As a Juniper network engineer you’ll need to be familiar with the different JunOS versions and which versions include specific technologies, bug fixes and platform support. This informative lab will discuss the different JunOS Versions, Features and common release cycle used by Juniper Networks.
ust like every software company, the applications they develop are updated constantly to fix bugs, add new features and additional support for hardware if necessary. Juniper of course is no exception to this model. Juniper on average ships a new major version of the JunOS software to customers 3-4 times a year.
Junos Releases are numbered according to the year.sequence convention. For example in 2012; the first release was 12.1. This year as of 2014 the current release is at 14.2 meaning it is the second minor release of 2014.
Additionally you’ll see a Release version and revision version which are commonly represented by “R2.4”. A release version is considered a minor release whereas the revision is a rebuild. A full example would be 12.1R2.4 which would mean the release is the first major release of 2012. It is the second version of the software with a revision of 4.
Revisions are commonly used for bug fixes and security patches whereas minor releases are used for feature additions, hardware support, etc…
If we were to compare this to Cisco, there is several similarities. For example, 15.1-4(M9) would equate to Major release 15, minor 1. release 4 rebuild M9. Of course Cisco can have some seriously confusing IOS names but they all relatively follow the same convention. Looking at Juniper, the naming convention is relatively simple and easy to understand.
So if you were to stumble across an image named “jinstall-14.2R1.10-domestic” what would this mean to you? Immediately looking at the name of the image we know it was the second major build of 2014 release 1 rebuild 10.
So you’re probably wondering what domestic means as well? This little string of identifiable information is known as the distribution type for the archive. Domestic is related to the cryptographic functions included in the software contained in the archive. Due to strong cryptographic laws in the United States and other countries Juniper Networks are legally restricted from distributing specific types cryptographic software to given countries. Domestic images include strong cryptographic functions which include AES/3DES and other strong cryptography are used in the United States and Canada. There are multiple types of distros all relating to how the image is handled from a distribution perspective when relating to legality of software distribution.
There is also a worldwide distro of the JunOS installer which can legally be exported to all countries.
Another image type you may encounter among your cyber travels is the “X” Build. This build is a long term support build and is typically recommended in environments that require long term support and high availability with minimal feature changes and hardware updates. The goal of this build is stability and support. Am example of this build you may encounter could be 12.1X46-D10.2
So looking at Juniper software from a 5000ft view it is broken down into the following [packagename-Major.minor-STAGE.Release.Build-Distribution.tgz]
There are several STAGE letters that you may encounter as well. R and X are the most common which are GA Releases and eXception releases. eXception releases are releases that solve a specific problem for customers and they’re expected to migrate to a supported release when available. Others stages you may encounter can be A for ALPHA Builds, B for Beta Builds, I which are internal builds and should never be distributed outside of Juniper development.
For each release, Juniper Networks may release a maintenance release or a service release of that specific software train. In which case the maintenance release is used to provide fixes for existing shipped standard releases whereas service releases are commonly released on a case by case basis for specific platforms to address specific issue(s) for VIP customers.
To check out more information about JunOS release dates visit Junos Dates & Milestones
As with every network hardware vendor in the industry, the easiest way to ensure that customers are using the latest hardware/software is to tie them into a hardware/software support cycle. In this case if you have an old J2320 router than the latest software that can be ran on this device is 12.1X46 which is an exception release that has been extended support however no additional software engineering will take place on this release.
The biggest reason why this is done is because having to bundle in support for legacy hardware into new images creates more lines of code which statistically creates more vulnerabilities and bugs in later software releases designed for newer hardware. Also there may be issues of older hardware supporting newer technologies such as specific types of technologies that require the use of ASIC’s that are not present in older hardware.
The best way to determine the latest supported JunOS Software for a given Juniper Networks device is to visit the Juniper downloads page.
Just like every vendor, features on platforms are often times tied to licenses due to the amount of R&D required to develop the technology from a hardware/software perspective. Companies need to re-coup those losses and thus pass that cost along to the customers that need those specific technologies.
First lets take a look at the EX Series Switches. You have the Base license, Enhanced Feature license and Advanced Feature License. If you’ve worked with Cisco switches than these can be comparable to IP Base, LAN Base and IP Services with a few differences. The features that are enabled based on license are also based on platform. Some features are enabled by default on EX3200’s but not EX2200 and require an EFL License.
Due to frequent changes in licensing models we’re not going to try to explain everything for you as by the time you read this information it may be outdated. If you want to learn more about EX Series switching licensing check out Understanding Software Licenses for EX Series Switches
Well the same licensing and feature sets apply to the routers as well. Specific advanced technologies on Juniper Routers must be licensed however most basic routing functions such as NAT, OSPF, Security, etc are included in the base license.
Examples of licensed features on routed platforms include BGP Route reflectors, Dynamic VPN’s, Juniper-Kaspersky Antivirus, Juniper-Sophos Antispam and more.
Due to the magnatude of routing platforms that Juniper networks offers, there are thousands of licensing SKU’s which license you to operate specific technologies. To learn more about these licenses please check out Juniper Networks Software Feature Licenses