Juniper today released a cloud-delivered version of its SD-WAN service to simplify adoption and operations. It also leverages the recent $405 million acquisition of Mist Systems, which closed last week, to add visibility into both wired and wireless via its Contrail Service Orchestration platform.
Previously, Juniper had two flavors of SD-WAN: one that was based on its underlying SRX platform, which is a secure router that also acts as a next-generation firewall; and one based on NFX as the underlying platform, which works as a universal CPE (uCPE) that can run NFV software, or virtual network functions (NFV) on top. Both flavors run its Junos operating systems to provide routing, switching, and security.
According to Mike Bushong, Juniper’s vice president of enterprise and cloud marketing, the value that its SD-WAN offerings (including this most recent update) bring to the greater market is that they’re integrating its entire enterprise portfolio to help organizations transform and improve their networking.
“SD-WAN is a critical part of the go-forward architecture, but if we’re being honest SD-WAN is really just a part,” said Bushong. Because the WAN is a starting point for this transformation for many enterprises, that’s where Juniper is innovating, he said. “We view the opportunity as not ‘how do we control the WAN,’ it’s can you improve the whole of enterprise networking.”
And Juniper is investing in the enterprise as a whole, he said. “What we’ve done at Juniper is we’re integrating the whole of our enterprise portfolio. We did $1.5 billion in enterprise business last year, that’s like a third of our revenue, so we’ve placed a pretty big bet on enterprise.”
With this newest release, Juniper is continuing to extend management beyond the WAN into the wired network; beyond the branch into the cloud and campus; and beyond the security it offers into cloud-based security services.
One of the main tenants behind why Juniper decided to add a cloud-based SD-WAN as-a-service to its portfolio was to add flexibility and increase its scalability.
It 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.
Juniper’s SD-WAN already solves the hardest problems for large-scale enterprises, said Bushong, but with this update Juniper “wanted to make that consumable by enterprises of all shapes and sizes.”
“The biggest problem we have in our industry is adoption and if we really want to make a difference and make things easier we have to simplify adoption so it doesn’t require quite so much effort to both learn and then ultimately make these things,” he said. “So what we’ve done here is we’ve simplified adoption, we’ve made it as simple as possible.”
Adoption here is the broadest sense of the word and, Bushong says, can include putting operations in the cloud so there’s no installation, or giving different procurement options via its new financing option – Juniper Financial Services – which makes it easier for enterprises to get started.
Juniper claims that it already has the most scalable SD-WAN offering on the market. By moving the service to the cloud, this is another way it’s making it easier to consume by starting small and scaling into a fully-scaled large environment.
As part of the update, Juniper also added more choices for control in managing security. This included adding support for integration with zScaler, as well management of next-gen firewall features of the SRX and NFX devices into the cloud.
It also now enables connections to Juniper’s EX Series Ethernet switches to either a single or dual WAN gateway of either platform (NFX/SRX). This gives customers the ability to centrally automated the WAN and LAN policy and provisioning for secure connectivity.
Integrating Mist Systems
Quickly following its acquisition of Mist Systems, Juniper integrated Mist’s wireless APIs into its SD-WAN. This extends visibility past the WAN gateways and into the access points, which includes both wired and wireless connections.
“What we’re trying to do with the Mist acquisition is that if we can start to bring in some of the elements of artificial intelligence that they’ve built into the wireless side, this gives us a platform to do much more highly automated operations across the whole of the enterprise, not just the wireless or not just the WAN,” Bushong said.
Mist and Juniper were working together as partners prior to the acquisition, but Bushong says this is the next step and the acceleration of its integration.
“In this case we’re integrating with the SD-WAN part so it’s not just campus and switching. Wired and wireless is extending onto the SD-WAN side,” he said. “This will be part of really what will look like a drumbeat over the following months and quarters where we continually bring some of these things closer together to try and deliver really a simpler operational experience across the whole enterprise”