past. Apstra really allows for a leap forward in the IBN configuration, ”said Mansour Karam, Founder and Chairman of Apstra. “The operating system also supports beacons that label all kinds of physical and logical components of the network in order to plan the flow of data, apply policies or filter certain traffic, for the explicit purpose of validating choices. automation of the client and verify that they materialize on the network, ”explained Mr. Karam. “This information is also retrieved by Apstra’s main database and analysis system, which allows customers to manage the expected state of the network and receive alerts in the event of a deviation from the forecast,” a Mr Karam added.
Support for VMware NSX
“Apstra 4.0 extends support for VMware’s NSX Networking 3.0 environment to facilitate management of virtual and physical networks,” said Karam. Overlay networks like VMware NSX-T make it easier to manage workloads, but add a new layer of complexity for administration and troubleshooting. “Apstra’s integration with NSX-T 3.0 ensures cross-functionality between virtual and physical networks,” said Michael Bushong, vice president of data center product management at Juniper, in a blog post. “For example, because Apstra queries the NSX-T controller, it knows what’s going on in the NSX-T environment and can allocate network resources accordingly,” Bushong said. “In addition, Apstra software allows customers to easily locate virtual machines in the fabric. The unified views of the Underlay and Overlay layers greatly simplify troubleshooting and accelerate the average time to prove the non-seriousness of an incident – the “Mean Time to Innocence” – in the event of application performance problems ”.
Apstra 4.0 also supports the Sonic (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud) operating system. This Linux-based network OS, developed and released as open source by Microsoft, decouples the network software from the underlying hardware and allows it to run on switches and ASICs from multiple vendors, while supporting all functionality. network such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) external route exchange, Remote Direct-Memory Access (RDMA) direct memory access, QoS quality of service, and other Ethernet / IP technologies. “The idea is to allow network operators to access the same Apstra interface in their Sonic environments and in their corporate system,” said Mansour Karam. “For example, Sonic doesn’t have a traditional CLI for system control, which can be a challenge, but Apstra software addresses this sensitive issue,” Karam said. Apstra has always been a strong supporter of SONiC and last November the OS was enriched with new SONiC features including support for Ethernet VPN (EVPN), Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN), not to mention the plug in charge of EVPN Route Types 2, 3, and 5, that of the Data Center Interconnect (DCI), and L2 and L3 segmentation. DCI can link multiple data centers to improve resiliency, data backup, and disaster recovery.
Apstra 4.0 also benefits from a turnkey packaging option for Juniper software and hardware. Customers can now order Apstra software prepackaged with Juniper’s QFX Series switches and SRX Series Services Gateways. “This can allow midsize businesses to adopt Juniper’s operational approach to data center without having to initiate large design projects or long deployment programs,” said Bushong. “The scalable and optimized architecture allows teams to confidently deploy what they need at time T, with the flexibility to move from those small 4-switch footprints to much larger deployments, regardless of the resource.” Mr. Bushong added. “Apstra’s ability to manage building blocks now makes it possible to deploy new data centers in hours, instead of days, thanks to Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and a set of pre-validated plans.” The Sonic market is growing: According to a recent report by research firm 650 Group, the global market for SONiC in data center switching will exceed $ 4 billion by 2025. Apstra 4.0 will be available at the end of the month. month of June.