Juniper to build its own software-defined networking stack

Juniper Networks is not, it turns out, all that enthusiastic about the OpenFlow technology that is at the heart of a lot of software-defined network (SDN) strategies these days. But don't be confused. That does not mean that Juniper doesn't believe in SDN or has not been quietly putting together its own SDN battle plan to take on Cisco, which has its own ideas about SDN, just like other OpenFlow enthusiasts who are trying to break up the network control and forwarding planes and make them more malleable and manageable.

Juniper has been Cisco Systems' main threat in switching, routing, and security appliances for so long that it is hard to remember them not fighting. And the two companies, which have a lot at stake in preserving the current state of the network, are not moving particularly fast in embracing various kinds of software-defined networking (SDN) technologies, particularly the OpenFlow protocol.

And there's a good reason why. Both Cisco and Juniper, as we learned on Tuesday at the company's partner conference in Las Vegas, think they have a better approach to SDN than just slapping OpenFlow inside their physical switches, adding virtual switches to hypervisors, and parking an OpenFlow controller out-of-band to manage the shape-shifting of network traffic.