Juniper is harnessing the cloud to make it easier and less expensive for customers to test its products.

Juniper this week unveiled the Junosphere Lab, a virtual environment for designing, testing and operating Juniper-based networks. Junosphere Lab is cloud-based and designed to allow enterprise and service provider customers to create and run networks on-demand so they can model, test and plan at a scale that's impractical for physical facilities.

Companies can "rent" Junosphere Lab networks for $50 (£30) per day, at an additional cost of $5 per virtual machine with a minimum of 10 VMs, which Juniper says is a dramatically lower cost than operating an on-premise physical lab. With the virtual lab, customers can roll out new services more quickly, improve planning and better prepare for network changes, Juniper says.

Customers can also use Junosphere Labs as a substitute for or a supplement to physical test labs, Juniper says. To do that, Juniper also introduced Junosphere Connector, an optional application that enables users to connect their Junosphere networks to physical networks or lab environments.

Junosphere Labs also includes and interoperates with applications and products from select Juniper partners, such as Cariden Technologies for traffic management and simulation, Mu Dynamics for application modelling, Packet Design for Layer 3 visibility across an IP network, Spirent for testing and validating the performance of virtualised and cloud computing environments and WANDL for network planning, design and optimisation.

Junosphere Lab is available now.