Networking and Communications

Juniper opens SD-WAN service for the cloud

Juniper rolls out its Contrail SD-WAN cloud offering.

Juniper has taken the wraps off a cloud-based SD-WAN service it says will ease the management and bolster the security of wired and wireless-connected branch office networks.

The Contrail SD-WAN cloud offering expands on the company’s existing on-premise (SRX-based) and virtual (NFX-based) SD-WAN offerings to include greater expansion possibilities – up to 10,000 spoke-attached sites and support for more variants of passive redundant hybrid WAN links – and topologies such as hub and spoke, partial, and dynamic full mesh, Juniper stated. 

The service brings with it Juniper’s Contrail Service Orchestration package, which secures, automates, and runs the service life cycle across NFX SeriesNetwork Services Platforms, EX Series Ethernet Switches, SRX Series next-generation firewalls, and MX Series 5G Universal Routing Platforms. Ultimately it lets customers manage and set up SD-WANs all from a single portal.

The package is also a service orchestrator for the vSRX Virtual Firewall and vMX Virtual Router, available in public cloud marketplaces such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, Juniper said. The SD-WAN offering also includes integration with cloud security provider ZScaler.

Contrail Service Orchestration offers organizations visibility across SD-WAN, as well as branch wired and now wireless infrastructure. Monitoring and intelligent analytics offer real-time insight into network operations, allowing administrators to preempt looming threats and degradations, as well as pinpoint issues for faster recovery.

The new service also includes support for Juniper’s recently acquired Mist Systems wireless technology, which lets the service access and manage Mist’s wireless access points, allowing customers to meld wireless and wired networks. 

Juniper recently closed the agreement to buy innovative wireless-gear-maker Mist for $405 million. Mist touts itself as having developed an artificial-intelligence-based wireless platform that makes Wi-Fi more predictable, reliable, and measurable.

With Contrail, administrators can control a growing mix of legacy and modern scale-out architectures while automating their operational workflows using software that provides smarter, easier-to-use automation, orchestration and infrastructure visibility, wrote Juniper CTO Bikash Koleyin a blog about the SD-WAN announcement.

“Management complexity and policy enforcement are traditional network administrator fears, while both data and network security are growing in importance for organizations of all sizes,” Koley stated. “Cloud-delivered SD-WAN removes the complexity of software operations, arguably the most difficult part of Software Defined Networking.”

Analysts said the Juniper announcement could help the company compete in a super-competitive, rapidly evolving SD-WAN world. 

“The announcement is more a ‘me too’ than a particular technological breakthrough,” said Lee Doyle, principal analyst with Doyle Research. “The Mist integration is what’s interesting here, and that could help them, but there are 15 to 20 other vendors that have the same technology, bigger partners, and bigger sales channels than Juniper does.”

Indeed the SD-WAN arena is a crowded one with Cisco, VMware, Silver Peak, Riverbed, Aryaka, Nokia, and Versa among the players.

The cloud-based Contrail SD-WAN offering is available as an annual or multi-year subscription.