Tag Archives: Northstar

Junos Telemetry

Hi All

Recently I attended a Juniper workshop in their London office and heard about Junos Telemetry concept which was really a new one for me and I quite liked it.

The basic idea is to replace traditional methods of collecting the data from devices on Management stations which helps Operations teams in more automated solution for managing their vast networks.

Traditional method which I am talking about here is SNMP which works on Pull model where Management station polls the network devices to gather useful information using MIBs and in turn displays the data to Network Admins/Operations Team. This method is being used currently and have succeed a lot. However as Hardware vendors are providing more and more APIs in their products which can be used by users to configure their devices in lots of innovative ways, polling or gather statistics via SNMP is not scalable in those scenario. Also SNMP polls the devices at regular interval which is again an operational challenge as something can happen on device between the intervals which wont be captured.

Junos Telemetry or Telemetry concept in general provides a Push model where we can configure the device to send the real time data based upon any trigger or in general for various parameters. 


  Source: Juniper Networks

In this blog, we are not going to see how its configured in CLI but who knows when I can get hold of appropriate Junos code and have a play on it 🙂 but till then let’s see what are its other features.

Junos Telemetry interface (JIT) as I mentioned above works on Push model where it streams the results to collector or even to Controller like Northstar to drive MPLS LSPs. Format of data what is being sent is either in form of Google Protocol buffer GPB or can be JSON based.

Juniper provides the collector software however there are open source collectors as well called OpenNTI collector which is basically a docker container consisting of 3 open-source components.

Shown below is one of the Visualization chart using Grafana,


From application point of view, i think its one of the application could be to re-route the LSPs or create a LSP from Northstar Controller based upon the bandwidth statistics from interface. Once interface statistics reported to collector exceeds certain threshholds, Application can instruct Northstar controller to create a LSP via other route which can in long term works towards Self Driving Networks.

Other Application could be to provide more user-friendly stats about routers/network device to Operations like Memory, CPU usage in environment where thousands of routes or control packets are going via routers and memory hog can be created because of this.

Junos Telemetry Interface was introduced in Junos OS Release 15.1F3, on MX Series routers with interfaces configured on MPC1 through MPC6E, and on PTX Series routers with interfaces configured on FPC3.

So that’s all for Telemetry. I haven’t added much details on this as this is really a new concept for me and as n when I read more about it or get a chance to do hand-on on it, I will write more. Let me know your views on it and if you have used or planning to use this in your network.





Juniper Northstar — WAN-SDN Controller

Biggest misconception I think currently with SDN is that in order to run SDN we need to have OpenvSwitch equivalent switch supporting Openflow protocol between Controller and Switch. Most software vendors are promoting their software under this category however Hardware vendors who have spent considerable money on building hardware platforms are not just selling switches supporting Openflow. They are using SDN to come up with other applications which are centrally controlling the network and influencing the network from single point but not using Openflow protocol.

Juniper has one of the similar product under WAN–SDN controller category named Northstar. I just happen to assess it recently for my Telco.

Northstar comes in two flavours, Controller and Planner. Controller enables granular visibility and control of IP/MPLS tunnels in large service provider and enterprise networks.

Northstar Planner is more of modelling tool which can help you in understanding the behaviour of new LSP addition, deletion, failure of node/link etc. on your network before you actually provision the network.

The NorthStar Controller relies on PCEP (Path Computation Element Protocol) to deploy a path between the PCC routers. The path setup itself is performed through RSVP-TE signaling, which is enabled in the network and allows labels to be assigned from an ingress router to the egress router. Signaling is triggered by ingress routers in the core of the network. The PCE client runs on the routers by using a version of the Junos that supports PCEP.

The NorthStar Controller provisions PCEP in all PE devices (PCCs) and uses PCEP to retrieve the current status of the existing tunnels (LSPs) that run in the network. By providing a view of the whole network state and bandwidth demand in your network, the NorthStar Controller is able to compute optimal paths and provide the attributes that the PCC uses to signal the LSP.

Example Topology

Northstar Controller Topology

If your network supports Point to Multipoint LSPs, then you need minimum of 15.1F6 version on your ingress PE to view P2MP LSPs on Northstar controller however Egress PE can be on any version. Northstar initiates an iBGP-Link state session between itself and Ingress PE and PCEP attributes are shared over this session.

Home Page:

Northstar Controller_Home Page

With Northstar, we can view all the LSPs in network from the point of view of Ingress PE supporting PCEP and from there on we can initiate an LSP and delegate LSP from PE to Controller to manage it.

Northstar lets you create single LSP, multiple LSPs at once and even diverse LSP by site or link which could be very useful in case of primary backup paths in order to protect against single source of failure.

Diverse LSP Provisioning

Northstar Controller_Provision Diverse LSPs

There are three types of TE LSPs used with PCEP

  • CLI-controlled LSPs—The LSPs that do not have the lsp-external-controller pccd statement configured are called CLI-controlled LSPs. Although these LSPs are under local router control, the PCC updates the connected PCE with information about the CLI-controlled LSPs during the initial LSP synchronization process.
  • PCE-controlled LSPs—The LSPs that have the lsp-external-controller pccd statement configured are called PCE-controlled LSPs or delegated LSPs. The PCC delegates the PCC-initiated LSPs to the main PCE for external path computation.
  • Externally-provisioned LSPs (or PCE-initiated LSPs)—The LSPs that have the lsp-provisioning statement configured are called PCE-initiated LSPs. A PCE-initiated LSP is dynamically created by an external PCE; as a result, there is no LSP configuration present on the PCC.

In its current version, Northstar is really impressive and only thing lacking at the moment in its in-ability to create P2MP LSPs which is must for broadcast applications in NG-MVPN environment and Juniper has plans to include this in their coming releases by end of 2017.

I am sure Service providers will surely think of using Northstar in their IP/MPLS Network where they are using Traffic Engineering LSPs in order to give them more flexibility and control over there traffic bandwidth demands.

Let me know your views on it and would you be interested to deploy this onto your network 🙂


Mohit Mittal