Network Operating System Evolution: Juniper Networks JUNOS Software - Architectural Choices at the Forefront of Networking

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This paper picks up the Juniper Networks JUNOS Software to understand the requirements and challenges that come with the design of a carrier-class network Operating System (OS). The paper cites key facets of the JUNOS Software, which is Juniper's network operating system, to illustrate the evolution of OS design. The example is also used to underscore the relationship between functionality and architectural decisions. The paper also tries to understand the challenge that arrives from designing a contemporary network operating system. The paper examines the OS from different angles, discussing flexibility and the ability of an OS to work with different platforms. It also studies nonstop operation and parallelism of operating systems. The paper tries to identify architectural challenges, trade-offs and opportunities along with best practices in building state-of-the-art network operating systems. The paper suggests that these network devices are complex because they comprise silicon as well as software. The paper also says that designing an efficient hardware platform is not enough if one wants to design a product that is efficient and cost effective. The paper suggests that while growth arising from development of faster CPU boards and forwarding planes is visible, the structural changes that happen in software are discreet. The paper studies products that have existed along generations of software releases to figure out how the change of OS has made a difference to the solution.