Juniper reinforces its intent-based networking with Apstra buy

Juniper adds Apstra to two other recent acquisitions to boost its networking portfolio.

A network of circuits and U.S. dollar sign spheres.
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Looking to shore-up its intent-based networking software portfolio, Juniper has said it will buy Apstra for an undisclosed amount. 

Founded in 2014, Apstra’s claim to fame is its flagship Apstra Operating System (AOS) software which was developed from the start to support IBN features. Once deployed, AOS keeps a real-time repository of configuration, telemetry and validation information to constantly ensure the network is doing what the customer wants it to do.

AOS also includes automation features to provide consistent network and security policies for workloads across physical and virtual infrastructures. Its intent-based analytics perform regular network checks to safeguard configurations and is hardware agnostic so it can be integrated to work with products from Cisco, Arista, Dell, Microsoft and Nvidia/Cumulus.

The company has had a strong relationship with Juniper, most recently enhancing its support for Juniper's Ethernet VPN (EVPN) which ensures that the VPNs are created properly across all devices and validates EVPN routing topology across the entire network. AOS can also prevent customizations from being added to the network blueprint until they are certified as being in compliance with customers' security policies. Both vendors have been strong supporters of developing Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC), the open-source network operating system, as well.

Adding Apstra’s IBN and automated closed-loop assurance expertise advances Juniper’s vision to transform data center operations said Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks in a statement. "With the combination of Juniper and Apstra, customers get the best infrastructure and fabric management with integrated design, deployment and automated root cause identification and remediation to satisfy any data center environment," he said.

Apstra founder and CEO, David Cheriton, who will join Juniper as chief data center scientist,  said in a blog about the acquisition that Apstra’s approach has delivered substantial and quantifiable benefits to its diverse set of customers, such as Accenture, Bloomberg and Yahoo Japan. 

"We have enabled them to find 'needle in haystack problems,' like a few mis-cabled ports across 10,000 devices and bad fiber links that were debilitating the data center," Cheriton stated. "Fast and accurate root-cause identification and remediation is our specialty and essential to saving customers time and money while ensuring mission-critical infrastructures operate as intended. Together, on day one, we will deliver unrivaled intent-based networking and automated continuous validation, empowering simplified operations on top of the leading data center portfolio, which is differentiated for its range of fabric options, rich telemetry and open programmability."

The Apstra move is just the latest in a string of acquisitions Juniper has made to boost its networking software where it had weaknesses, said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. "Apstra has some key automation and intent-based technology that while not breakthrough, has some traction and will help Juniper."

Other Juniper acquisitions this year include 128 Technology for SD-WAN technology and Netrounds active-test and service-assurance programs for fixed and mobile networks. It acquired wireless/AI specialist Mist in 2019.  

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