Juniper Networks has integrated device telemetry, its AppFormix monitoring software, and its NorthStar WAN SDN controller to help service providers running IP MPLS networks to spot and fix problems more quickly.
The integration takes advantage of the Juniper Telemetry Interface (JTI), a feature of Juniper’s Junos operating system that can stream operational data such as CPU and memory usage, link statistics, and anomalous events, to a sensor.
In this case, the sensor is Juniper’s AppFormix software. AppFormix collects and analyzes the telemetry data. If the software detects events that fall outside certain parameters, it will take action. Those parameters could be operator-defined thresholds, or deviations from normal behavior that are identified by machine-learning algorithms.
AppFormix enters an alert in its dashboard and, using API calls, will open a maintenance request for the affected device or link in the NorthStar controller.
Depending on the nature of the problem, the controller may be able to automatically take an action, such as updating a configuration to re-route traffic around a device, or provide the necessary information to an operator to address the issue.
Juniper says one goal of the integration is to help operators spot so-called gray failures that might otherwise go undetected but could still affect performance.
Not Junos? Then It’s SNMP For You
A key value proposition of this integration is that streaming telemetry provides near-real-time monitoring of device and network performance. But what about devices that aren’t running Junos with its JTI streaming capability?
Juniper says the AppFormix software supports SNMP so it can poll third-party devices to gather information in heterogenous networks.
However, SNMP data is polled at timed intervals rather than continuously streamed. This isn’t the end of the world, but it does detract from the value proposition of real-time monitoring.
It may also be an opportunity for your friendly neighborhood Juniper sales rep to suggest swapping out that non-Junos stuff for something more streamy.
Speaking of opportunities, Juniper anticipates that its service provider customers may want to engage with Juniper’s professional services team for help integrating JTI, AppFormix, and NorthStar, as well as for getting their heads around AppFormix’s machine learning capabilities.
“We always wrap in an option for professional services,” said Sally Bament, VP of Service Provider Marketing at Juniper Networks.
“The machine learning aspects in AppFormix are new, so my assumption would be that professional services would be involved, but it doesn’t have to be.”
DIY Vs. Integrated Value
It’s no secret that major service providers and telcos are flocking to disaggragted, open source software and hardware projects being driven by the Linux Foundation, the Open Networking Foundation, the Open Compute Project, and other bodies.
Service providers and telcos can, if they so choose, assemble and customize everything from switching ASICs to network OSs to SDN controllers without paying dime one to traditional vendors such as Juniper, Cisco, and Ericsson.
So these vendors need to find ways to make products they’ve already sold more valuable (such as the integration described above), or to give customers a compelling reason to double (or triple) down by buying more products from the vendor’s catalog with the promise they’ll provide additional benefits.
In other words, I think Juniper is smart to combine its products this way. It highlights integration benefits that might give Juniper a competitive edge as service providers and telcos contemplate all of their choices in this the brave new world of open source and disaggregation.