Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) and EMC (NYSE:EMC) updated their respective Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Storage (SDS) strategies today. One common thread: OpenStack cloud support. There should be plenty of additional SDN news at this week at the EMC World conference in Las Vegas and at the neighboring Interop show -- where companies such as Citrix, CloudScaling, Mirantis and Red Hat are jumping into the SDN conversation. So is this the week VARs begin to kick the tires on SND solutions for next-generation data centers? Hmmm...

Let's start with the official news.

Juniper launched JunosV Contrail, a family of products that includes the JunosV Contrail Controller. Network World's Jim Duffy suggests the Contrail push is ahead of Juniper's original schedule and closing the delivery gap with Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).

Juniper claims its controller is an open, standards-based approach for SDN. The controller de-couples network management from the underlying networking hardware, helping channel partners and service providers to more rapidly roll out new network services, or to more effectively manage existing services. According to Juniper, the solution virtualizes the network to enable seamless automation and orchestration among private and public cloud environments, the company claims.

Juniper says Citrix, Cloudscaling, Mirantis and Red Hat rank among its key SDN partners. Plus, Juniper vowed to make sure its SDN solutions support both OpenStack and CloudStack -- two emerging but rival open source cloud platforms.

In a prepared statement, Juniper Executive VP Bob Muglia said: "Customers are looking for agility in their networks. With JunosV Contrail, Juniper will deliver a network infrastructure that meets customers' immediate and long term needs. The response from our trial customers has been overwhelmingly positive and from a roadmap perspective, we are delivering on our SDN strategy ahead of schedule. From our systems to a growing portfolio of new SDN software, and a cloud-oriented software licensing model that grows with our customers' needs, Juniper provides a simpler and lower risk option to begin the transition to an SDN future."

Muglia earlier this year attacked rival Cisco Systems, claiming Cisco will have a difficult time with SDN -- a claim Cisco has since refuted.

EMC Announces ViPR

Meanwhile, EMC has unveiled the ViPR Software-Defined Storage Platform. It includes three key components so far, EMC indicated:

  • The EMC ViPR Software-Defined Storage Platform allows partners to manage storage infrastructure (Control Plane) and the data residing within that infrastructure (Data Plane).
  • The EMC ViPR Controller leverages existing storage infrastructures for traditional workloads, but provisions new ViPR Object Data Services (with access via Amazon S3 or HDFS APIs) for next-generation workloads.
  • ViPR Object Data Services integrate with OpenStack via Swift and can be run against enterprise or commodity storage.
  • EMC ViPR integrates tightly with VMware’s Software Defined Data Center through industry standard APIs and interoperates with Microsoft and OpenStack.

Early in the Software-Defined Game

Just about every major networking and storage company has announced a "software-defined" strategy in recent months. 

The market also is croweded with start-up companies such as Big Switch Networks and Nexenta Systems. With a hint of sarcasm, Nexenta issed a "warm welcome" to EMC in the SDN market today. Nexenta claims it already has 5,000 customer deployments on its SDN system, which is based on OpenStorage ZFS technology.