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Juniper enhances integrated wireless LAN control and management

As more devices and apps bombard the enterprise, IT needs integrated wireless LAN control to improve management flexibility and investment protection.

In an effort to make its campus network portfolio more programmable and integrated, Juniper Networks Inc. announced a new EX9200 campus core switch, a virtual wireless LAN controller and a network management application.

Network administrators don't have the resources to rip and replace their architecture every few years to combat the latest user trends -- like new devices and applications. Integrated wireless LAN control and management can help future-proof the network, while simplifying network management for IT.

"[Network administrators] know that if they are making an investment today, to make sure that it's going to be able to accommodate the future needs of the network," said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) Inc.

Integrated wireless LAN: Boosting flexibility and control for IT

The Junos Space Network Director is a new management application that runs on the Junos Space Network Management Platform. Network Director allows network administrators to manage campus switches and wireless LANs from a single interface, said Dhritiman Dasgupta, senior director of product marketing for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper.

"Enterprises need network agility," Dasgupta said. "[They need] the ability to seamlessly adapt to application needs and growing workloads and … the ability to manage all locations in the enterprise -- whether it's the campus, branch or remote site or data center -- from a single place."

Juniper also announced a new virtual wireless LAN controller, JunosV, which will run on x86-based servers.

Finally, Juniper announced the EX9200 programmable core switch, an extension to the legacy EX8200 switch line, Dasgupta said. The new EX9200 switch line will offer customers greater programmability though the campus environment and the ability to scale to higher densities than that former EX8200 switch, he said.

"[Juniper] is adding greater levels of programmability and scale into the switch, giving users the flexibility to program the devices themselves," Laliberte said. "The switch will also allow [customers] to scale to the 40 and 100 GB down the line."

Juniper plans integrate its JunosV virtual wireless LAN controller into the EX9200 switch, although it has not yet announced availability of that integration.

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Integrated wireless LAN control and management will be especially appreciated by IT organizations, as bring your own device bombards their networks, ESG's Laliberte said.

While the Junos Space Network Director can help simplify network operations by allowing IT to manage network infrastructure, users, applications and services through one interface, it can also help by putting network control into the hands of more IT staff members, said Andre Kindness, senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

"The updated infrastructure will allow other individuals -- like application developers and storage personnel -- to get involved and tweak things within the network instead of every request going to the network administrator to approve it," Kindness said. "Greater programmability is about empowering other teams."

Increased programmability preps network for future demands

Many vendors have been championing the integration of the wired and wireless network, but Juniper is not late to the party with this capability, Kindness said.

"We've been hearing about the need to integrate the management of both networks for some time now, but the vendors -- like Juniper -- are just starting to make this happen now," he said.

While users will appreciate the simplification of network management, a more programmable network infrastructure will help future-proof customer's environments, too, Laliberte said. The EX9200's programmable application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and its promised integration with the virtual wireless LAN controller could bring programmability to the entire campus network.

"Where you see the conversation going with SDN [software-defined networking] is that if organizations are thinking about making an investment, they are thinking about what will be the upgrading path to getting that programmable infrastructure and the software-defined network," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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