Juniper’s Sandbox-Style Innovation Lab

Cultivating a community to bring new ideas to life.

In technology, taking innovative ideas from concept to market can be a process fraught with risks and, often, prohibitive costs. Juniper has set out to ease that process for its community with a unique facility called OpenLab.

Designed for small startups and large service providers alike, OpenLab creates opportunities for participants to gain hands-on learning about network programmability and automation while they develop and road-test new ideas. Juniper experts are on hand to help, and the lab offers an array of state-of-the-art networking products.

OpenLab has drawn almost 300 different entities—including customers, academics, and partners—often giving companies a much-needed resource to develop integrated product and service offerings. A hub for collaboration, the lab has also become a virtual, global resource. Participants can access it remotely for activities such as application development, testing, and SDN “throwdown” competitions.

Breeding success

The evidence of OpenLab’s value as a resource shows in the products, companies, and partnerships that it has incubated.

One company that used OpenLab to launch its initial product is Juniper SDN and NFV partner Gencore, a startup that formed from a University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) engineering team. Gencore developed an on-demand product that analyzes and resolves application performance issues in the cloud. As a UPenn entity, the team took advantage of OpenLab assets (lab resources, programs, and people expertise). Later, as a startup, Gencore relied on OpenLab and Juniper Contrail assets to build its product, also joining in Juniper-organized meetups to review its solution with customers.

Akamai Technologies, a leader in content delivery network products and services, used OpenLab to do proof-of-concept testing for its Aura Licensed CDN (LCDN) solution. A member of Juniper’s partner ecosystem, Akamai leveraged OpenLab resources to build an SDN- and NFV-enabled elastic LCDN that can help network service providers scale IP video delivery more cost-effectively and with greater agility.

Juniper alliance partner Sonus Networks has used OpenLab for several years to build and demonstrate solutions for unified communications. These solutions intelligently link the Sonus hardware- and software-based session border controllers with Juniper platforms for dynamic resource provisioning.

Juniper strategic channel partners such as InterCloud and Amdocs also have used OpenLab assets. The lab helps them minimize risks while optimizing new, cloud-based service offerings for their customers.

InterCloud has used OpenLab to implement different real-life use cases related to enterprise and network service providers. One such case successfully demonstrated the elimination of a physical network and application appliances from the customer premises, replacing them with virtual network functions (VNFs) using Juniper’s Contrail platform.

Working with Juniper, Amdocs uses OpenLab to deliver an integrated platform that provides virtualization deployment, operations, and management capabilities, onto which customers can build unique services. The Amdocs and Juniper virtualization solutions support both network and IT application workloads on a unified cloud.

Feeding the cycle of innovation

What enables Juniper to provide this “lab as a service” is a unique combination of talent, experience, and advanced technology. OpenLab draws on the combined knowledge of a broad pool of Juniper experts. It demonstrates how technology leaders can work closely with universities, startups, and entrepreneurs to feed the cycle of invention and new ideas. By mentoring and supporting entrepreneurial innovation, Juniper is fueling the migration to new technologies such as SDN, helping the global network community move forward.