One of the things both providers of telecommunications and managed services alike are looking forward to is the ability to expose more networking functionality directly to application developers using APIs. After all, applications that make use of those API are going to consume a lot more networking resources. For that reason, the manufacturers of networking infrastructure are in a race to give providers of IT services access to APIs that are becoming crucial to the delivery of next-generation applications.
With that goal in mind, Juniper Networks this week launched Juniper Extension Toolkit (JET), a set of open APIs through which developers can invoke the Junos software that Juniper uses to manage it routers and switches.
Paul Obsitnik, vice president of service provider marketing for Juniper Networks, explained that the primary JET goal is to make it possible for service providers to enable the delivery of a broad range of applications that will consume much larger amounts of networking bandwidth.
Of course, as that demand escalates, Juniper Networks is betting that service providers will have to upgrade their networks. To address that requirement, Juniper Networks also this week unveiled a new series of line cards for the MX routers that are three times faster than any of its previous offerings. The assumption, said Obsitnik, is that providers of IT services will need significantly faster routers in the years ahead to enable all the applications that will be directly invoking network APIs.
Naturally, the degree to which that scenario will play out across different types of IT services providers will vary. By and large, Juniper Networks expects that most of the consumption of those APIs will be driven by application developers invoking network functions that are provided by a service provider rather than, for example, an internal IT organization, Obsitnik said.
Regardless of how APIs are consumed, developers are likely to increasingly expect the networks their applications run on to be programmable. In fact, the service providers that enable that capability first are going to have a material advantage in terms of the number of applications they can get to run on the infrastructure they manage.
Long story short, the race to attract those developers is already on, which means that many IT services providers that have not yet begun to build out programmable networks may very well soon find themselves out of the running before they even realize the race is on.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.