Juniper Networks has announced updates to its Contrail Cloud offering, which is designed to help service providers and telcos build cloud infrastructures in their central offices and PoPs.
Key updates include the adoption the Red Hat OpenStack Platform to serve as the IaaS environment in Contrail Cloud.
It also includes Red Hat Ceph Storage, which is object-based storage software that works with commodity servers and disks, supports block and file interfaces, and integrates with the OpenStack Swift API.
Contrail Cloud also includes AppFormix. Acquired by Juniper in 2016, AppFormix monitors infrastructure usage in cloud environments to track essential metrics such as memory, CPU, and disk utilization on hosts, available storage, and so on.
Operators can also use AppFormix get real-time and historical views of hosts and workloads, set threshold alarms, and use the software for capacity planing and to optimize workload placement.
Juniper will also support pre-validated Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) on Contrail Cloud to make it easier for providers to roll out new services. At present, Contrail Cloud supports Juniper’s vSRX virtual firewall.
The company has also partnered with Affirmed Networks to offer its virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) software, which includes virtualized versions of software for 3G and 4G services, policy control and enforcement, and other capabilities targeting mobile service providers.
Serving The Service Providers
As part of the Contrail Cloud update, Juniper is also offering a “build-and-operate” package, in which Juniper will provide a services team that will build out a distributed cloud environment for the provider or telco, and then operate it until the customer is ready to take it over.
Providers that choose the “build-and-operate” option will each get their own dedicated team from Juniper to set up and then run the cloud environment.
Pratik Roychowdhury, Juniper’s Head of Product Management for Contrail, said the length of such a service contract would be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Note that customers who choose this option will be required to purchase Juniper networking gear, such as QFX switches, as part of the Cloud Contrail infrastructure.
Many Parts, Many Paths
Numerous open-source projects aim to help telcos and service providers migrate to more cloud-like environments in their central offices and PoPs.
These efforts include (but aren’t limited to) the OPNFV project under the Linux Foundation, which provides reference designs for integrating open-source components such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight.
Then there’s the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which oversees the Open Network Operating System (ONOS) and Central Office Re-imagined as a Data Center (CORD) projects.
ONOS is a data center operating system designed for telco and service provider requirements. CORD is a reference implementation of commodity servers, white box switches, and open-source software on which providers can build out customer services.
These and other efforts have attracted a great deal of attention and interest from some of the largest telcos in the world, including AT&T, Verizon, NTT Communications, and others.
That said, it’s one thing to draw up a list of open-source software and commodity hardware. It’s another thing to actually install, stand up, and connect these disparate components, even if you’re working from a reference design.
Plus, you still need to develop and run business applications on top of this cloud infrastructure.
Juniper sees an opportunity to serve its target customers by doing the heavy lifting of infrastructure integration and operation, while also working (mostly) with open source software (Red Hat is open source, and Juniper maintains an open version of Contrail called OpenContrail, but AppFormix is proprietary).
Potential customers will have to weigh the costs of Juniper’s white glove service (including Juniper networking hardware) against the (presumably) faster time to value they’ll get through Juniper’s build-and-operate strategy.