Everyone loves clouds these days. But telecomm companies are understandably cautious about entrusting their technology to the cloud. Wouldn't you be if a failure mean dropping phone or data services to millions of customers? Still, Juniper Networks and Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company are certain they can devise a carrier-grade OpenStack cloud for virtualizing core networks and network functions.
In this cloud solution, Juniper will provide the service support for Ubuntu and Ubuntu OpenStack. This, in turn, will work in concert with Juniper's Contrail. Contrail is Juniper's open-source software-defined network (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) architecture.
The point of this is that carriers and service providers are working feverishly on addressing their end-users' ceaseless data demands by making their infrastructure more agile and automated. If that sounds like a job for a cloud and SDN/NFV, Juniper and Canonical agree. Using their software stack, the two claim to be "providing open, scalable, cost-effective, and carrier-grade cloud solutions on which carriers can build a virtualized IP platform and support NFV."
This will not be easy. As Juniper's open-source SDN competition, Open Daylight can attest, getting SDN to work properly is a hard job.
Still, OpenStack is both powerful and flexible. In addition, according to the most recent OpenStack Foundation global survey, Ubuntu is the most popular OpenStack operating system. What's even more important is that OpenContrail, the pure open-source version of Contrail, has always used Ubuntu and OpenStack for its default platform.
As Ankur Singla, Juniper's corporate VP and general manager of cloud software, said in a statement, "Juniper Networks firmly believes ... our jointly developed converged Ubuntu and Juniper OpenStack solution will help deliver greater performance, scalability and reliability at lower costs."
Jay Lyman, 451 Research's research manager, and an expert who doesn't have a dog in this fight, added in a statement that "OpenStack networking is a critical issue for large enterprises and service providers to solve, particularly in higher-level areas such as NFV, agility, and automation. Joint support from Canonical and Juniper and both companies' participation in [Canonical's] OpenStack Interoperability Lab (OIL) helps to meet the performance, scale, reliability and security needs of carrier-grade customers."
Looking ahead, Juniper and Canonical will collaborate and coordinate product development, engineering, marketing and upstream contributions to continue to expand an open and functioning OpenStack ecosystem for service providers to deliver Contrail cloud and NFV solutions. We'll see if they're successful in delivering the goods carriers need for their "must never fail" networks.