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Juniper Networks Speeds Development and Reduces Power Consumption

Background
Juniper Networks delivers innovative software, silicon and systems that transform the experience and economics of networking. The company serves more than 30,000 customers and partners worldwide, and generated more than $3 billion in revenue over the last year.

For Juniper Networks to be able to develop and support their product portfolio, they must manage extensive testing labs to validate complex configuration environments and to reproduce customer issues. This equipment is expensive, both in capital costs (many engineers share the same equipment for testing) and operating costs (power and cooling).

Providing access to test lab equipment for a worldwide team of engineers requires the flexibility to access and “sign out” systems as needed, regardless of where the equipment is located. The equipment must be configured over the network via serial console and also needs to be remotely power cycled. Juniper Networks has a mechanism by which equipment not being used is turned off until it is needed. This mechanism has proven valuable in working with their local utility to secure rebates that help fund their remote power solution.

To enable this, Juniper Networks selected the Digi Passport® console server with Server Technology and Starline Busway power distribution units (PDUs). The system provides an integrated console management and power management solution that allows Juniper engineers to access, configure, update and reboot equipment from anywhere, regardless of the equipment’s location. By providing a unified method for controlling access to and power cycling of remote equipment, Juniper Networks is able to improve power usage effectiveness (PUE) and reduce building cooling requirements.

The Juniper Lab Environment
Juniper Networks strives to make their labs and testing areas consistent so that an engineer can be moved from one project to another with little infrastructure change. Every test machine can be reached directly through a management Ethernet connection and separately through a dedicated out-of-band serial console, both of which are defined in a single DNS database. Juniper Networks also maps remote power to a menu via the console connection.

Previously, Juniper Networks had used another vendor’s solution for networking the test machines and had experienced a number of issues.

“The problem was that the previous vendor’s solution used code that they licensed from someone else,” said Duffie Cooley, lab manager, Juniper Networks. “This led to the vendor not wanting to support new features. The other issue was that they would not allow their customers to use other vendors’ PDUs. When they did take steps to allow such action, they limited us to a licensing model that did not scale well and that incurred extra costs for each type of device and for the number of seats allowed to access each device.”

After reviewing other solutions, Juniper Networks found the Digi Passport to be the perfect drop-in replacement for their previous solution.

Going Above and Beyond – A Strong Partnership
Some of Juniper Networks devices are capable of taking an L15-30 as a power unit. Providing remote power management for this unit proved difficult. Juniper Networks worked with Universal Electric Power to develop a remote PDU that would mount directly to the Starline Busway. Digi then worked closely with Juniper Networks to enable remote control of the device.

“From design to delivery, it took about three months and no additional cost to accomplish this goal,” Cooley said. “This is a level of support I have not seen from a vendor in far too long. Digi’s support has been excellent.”

Juniper Networks is able to monitor energy use at any point in the system using a combination of the Starline Busway and Server Technology PDUs. All devices are network enabled and support an SNMP model for polling energy use, helping the company determine whether enough power is available in a rack to support new equipment. It is also able to record and report power savings as a result of the new remote power configuration.

“The solution provided by Digi, Server Technology, and Starline has proven incredibly valuable,” concluded Cooley. “We are able to reduce the complexity of the management solution and scale the system to support as many racks or labs as needed. I am constantly impressed by Digi’s engagement in continuing to improve their product. One of the most valuable aspects of this relationship is the open platform. I can work with a new vendor, or bring a new PDU into the system and expect that Digi will be able to manage this device. This means no vendor lock in. I can find the best solution for my problem and expect the vendor I work with to provide a management solution for it.”
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"I am constantly impressed by Digi's engagement in continuing to improve their product."

- Duffie Cooley, Lab Manager, Juniper Networks

Application: Worldwide access for remote test lab equipment

Industry: Information technology

Company: Juniper Networks; www.juniper.net

Challenge:
Juniper Networks needed to provide access to test lab equipment for a worldwide team of engineers.

Solution: The Digi Passport console server allows engineers from Juniper Networks to access, configure, update and reboot equipment from anywhere, regardless of the equipment’s location.

More about the Digi Passport Console Server
The Digi Passport provides secure remote access for computer systems and network equipment. It supports serial console connections, service processor connections to the leading server vendors, as well as SMASH extensions to network-based access protocols. Capable of communicating with virtually any server or device, the Digi Passport is ideal for cross-platform equipment support.

Key Features:
• Network-based graphical access to servers
• 4, 8, 16, 32 or 48 serial ports
• Secure port buffering/logging
• SSH and SSL/TLS ensure secure connections
• Multi-server access via one IP address
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