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Juniper Networks' engineering focus is on making the network simpler. The vendor has released three software robots (bots) and a toolkit to automate the provisioning, testing, and analytics of the network. During the Juniper NXTWORK event, various presenters discussed why automation is important in dealing with the complexity of the network.

Software skills are key to automation

Juniper has released three bots to automate testing (Contrail TestBot), provide router peer provisioning (Contrail PeerBot), and translate analytics and troubleshooting data into actionable results (AppFormix HealthBot). We expect Juniper to continue to build new bots to automate more network functions as we speed toward "self-driving" networking. Importantly, the release of the Juniper Extension Toolkit (JET) allows developers to create applications that directly access the MX and virtualized MX edge routers data plane via APIs. Now, service providers, data center operators, system integrators, and select enterprise users can build applications for automation or new services. We foresee developers using Juniper's openness to create bots and applications that will differentiate a service provider's offerings. Juniper is shortening the time to market by automating and allowing the custom development of new applications on an ad hoc basis.

These software tools require service provider's network engineers to have strong software skills, including Python and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) in addition to understanding networking to take advantage of the power of these tools. As engineers add or refine those skills, carriers can rely on system integrators like Juniper to build and support applications. These ingredients are all necessary to move toward an automated network that is able to support cloud applications and future 5G applications.


Further reading

2017 OFC: Disaggregation Gaining Momentum, TE0006-001383 (May 2017)

Service Provider Switching & Routing Forecast Spreadsheet: 2017–22, TE0006-001411 (June 2017)

Service Provider Switching & Routing Forecast Report: 2017–22, TE0006-001412 (August 2017)

For the spreadsheets containing Ovum's market data, see Market Share Spreadsheet: 3Q17 SP Switching & Routing, SPT002-000015 (November 2017) and Market Share Spreadsheet: 3Q17 Switching & Routing EMEA and AP Subregional, SPT002-000016 (November 2017).


Don Frey, Principal Analyst, Transport and Routing

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