Juniper bundles Contrail Networking, OpenStack for the edge

Juniper Networks has bundled software from itself and partner Red Hat to deliver an open-source-focused platform that service providers can use for running applications and services at the network edge.

The software-based infrastructure package, called Contrail Edge Cloud, includes Contrail Networking for virtualized networking and Red Hat’s OpenStack cloud computing instance. Other features include security, policy controls, monitoring, analytics and reporting. The software-only bundle, introduced this week, runs on a commodity x86 server.

Juniper developed the product for high-bandwidth, low-latency applications and services, such as video, internet of things and augmented reality. The platform will also support 5G applications service providers plan to introduce over the next several years.

Contrail Edge Cloud targets service providers turning to cloud computing at the network edge, where facilities — such as mobile base stations — often have space and power constraints. Service providers are deploying products at the periphery to bring them closer to customers, thereby improving performance.

Service providers expect edge computing to be particularly useful for future 5G applications aimed at supporting smart city initiatives and autonomous vehicles. Both require a network that can deliver instructions instantly.

Products comprising Contrail Edge Cloud

The Contrail Edge Cloud bundle includes Contrail Networking, Contrail Security and AppFormix, Juniper’s software for policy monitoring and network analytics. Contrail Security enforces the policies for Juniper’s SRX firewalls for virtual machines and containers running on OpenStack.

For networking, Juniper has chosen The Linux Foundation’s Tungsten Fabric as the foundation of Contrail Networking. Formerly called OpenContrail, which Juniper developed and contributed to the open source community, Tungsten includes a centralized controller for creating and distributing security and network policies. The controller allocates the latter through Juniper’s vRouter, which provides the Layer 3 network services.

Red Hat products include its OpenStack distribution; Ceph technology for software-defined storage services; and OpenShift, an integrated development environment for building and deploying Docker-formatted containers. OpenShift manages the latter through the open source Kubernetes container orchestration platform.