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Juniper Networks has launched a software product that supports all the features of its flagship MX2020 router.

vMX 3D Universal Edge Router is a carrier-grade platform that offers customers a more agile option than the MX hardware (the MX2020 ships in a 45U box), although Juniper admits it is unlikely to reach the same levels of performance.

The company believes vMX can bring cloud-like agility to the network and considerably reduce its cost. At the same time, full compatibility with the existing Juniper tools means organizations can experiment with software-defined networking (SDN) with minimal risk.

Other announcements at Juniper's Network Innovation event in London covered the Contrail Cloud, a software platform for connecting and managing disparate cloud services, new DevOps components for Juniper’s Junos network operating system and Junos Continuity – a simplified framework for hardware upgrades.

Head first
The MX series routers were introduced in 2006 and gained instant popularity among network operators thanks to their large switching and routing capacity. Today, MX hardware powers more than half of the world’s top 100 service providers.

vMX runs Junos and maintains 100 percent operational consistency with MX routers, while being available at a fraction of the cost. It can be deployed on any x86 hardware in minutes, scaled up or down as required and managed through the same tools as Juniper’s  physical routers. This means IT staff can start running SDN without any additional training.