Juniper sees major new channel opportunities in extension of their SD-WAN solution

Juniper has announced a new SaaS based offering, and management enhancements to simplify network management and allow the SD-WAN to manage WAN and LAN policies.

Juniper Networks has announced both a new cloud delivered SaaS version of their SD-WAN solution, along with an expanded capability to use the SD-WAN to manage WAN and LAN policies. It’s a significant expansion of their software-defined strategy, which they are emphasizing opens up major new opportunities for channel partners.

“We announced our software-defined strategy in February 2018 with our Contrail brand,” said James Kelly, lead cloud and SDN architect at Juniper Networks. “That strategy emphasizes engineering simplicity, and we made a change in our corporate philosophy to add that focus, which involves digital operations and fewer siloes.” Part of this change also involved transition of Contrail’s management from a house-managed open source project, OpenContrail, to the Linux Foundation. That was competed on April 2, and OpenContrail has been rebranded as Tungsten Fabric.

Kelly termed this new announcement to be an important enhancement to Juniper’s software-defined strategy. Contrail SD-WAN is being extended from an on-prem to an as-a-service offering, which furthers simplicity by taking away the complexity of software operations in software-defined networking from the customer.

“This is an important incremental benefit,” he said. “Many enterprises don’t have the wherewithal to run the management plane and its controller on-premises, so we are now offering it as a service. This also fits with our theme of simplicity as a SaaS solution. Service providers love this form factor.”

In addition to the new delivery option for Contrail Service Orchestration, Juniper is also expanding functionality beyond SD-WAN to allow the central management of WAN and LAN policies through the controller.

James Kelly, lead cloud and SDN architect, Juniper Networks

“Part two of this news is rethinking the way SD-WAN looks and feels in the market,” Kelly said. “It’s not just about WAN connectivity. If your branch consists of a WAN edge, SD-WAN only breaks off a small piece of the problems. So what this does is expand to cover all wireless, with LAN switching and wireless access points.” Connecting Juniper’s EX Series Ethernet switches to a single or dual WAN gateway of NFX or SRX Series devices lets customers centrally automate the WAN and LAN policy and provisioning.

Part of the new functionality – not all – comes from the integration of Mist Systems’ AI-driven wireless LAN into the new SD-WAN management interface. The acquisition of Mist was announced on March 4, and closed on April 1.

“We were partnered with Mist before we acquired them, which is how we were able to get this integration done so fast,” Kelly indicated. “However, it is just fortuitous timing that we were able to close the acquisition in order to announce this integration with the added LAN functionality at the same time. Mist and the expanded Wi-fi capabilities are an important element of this, but this announcement is certainly more than the integration of Mist.”

The integration of Mist and its AI-driven wireless LAN now lets customers see operational and analytics data about the Wi-Fi alongside WAN, LAN and security.

“The closest thing we have had to this capability before has been our Juniper Sky advanced threat protection feed, a threat analytics service in the Juniper cloud, but that was around network management and not a software-defined network,” Kelly said

In addition, Juniper is also announcing that its SD-WAN now supports more variations of passive redundant hybrid WAN links, internet breakout at the WAN edge CPE or centralized WAN hubs and topologies such as hub and spoke, partial mesh and dynamic full mesh. It has also been tested by third-party EANTC at scales above 10,000 spoke sites

“We aren’t introducing any new hardware here,” Kelly said. “This expands the reach of our software-defined networking by expanding what it can manage.”

For Juniper’s channel, this is a significant extension of what they will be able to offer customers.

“The channel has been very successful in the pivot from enterprise software to enterprise SaaS,” Kelly said. “They will enable them to quickly offer a managed service, which they will also be able to white label. Some have already been running our software on their own private cloud to offer this kind of service. Now they have a Juniper service with full multi-tenant capabilities.”

Pricing for the new service has multiple variations.

“It depends if it is an annual subscription or a multi-year subscription, the type of device that you are orchestrating, and the connectivity speed,” Kelly indicated.

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