Andy Lapteff, Product Manager, Juniper Networks

Juniper Validated Design Podcast, Ep. 1

Network AutomationData Center
Andy Lapteff Headshot
Video screenshot of Andy Lapteff, Product Manager, Juniper Networks.

Get a pre-tested roadmap from point A to point B in network implementation.

Why start from scratch when designing your data center network? Save time and effort — and get a superior end result — by using Juniper Validated Designs (JVDs). Watch to learn all about JVDs, and how you can put them to work for your data center.

For more on Juniper validated designs, visit the data center design center.

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You’ll learn

  • How JVDs give you a well-defined, well-tested, and well-described network blueprint

  • Why JVDs work for net-new networks, networks needing a full migration, and something in between

Who is this for?

Network Professionals


Andy Lapteff Headshot
Andy Lapteff
Product Manager, Juniper Networks

Guest speakers

Ben Griffin Headshot
Ben Griffin
Director Technical Marketing Engineering, Juniper Networks


0:05 Welcome to the Juniper Validated Design Podcast.

0:07 My name is Andy Lapteff, and today I am joined by Ben Griffin.

0:11 Ben, who are you?

0:12 What do you do at Juniper?

0:13 Hi, my name is Ben Griffin.

0:15 I work at Juniper Networks on the Market Use Case and Solutions Team in the Cloud Ready

0:19 Data Center.

0:20 We build solutions that make our customers' lives easier.

0:23 Making customers' lives easier.

0:24 You?re talking my language, Ben.

0:25 I don't feel like too many people were making my life easier when I was managing production

0:30 data centers.

0:31 So thank you for the good work you're doing.

0:34 This is gonna be...

0:35 a conversation around design mostly, right?

0:38 And I'll be honest with you, I'm not great at design.

0:42 You know, I traditionally was handed designs from our architects, and they're like, hey,

0:47 here's a bunch of iron, you know, go implement the design we gave.

0:51 So you're going to be my design expert here.

0:54 So, you know, we're here to talk about Juniper validated designs.

0:58 Before we jump into that, I guess, let's just talk about design at a high level.

1:01 How, you know, a customer comes to Juniper and says, hey, I want to build this network.

1:05 How have we done that traditionally?

1:07 Well, traditionally, we basically handed them a whole bunch of technical documentation and

1:14 said, good luck.

1:16 No, that's not entirely true.

1:19 We basically gave them a baseline of how to do things.

1:24 But we didn't really put any guardrails in place.

1:27 So really, the sky was a limit to what you could do with Juniper hardware.

1:34 There's a lot of knobs, there's a lot of things to turn, and every knob and everything that

1:39 you do enable has some level of impact on other things.

1:43 So while it's great that we are very flexible and in certain times we can be very specialized

1:50 in helping our customers meet certain needs, we have not traditionally put things in place

1:58 that actually said this is the best way to do it.

2:01 Because

2:02 We wanted to give the customers the flexibility to go out and make those choices for themselves.

2:08 What we're finding is that a lot of folks, you know, in today's networks, they've gotten

2:13 very complex.

2:14 They don't necessarily even know where to start, let alone where to end.

2:17 And we're trying to give them a roadmap of how to get from point A to point B and be

2:22 successful in that delivery of that network.

2:25 That makes a lot of sense.

2:26 And I've worked in a lot of those overly complex, over-engineered, all the nerd knobs.

2:30 Right.

2:31 Dialed up and it's, it's so hard for a number of reasons.

2:34 I'm just thinking back to my own career, like even troubleshooting, right?

2:37 Something breaks, you get called in the middle of the night, you're on, you're like, Oh my

2:39 God, where do I start?

2:41 What part of the snowflake network is broken and what's, what's happening?

2:45 So there's, there's so much to be said for more of like a prescriptive, you know, overarching

2:50 design of like here, here's, which I think is where we're going with Juniper validated

2:54 design.

2:55 Right.

2:56 So

2:57 Do you have like a high level definition of what is this thing?

2:58 What are we talking about with, you know, what is Juniper Validated Design?

3:01 So a Juniper Validated Design is a well-defined, well-tested and well-described network, right?

3:08 So what we really get into is we have certain products that fulfill certain roles within

3:14 the data center and we go through a rigorous testing process to kind of one, validate that

3:21 everything functions on a network level.

3:25 But we take it to the extra step where we actually start to incorporate things that

3:28 our customers were traditionally attached to those networks.

3:31 So things like VMware or Kubernetes.

3:36 We actually start attaching third party storage vendors.

3:40 We bring in other parts of our portfolio from our security components to our WAN components

3:48 to our campus components.

3:50 And we bring those all together.

3:51 We give you a guided resource on how to get those components attached to the data center

3:56 and where they function.

3:58 Up until recently talking to you, I didn't know much about testing and what goes into

4:02 that.

4:03 So, I think it'd be helpful just briefly to kind of jump into the testing because again,

4:08 as a network engineer, I'm out there, I'm doing things, I'm pressing buttons, bad things

4:12 happen.

4:13 I'm like, oh my God, why can't vendor XYZ give me a stable, reliable, predictable network,

4:18 right?

4:19 Now I may be, you know,

4:21 If we're coming to a vendor saying, I want to do these certain things, please enable

4:24 me to do that.

4:25 Sure, we'll let you design whatever you want, right?

4:28 But you mentioned to me when we talked before about, that's not all tested, right?

4:33 The downside of doing bespoke or letting the customer design anything they want and turn

4:37 any nerd knob is, it's not realistic that vendors like ourselves can test all those

4:42 scenarios, right?

4:43 All right, well, we go through what we call functional testing.

4:47 So this is where we start.

4:49 So when a new feature gets released,

4:51 we go through one, making sure the feature works, right?

4:55 And that is subjective to the hardware that it's on.

4:58 So it's kind of like in an isolated case, does it function, does it not?

5:02 When what we do beyond that is we go into something called multifunctional testing where

5:07 we bring in other products that would fit in that same portfolio scope.

5:13 So things like leaves would interoperate together when we turn on this feature.

5:17 It works across different platforms.

5:20 And then we take it to the next level where we do scale and performance testing.

5:24 So to make sure that the feature meets the scale requirements that were put forth, you

5:28 know, based on that request.

5:30 And then finally, we do something called PDT or product delivery testing, which is more

5:36 of a use case scenario testing where we use spirents and other things.

5:41 Obviously, we've done this prior in the scale testing, but now we're doing more of.

5:47 what people would see is traffic generation, things like that to where we're actually making

5:50 sure that things function relatively well over a period of time.

5:55 And then finally, what the JVD does, we take all that testing that's happened beneath it

6:00 and we layer on top an actual real world data center.

6:04 We actually bring it into where we have real world traffic.

6:07 We are using real world applications.

6:10 We have real world storage components.

6:11 So we take all these pieces that traditionally were kind of left off.

6:16 Because it is a big uplift for us, right?

6:17 I mean, you got to remember, like we effectively have to have experts in VMware.

6:22 We have to have experts in Kubernetes.

6:23 We have to have experts in storage that basically help bring this to fruition.

6:28 So we have to put a lot of effort and investment in those resources, just like our customers

6:35 do.

6:36 And then once we put all those things together, we validate that they work as expected, right?

6:42 It does the thing that it's supposed to do.

6:45 And that there's no issues.

6:47 So what we're really trying to do is before the product leaves the factory to ensure that

6:52 there are, there are no issues and that when the, our customers go ahead and adopt these

6:57 models, they can have a high level of confidence that from day one to day 100 things will work

7:02 just as expected.

7:04 That sounds awesome and not my experience in prod.

7:08 So I'm really, that's, that's why I get so excited about this and that multifunctional

7:12 testing and.

7:13 That really opened my eyes when you described that to me because yeah, you can create a

7:17 feature, spin it up in some software version and say, oh yeah, it works great.

7:21 Ta-da, there's the hello things or there's the neighbors that come up.

7:23 Yay.

7:24 But then when you start plugging all the pieces in and all the systems that, you know, exist

7:27 in the data center, that's really where the rubber meets the road to me.

7:31 So, you know, when I was managing prod, you know, I want a predictable data center.

7:36 I want my network just to run.

7:37 I want it to be reliable.

7:38 I do not want to be called every single time I'm on call, right?

7:43 And from what I'm understanding from you, I mean, that's what JVDs help deliver, right?

7:47 So now we're kind of pivoting into the benefits of, if you follow this prescriptive, tested

7:54 design that we're calling JVDs, Juniper Validated Designs, what are some of the benefits you

7:58 get?

7:59 So, I mean, I guess reliability is one of the biggest ones you have to touch on, right?

8:02 Right, so what we're really trying to do is enhance our customer experience.

8:08 So nobody wants to go through the process of opening up cases and trying to figure out

8:13 what's going on from a network perspective.

8:16 And a lot of times, let's be honest, it's not necessarily a network issue.

8:21 It's just an issue somewhere in the ecosystem of a data center.

8:26 So we want to do two things.

8:27 One, we want to make sure that everything functions as it should properly function,

8:32 and that it's easily achievable for our customers.

8:35 So we're going to do

8:37 basically give you a point A to point B. Like you start with nothing, you end with a completed

8:42 data center.

8:43 And if you follow the model, everything that we've done, you'll end up with the exact same

8:48 configuration pieces that we've put together.

8:51 This does two things for you.

8:53 One, obviously this is what we test against.

8:55 So again, we're removing obstacles before you even get there.

9:01 The second part is now we have a well-defined network.

9:04 So we know exactly what it should look like.

9:07 And let's say you call in one day and I've got a problem and things aren't working.

9:10 Well, it gives us an easy place to start from.

9:13 So we don't necessarily think that people will 100% stay within what is the end result

9:19 of the JVD.

9:20 I mean, we expect some level of modification.

9:24 People are going to attach different things.

9:27 Things are going to happen from that perspective.

9:28 We can't test everything.

9:30 But we do expect some level of change.

9:33 The problem is, is how do you identify that change?

9:36 And since we know what it should look like in the pristine state, it's easy for us to

9:42 identify drift.

9:44 And then we can focus on those items that are really drift related.

9:48 The other piece is, let's say it wasn't the data center, or it's not at least the network

9:54 in itself.

9:55 It's, again, easier for us to identify this all looks good.

9:59 So let's focus on what the problem with the application is.

10:03 And maybe that's where the issue lies.

10:05 So that mean time to innocence is greatly reduced.

10:07 That's amazing.

10:08 I want to say that almost every support case I ever opened with any vendor started with

10:13 me sending them over a drawing of this thing we built, and then a bunch of show techs of

10:17 the stuff that we like.

10:19 Because we had to teach them what the network design was every single time we opened a case.

10:24 And that took a lot of time.

10:26 And it increases the MTTR, that mean time to innocence, as well.

10:30 So.

10:31 that, yeah, if everybody's using this perscriptive design, here's what it should look like, here's

10:34 what the config should do, and it's much easier to, I guess, find deviations from that.

10:40 And I love the customer experience driven stuff.

10:44 You're right, nobody wants to open a support case.

10:48 And the meantime, the innocence, right?

10:50 Everybody blames the network.

10:51 So if we can get to that innocent state earlier, which it sounds like one of the things that

10:58 JVDs

10:59 can do for us.

11:00 Like, yeah, when stuff breaks, it stinks, but JVDs enable support to get to a solution

11:03 quicker.

11:04 What's the weird thing that happened?

11:05 Because we have a prescriptive model.

11:07 And then when somebody calls in and says, hey, my app isn't working, okay, well, we

11:11 have this prescriptive model.

11:12 We can see what's working and what isn't.

11:13 And help me say, it's not the network, much faster, because I've spent days, if not, I

11:21 remember spending four days on this.

11:25 big problem, right?

11:26 And at the end it wound up being like an expired certificate on a server.

11:29 Now, they didn't even tell us.

11:31 Like, hey, whatever happened to that outage, such and such, like, oh yeah, that was a certificate

11:35 on a server.

11:36 I'm like, where they gonna tell us?

11:37 Like, we're still testing, you know?

11:39 So there's just, you know, so much stuff that can happen.

11:42 So we're driving reliability.

11:43 I, you know, I was talking to a friend when we were talking about JVDs and he mentioned

11:48 something about, you know, boring operations, right?

11:50 I kind of love, like I always think of the Maytag repair man who's just sitting around

11:54 and...

11:55 Those Maytag appliances are so reliable, built so well, right?

11:58 That, you know, he just sits around and has, has nothing to do.

12:02 So I love that thought of, you know, if you follow JVDs and the prescriptive model and

12:08 all the testing behind it, operating a network will be less dramatic.

12:13 You know, my, my, my days have been fraught with, you know, as a network engineer in prod

12:19 with just endless drama.

12:22 So I kind of like the thought of, you know, the network just runs.

12:26 And when something weird happens, it's much quicker and easier to.

12:30 To, to, to find it.

12:31 Um, is so for JVDs, I guess, is this just for greenfield?

12:35 Like if you're building something new, you would follow a JVD.

12:38 Let's say I have a network.

12:40 How, how do I get, if I have a Brownfield, how do I get to JVD?

12:44 Is it, is it iterative as I replace end of life gear?

12:47 I start to go toward this design.

12:49 How does that work?

12:50 Yeah, so basically we see kind of like two avenues for insertion for a JVD.

12:56 One is obviously new networks, new projects that you can isolate and put off to the side

13:03 and basically start building towards the new architecture, right?

13:08 The other model is obviously like a full-on migration.

13:11 So we have a lot of customers that are upgrading from previous versions of Junos.

13:17 So this is kind of like an opportune time to

13:20 make that transition because you're already going to go through some level of transition.

13:25 One, what that does help you with if you're actually coming from a previous version of

13:28 Junos to a newer version, on the JVD, we have a very regimented release schedule that we

13:35 follow.

13:36 So effectively, we're going on hardened releases or extended end-of-life releases.

13:40 So that puts our customers in a better position right there.

13:44 The other part is that if, for the most part, the features align,

13:50 you kind of take the guesswork out of, is the problem Junos, or is the problem that

13:54 I've transitioned to this new modern design and something's amiss there.

14:02 So we kind of take that hesitation or the reluctance to one, get to a modern data center

14:12 fabric, or two, get up to the modern operating system.

14:18 we do go through that entire process.

14:20 We go through use case testing.

14:22 The one thing I want to really highlight is, if you're on a JVD, effectively you are on

14:28 what we would call a customer use case, right?

14:31 So customer use cases inside of our organization are basically custom test beds that are built

14:37 that emulate some of our larger customers networks.

14:40 So these are typically cloud providers and folks like that that we send through like

14:45 extensive testing.

14:47 that emulates what they look like.

14:48 Well, by moving to a JVD, every single one of our customers get that experience because

14:55 you go through that same level of regression and you go through that same level of testing

14:59 and also that same level of validation to ensure that all the products work in conjunction

15:05 with each other and that everything just functionally flows.

15:10 And again, we support any model.

15:13 So basically, if a feature is supported on a platform, it's supported on a platform.

15:17 It doesn't matter if you're on a JVD or not.

15:20 What the JVD does is we take it to the next level.

15:23 We give you that extra confidence that when you go and enable these functions and these

15:30 features, everything will just work smoothly because we've done the extra testing to get

15:38 you to that next level.

15:40 So we've kind of taken some of that burden off the customer.

15:42 Yeah, I guess there's an endless number of variations that you could build and features

15:48 you could deploy and knobs you could turn.

15:51 And it's just statistically probably near impossible to test all that, but because of

15:55 this prescriptive model and it's all built in the interoperability and to me, it's just

16:01 about the testing.

16:02 You go through all this vigorous testing.

16:03 So when you deploy a JVD, we have beaten the heck out of that solution in our, you know,

16:09 in our, in our labs and our, uh,

16:10 in our customer test beds and stuff to make sure that you're getting a reliable, prescriptive,

16:18 expected operation.

16:19 I don't know what people are going to do with themselves if they're not working outages

16:23 and getting called in the middle of the night on call anymore, Ben.

16:28 What are we talking about here?

16:29 So if somebody wants to learn more about JVDs, I know I have a link we can put in the show

16:34 notes.

16:35 I mean, is this like an ask your SE thing?

16:38 Do you just go to our...

16:39 to our documentation site and start reading?

16:41 What do we tell customers who are interested?

16:44 So really it's what they're most comfortable with.

16:47 So from a perspective of where to find it, on the Juniper website, we have an area called

16:54 the Data Center Design Center.

16:57 And within there, we have JVDs that are listed.

17:01 So as we publish new ones or what we have out, those will be covered.

17:06 We have roughly what we consider the four core

17:09 JVDs, which are three stage fabric, a five stage fabric, an IP fabric, and a collapsed

17:15 fabric.

17:16 And then everything else that would attach to a data center is considered an extension.

17:20 So again, third party vendor, VMware storage, even some subsets of how do you connect a

17:28 firewall properly to the data center to get the best performance out of it.

17:33 Those pieces are covered within those JVD extensions.

17:36 So they just attach.

17:37 to any one of the four core.

17:39 So they're portable across.

17:42 And for the most part, your configurations will be exactly the same, depending on which

17:47 one you're going into, but they will closely align to each other.

17:53 What we didn't cover like is like, what is a JVD made of?

17:57 So what we do from a perspective, like sometimes our customers don't know where to start.

18:05 And if you don't know where to begin, you just kind of fall back on the things you know.

18:12 So what I traditionally knew was a three tier architecture and a data center.

18:17 So I had a core, I had an aggregation, and I had an access layer.

18:20 So that's kind of where I want to stay.

18:23 The problem is that the world's moved on.

18:25 We've all moved to basically modern fabrics at this point.

18:30 And

18:32 if you don't have the information, you don't know where to begin, it can it can be very

18:36 complex.

18:37 It can you know be a little overwhelming.

18:39 So what a JVD provides is a great place to start from.

18:44 Now what we put in the document of a Juniper validated design is kind of our prescriptive

18:53 what we see for the most part everywhere.

18:56 Now what we also do is we replace

18:59 certain platforms and certain roles.

19:00 So we change up border leafs and leaves and spines to achieve certain performance goals

19:07 and feature capability that's typically required within the data center based on customer need.

19:12 So it is a little bit flexible from that aspect, but for the most part, what we're doing is

19:18 we're giving you where to start from, and then how do you achieve a fully functional,

19:26 well-tested, well-designed

19:29 well-documented network.

19:31 And what's kind of neat is we pull in other components that are part of our portfolio.

19:36 So things like management, that's a key piece of our solution.

19:42 And the main reason why is because it's basically self-documenting.

19:46 So it keeps track of what's changing inside of the network.

19:50 If you need a network diagram, if you need to know where something's at, it's already

19:53 built into the solution and makes it a lot easier for our customers to adopt these models.

19:58 And then also troubleshoot or even operate from, from day one to day 100.

20:04 That hits home for me.

20:05 I came up with core, distribution, access and the data centers I managed were, were

20:10 built that way as well.

20:12 And then we went through a merger, two companies merged and the company we merged with, you

20:16 know, they were, they were ahead technologically, you know, and they had, you know, a clos architecture

20:21 and like, what is this and what's going on and what are these configs and what the hell

20:26 is EVPN VXLN?

20:27 So

20:28 I can really appreciate what you're saying that, yeah, if you come from, you know, the

20:32 legacy for lack of a better term design that we were all told was the way to go forever,

20:35 right?

20:36 And now, you know, that was based on North, you know, North South traffic being 80% and

20:39 it's flipped and now it's East West, you know, all that technical stuff, but there are very

20:43 valid, you know, useful reasons to, to go with the three stage, five stage, you know,

20:48 clos architectures and I wouldn't know where to start, so I can really appreciate Juniper

20:52 validated design giving me like, Hey, okay.

20:55 Okay, Mr. Dinosaur Andy, here's what you're used to.

20:58 But here's where the technology, here's where it's headed, here's where you should be and

21:02 here's how you can do it.

21:04 Is there anything else we should touch on before we wrap it up?

21:07 I'm pretty excited about this.

21:08 I really appreciate all the work Juniper's done to, I keep going back to boring operations.

21:14 If you follow this, your network's just going to run.

21:16 It's going to be reliable.

21:17 You're going to have a good experience.

21:19 It's all been tested, right?

21:20 Did we miss anything?

21:23 No.

21:24 You hit it home.

21:27 What we're really going for is customer experience.

21:30 We actually consider ourselves in the solutions team customer one.

21:34 So we're the first customer, we go through the same exact processes of setting up a data

21:39 center as our customers do.

21:41 We go through the exact same processes of attaching these third party products to our

21:46 fabrics and then ensuring that everything functions properly.

21:50 So.

21:51 We get to find stuff before it actually leaves the factory.

21:55 We get to address it before it gets to the customer.

21:57 And ultimately what we're looking to do is take the guesswork out of how to build a network,

22:04 how the network should operate.

22:06 And then not only from an operational standpoint of I got it in and working from the deployment,

22:13 but how do I operate it at day 100, day 200.

22:17 I like the customer one concept.

22:19 Your team goes through all that pain.

22:21 so that our customers don't have to.

22:24 Ben, thanks so much.

22:25 This has been very informative for me.

22:28 I'm really excited for what the Juniper Validated Designs can do for our customers.

22:31 Thanks so much for joining us on the Juniper Validated Design podcast, and we'll catch

22:35 you next time.

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