How Juniper’s Contrail Stacks Against VMware’s NSX

Not content to merely stand by and watch the software-defined network (SDN) train roar by, Juniper Networks is bringing Contrail, its own open-source SDN software stack, to the tracks.

Contrail is a production-ready, standards-based, scalable network virtualization and intelligence solution for SDNs. Contrail aims to help IT bridge physical and virtual networks and give service providers and enterprises an open, agile solution. The technology has been in trials with more than 40 global customers. Partners include IBM, Citrix, Riverbed and Red Hat.

"SDN has tremendous promise to drive agility, fuel innovation, and reduce costs for both enterprise and service providers," said Bob Muglia, executive vice president of Software Solutions Division at Juniper Networks. "Customers are excited by this potential, but until now, SDN has been a lot of hype and not much reality."

Juniper's SDN Pitch

Juniper is looking to change that with Contrail. Here's the networking company's pitch: Enterprises are looking for more efficient ways to build private, public and hybrid clouds to increase application deployment agility. However, traditional networking has not kept pace and can still be manual, static and complex.

Juniper argues that Contrail virtualizes the network, brings advanced networking capabilities into the hypervisor and integrates with cloud orchestration systems, to make possible automation and orchestration across multiple cloud platforms. The solution also offers an analytics engine that offers a real-time view into network operations.

At the same time, network and cloud service providers are under tremendous pressure to develop, deploy and monetize new services, but most services are difficult to reconfigure or adapt to changing user demands. Contrail also helps them bring new services to market by providing a smooth transition with automatic provisioning and dynamic service chaining in cloud environments that run on x86-based servers.

Contrail Versus NSX

We asked Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, for his take on...

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