Juniper expects to see three types of applications developed by third parties to run on its router operating system now that it has opened access to its code for this purpose.
Paul Gainham, Juniper's director of product marketing for the service provider space in EMEA, said the first of these is "where a carrier needs a service element to help their go-to-market, such as legacy migration, for instance". This will be something that the carrier is not productising, but rather developing for its own internal use.
"Then there will be an app that the carrier wants to develop itself to form the basis of a service, and lastly there is the app that a third-party ISV wants to develop and sell into carriers, with a business model that may not even involve Juniper," said Gainham.
Examples of the third type are the first two partners to have joined the program Juniper has announced for JunOS: Avaya and Aricent, both of which are ISVs. In the case of Avaya, which only sells directly into the enterprise market, Gainham said it will want to develop apps for managed services.
"Avaya already integrates with our J-Series CPE kit," he said, "so now it has more opportunities where an app needs to go into the routing table to check on reachability, for things like location and identity information, which is a control plane function."
However, he said that because Juniper is also opening up access to the forwarding plane within the OS, "there is also the scope to develop things like SLA monitoring, checking on jitter and packet loss".
Gainham said the additional functionality whose development this program is enabling will be delivered as a software module integrated into the code base of JunOS, whereas Cisco typically offers apps on its boxes as new hardware, a card carrying additional ASICs.
"The most these apps may require is some additional memory," he said.
Juniper considers the opening up of JunOS to be quite a radical step, in that no router has done this before. It will be interesting to see whether market leader Cisco, behind whom Juniper is a significant second, pooh-poohs the initiative or responds in kind, though that seems unlikely. Cisco keeps a pretty tight rein on its IOS operating system.
The initiative is targeted primarily at the service provider market where Juniper is strongest, though of course, since the OS is the same across its entire portfolio (unlike Cisco), there may be functionality going onto the J-Series CPE boxes. Still, Juniper has yet to show its hand in terms of what its strategy is for increasing its share of the enterprise market, an announcement scheduled for the end of January.